Saturday, March 15, 2008

ASCD preconference session - well worth the time

Robert Marzano’s What Works in Schools-Translating Research into Action is a publication many education leaders and staff development individuals are familiar with as an excellent resource. Tim Westerberg facilitated an engaging two day preconference session at ASCD entitled Leadership for What Works in Schools: Translating Research into Action. Westerberg combined research done by Marzano, Michael Fullan, Rick and Becky DuFour, Richard Elmore and many others. Over the course of two days participants from Australia, Canada, Iceland, South Africa and locations throughout the US developed a working knowledge of parts of five of the eleven factors Marzano identifies in What Works in Schools-Translating Research into Action.
A guaranteed and viable curriculum deserves the attention of educators if students are to be successful. I was struck by the staggering number of standards and benchmarks teachers are to get through in a limited amount of time. Given so many standards, teachers can’t possibly give justice to all of them. Participants offered insightful dialogue as to what can be done about it and where we go from here.
Another interesting discussion focused on Instructional Strategies and how imperative it is for students to know the direction and outcome of the intended learning. As important as it is for students to know where they are going is for students to know where they have been. “The most powerful single innovation that enhances achievement is feedback. The simplest prescription for improving education must be ‘dollops’ of feedback.” John Hattie.
A topic that I am challenged by that was addressed in this preconference session is grading. Westerberg had one slide that simply said, “Grading at most schools in this country (which he changed to world) is a mess and is unfair to kids.” I had not given the topic too much thought prior to this session, but am inspired to delve into the subject in more detail.
I could go on and on as I found the information relevant and timely. If you have had Marzano’s book on your shelf since shortly after buying it and reading it, I would suggest giving it another look. If you don’t have it on your shelf, go out and buy it.

No comments: