Sunday, March 27, 2016

Good to Great Teaching

Great literacy that works!  I've been reading Good to Great Teaching by Dr. Mary Howard. This book focuses on literacy work that matters and supports increased student achievement. Chapter one delves into the difference between bad work, good work and great work.
I have been guilty of bad work in my teaching career. It’s the stuff we do in our daily teaching lives that eat up a bunch of our time and have little effect on student achievement: worksheets, round-robin reading, irrelevant computer tasks and cut & paste are just a few.
Good work is Good. It is activities, practices and procedures that increase student achievement.  Good Work can lead to Great Work, but can also suck the time and energy we need for Great Work.
Great Work takes learning to its highest levels. It requires teachers to use research and translate it into best practices for students. Examples of Good and Great Work are: literacy rich environment, independent reading, guided reading, shared reading and read aloud. Many of these Good and Great Work examples can be found in my school. We've provided PD training on shared and guided reading and we've discussed ways we can get more read alouds into our daily schedule. I am confident we are doing Good Work.       
Moving Good Work to Great Work is a bit more challenging and requires deep knowledge of research and the ability to reflect on one's own teaching practice. Great Work is about how teachers make intentional choices to improve their practice. Great Work is teachers working towards making every minute count. Teachers ensuring that every student’s highest potential is met every day. Great Work is about teachers consistently engaging students in meaningful literacy every day.
Do I do Great Work? I certainly try to make every moment count. I constantly reflect, but may not move my reflection to higher levels of teaching. I try to help students meet their highest potential, but know that I falter some days. The study guides suggests recording an instructional sequence and then analyze the lesson for signs of bad work, good work and great work. I’ll keep you posted.