Rethinking Teaching and Learning

Presenters: Linda Darling-Hammond, Learning Policy Institute; Donna Johnson, Delaware State Board of Education

Session takes a deep dive into a rethinking of teaching and learning with leading researcher; covering recent research on professional learning and a systems approach to retooling curriculum and instruction. "Only well-prepared, culturally skilled, committed techers can ensure that all students graduate ready for college and careers".

Darling-Hammond is live-streaming with us online.

D-H: What kind of learning are we talking about?
Demand for skills is changing.
Top skills for Fortune 500 companies in 1970 were Reading, Writing, and Arithmetic; today, they are teamwork, problem-solving, communication skills.
Knowledge is expanding and exponentially.
Working with technology that hasn't been invented yet.
Need to transfer knowledge to new problems.

Teaching for learning ability, the abilities to:
  • Transfer and apply knowledge
  • Analyze, evaluate, weigh, and balance
  • Communicate and collaborate
  • Take initiative
  • Find and use resources
  • Plan and implement
  • Learn to learn
Includes social emotional learning:
  • Know and manage self and emotions, including stress
  • Have empathy and interpersonal skills
  • Engage in positive relationships
  • Collaborate well
  • Make good decisions
  • Behave ethically and responsibly
  • Have a growth mindset
  • Be resourceful, perservering, and resilient
Teaching SEL skills has been found to foster personal, social, and academic success and reduce opportunity gaps

Teaching these skills -- to what end? 
  • Resolving conflict
  • Sustaining the earth
  • Sustaining people
    • Employment
    • Food and shelter
    • Clean water
  • Nurturing peaceful collaboration
  • Developing new products, solutions, strategies for living and learning
And Authentic Learning:
  • Problem-based and Project-based learning
  • Performance assessment
  • Rubrics  for self-, peer-, and teacher-evaluation
  • A pedagogy of revision and mastery
How well are we teaching higher order skills refers to trends on PISA 2000-2012. (Answer: not very well)

What kinds of schools can create these abilities?
  • Schools designed for effective caring
  • Small Learning Communities
  • Looping
  • Long-term Relationships
  • Advisory systems
  • Close parental contact
Some states and many nations are transforming assessments. High achievers use:
  • Open-ended essays and problems to be solved and explained
  • Performance tasks that require students to design and conduct investigations, collect data analyze and present findings in writing, orally, and with technology
Effective teachers:
  • Engage students in active learnning
  • Build on children's experiences and prior knowledge
  • Create intellectually ambitious tasks that apply knowledge to real world problems
  • Develop and effectively manage a culturally responsive, collaborative classroom in which all students have membership
  • Use a variety of teaching strategies
  • Assess learning to adapt teaching to student needs
  • Create effective scaffolds for language and content learning
  • Provide clear standards strong models, constant feedback, and opportunities for revising work
  • Reinforce students' competence and confidence
Recommends book: A Pedagogy of Confidence (on amazon and short video clip HERE) by Yvette Jackson:
  • Focus on strengths
  • Teach cognitive strategies
  • Build confidence and motivation
  • Build educator capacity
Topic moves into teachers and professional collaboration and learning:
  • Shared planning time
  • Teaching reams
  • Regular professional development
  • Inquiry about student learning
  • Problem solving around students
  • Leadership focused on instruction
There are schools where this is happening.
However, United States teachers spend the most time on instruction and the least amount of time on planning than other leading nations.
Curriculum and teaching access matters for learning: Holding SES constant, students of color and white students who have equally well-qualified teachers and comparable curriculum, perform comparably in reading and mathematics.
Teacher shortages: demand for teachers is high and increasing, but the supply is rapidly decreasing.
  • Are methodologically rigorus
  • Demonstrate positive link between teacher PD and student outcomes
  • Identified common features
Policy implications:
  • Adopt standards for PD
  • Redesign schedules to support collaboration
  • Conduct assessments of teachers' needs
  • Develop expert teachers as mentors and coaches
Today, the kind of education we need, must be available for all; quoting John Dewey: What the best and wisest parent wants for his or her child, that must the community want for all of its children. Any other goal is narrow and unlovely. Acted upon, it destroys our democracy.

Johnson: In Delaware -- with thanks to NASBE -- the systems grants looking at a Standards-Based System; comprehensive approach; how one initiative complements another. Areas of focus on efforts to rethink teaching and learning: 
  • Educator preparation
  • Professional learning
  • Roles for educators
  • Standards and assessment
State Boards utilize:
  • Power of Policy
  • Power of the Question
  • Power to Convene
That's a wrap