Hello everyone and welcome back to our series on creating a vision for meaningful development in your programs. If you are just joining the series I am going to stop you right here and direct you to the very beginning, why do you need one and how to create a purpose that will drive your program. You really want to take a look at both of these posts so you can get the full picture and understanding of the value this process will bring to your programs.
Today we will be unpacking the process on how you can establish the feedback and practice section of your program, the HOW will we do it. There is where you can start to see an impact on the way your program assesses and gives feedback to your students and establishes best practices for all of the teachers who are involved in making the program run smoothly and encourage progress.
How Will We Develop the Tools Needed to be Successful
Believe it or not, but you might already have most of this part completed for your program. It just might need a different lens to look through. This is the section where you will take your purpose, your WHY, and connect it to how the tools will be developed so that students can be successful when they leave your program. We are talking about how your program will be giving feedback that drives learning and building a tool box of professional skills that everyone in your department will have access to.
This part is really important to develop fully and clearly! Not only should it connect to your purpose and values, but it will also be a critical part in creating a culture of consistency and best practice inside your department. If this was a tech company, this would be considered the R&D Department that would drive the creation of new products that you would roll out to your consumers!
What Does 21st Century Learning Look Like?
To start, you need to do some research. You need to clearly identify what 21st Century Learning looks like in your program. Disclaimer: there is A LOT of great research out there from a lot of great minds! You just need to find the right tools that will serve your students the best!
Here is some research that has stuck with me for a while and has proven to be effective and flexible so students can be given the tools to learn and grow in any program.
I first came across this research back in 2015. My wife and I just started our journey as international educators at a school where we had to use the SHAPE Standards from the United States. The SHAPE Standards are VERY thorough and sets a great curricular pathway that would give the students the skills needed to be active for life, but there are over 100 outcomes and it just seemed that it was missing something. How do all of these outcomes create a value for sport and physical activity?
Creating The BIG IDEAS That Drive Your Program.
This is where I came across Dean Dudley’s work behind the Domains of Development in Physical Education. In his research he broke down that learning happens in four different areas but are all interconnected to the holistic development of the child. These four areas are:
- Movement Competencies (Physical Domain of Learning):
- Involves developing proficiency in object control, stability, and locomotor skills to sequence movement in a wide variety of physical activity settings. ABC’S of Athleticism: Agility, Balance, Coordination, Speed
- Critical Understanding (Cognitive Domain of Learning)
- Includes understanding of physical activity contexts, rules, and tactics. This understanding is used to plan for tactical movement and demonstration of critical and creative thinking through movement.
- Motivation and Behavioral Skills (Affective Domain of Learning)
- Includes persistence, initiative and working independently in physical activity settings with a focus on the values, attitudes and behavioral skills to plan for and participate in lifelong physical activity.
- Personal and Social Attributes (Social Domain of Learning)
- Includes safety, cooperation, communication and leadership within physical activity settings with a focus on inclusion of others and respectful participation in physical activity and other contexts.
As soon as I read this, I had a lightbulb moment. “Why can’t we use these domains to guide the development of the tools we need to guide our program?” I just stumbled across the BIG IDEAS that would support the purpose and the value behind our program. They would also be the central ideas that we could use to explain what learning looks like in our program!
The beautiful thing behind these BIG IDEAS is that they were universal! Any teacher anywhere could take these ideas and make them work with their students and community! They are specific enough to drive best practice but general enough that the could apply to any community of learners!
Take Your BIG IDEAS and Make VALUES and ACTIONS
Now that the BIG IDEAS are created, how can we make these a bite size pieces that students and the community can use? For most professionals these BIG IDEAS would challenge a lot of traditional thoughts and would be difficult to understand and support. But if they are broken down into specific values and tasks that could easily be seen, it would change things.
So, what do these BIG IDEAS look like if they were broken into smaller pieces? Easy, they would look like VALUES and ACTIONS.
Taking a look at the image above, you can see what these VALUES and ACTIONS could look like. It wasn’t easy, but this process takes a lot of collaboration and discussion focused on “how can students demonstrate these domains in any lesson?”. In the end and after all the hard work, your department will have the BIG IDEAS, VALUES and ACTIONS you need to connect your curricular outcomes to and create an assessment/pedagogical framework that will guide teaching and learning in your classes.
Connect your BIG IDEAS, VALUES and ACTIONS to your Curriculum
Now comes the fun part! Connecting everything to your curriculum! (Please note, I might have used a slightly sarcastic tone when saying that last line to myself). We are all guided by curriculum and we are usually the only ones who look at it and understand it. It is wishful thinking that our school community knows what our outcomes are or have seen the document that outlines them. It is a big and scary document if you are not passionate or trained in that field. I know that is why I do not look at the Math outcomes!
But what if we took the outcomes, connected them to our new BIG IDEAS, VALUES and ACTIONS and made them a bit more friendly to read and understand? We would have something that would drive student learning and provide valuable feedback to the process because it is connected in a way that is meaningful and driven by our programs purpose! You would have an assessment framework filled with criteria statements that would make everything much more consistent and easy to use for everyone!
Looking at this framework example you can see the BIG IDEAS are in the columns and the corresponding VALUES and ACTIONS and took the curricular outcomes and sorted them into the ones that they had the strongest connection and meaning to. Looks easy right? Well, it was a lot of work (you can find a presentation on how it could be done here and here) but at the end of the day, we now have a framework we can use filled with criteria statements that students could connect to and see how they can move from one level to the next.
This tool will not only outline how learning would look in your program, but it can also help in creating consistency between teachers by using the same language and criteria when creating assessment tools! Nothing supports a program more than consistency and clarity!
Not only could you use this to develop a feedback tool to guide student growth, it can also be applied to guide teachers professional growth by providing specific feedback that relates to our profession. You could use this in a variety of different ways (formal, check-ins, tune ups) but it would help in creating clear expectations for the members of your department and breaks them down so that they are easy to understand and support the individual teacher in their professional growth. If could potentially look something like this…
Call to Action: What are the Next Steps
So, now you have a few new ideas and tools that connect to your programs purpose and outline how learning and development will happen in your program. What is the next step?
If you are thinking of following this process, it will take TIME and EFFORT depending where your department is. If you are a one person team then this is easy, you just have to get yourself behind and through the process. If you are working with a larger team you might want to set aside a larger timeline to develop your BIG IDEAS into VALUES and ACTIONS, connect those to your outcomes and create criteria statements that will drive assessment and feedback processes inside your program. Take all the time you need to create something that will benefit your students and your program down the road!
Until next time, happy teaching and learning!