Please read this great article and associated paper from The Quaglia Institute for School Voice and Aspirations (QISVA) that focuses on Voice and Aspirations for our students. It introduces the 8 Conditions that make a difference and help educators ensure that the work they are already doing fosters an environment characterized by positive relationships, engaged learning, and a sense of purpose. Those eight conditions are organized into 3 guiding principles, Self Worth, Engagement and Purpose that should be lived out in the classrooms and schools. It’s a very neat and effective way of ensuring that our focus is not only on academia and helps to nurture the whole student environment. In an era of educational policy that changes almost daily, schools must be grounded in a set of principles that are solidly based on research and that provide a practical, common sense approach to professional growth and learning. As they state: “When students and teachers have high aspirations, they have the ability to dream and set goals for the future while being inspired in the present to reach those dreams. Whether the goal is to learn trigonometry or a trade, get good grades or go to college, develop a new curriculum, expand one’s pedagogical repertoire, or achieve an outstanding evaluation, students and teachers want to be successful. Too often, however, students and teachers do not reach their goals and potential because the conditions that inspire and support them are not in place”.
(This post is by Megan Brazil, Elementary School Principal, United Nations International School, Hanoi. The post was first published online in 2016.) In a ‘silo schools’ approach, teachers have generally been left to work independently on collecting, understanding and using their own classroom data to make decisions about instruction, planning and assessment. Many schools have not yet made the successful transition from individual to collaborative: to enable teams of teachers to collectively analyze learning data in order to improve learning outcomes for all students. What we know to be true in many schools is that teachers still spend a disproportionate amount of time planning instruction, but don’t place the same emphasis or effort on finding out if the instruction really worked. Perhaps then, less importance has been placed on finding time for teams of teachers, coaches and administrators to take a look at the ‘back end’ — the learning that has taken place as a result of the planni