Help Educators Find Missing Links

class2Even really good teachers with well-planned lessons regularly get lost in those lessons, losing their way, as well as the majority of their students on the journey from essential question to end of class. Many times the ideas for how to take those lessons to the next step, engaging more students in that wonderfully planned lesson have never been shared or discussed with the educator in an appropriate way. Furthermore, the discussion or observation follow-up doesn’t happen soon enough.

Just as students need immediate feedback, educators need it, too—while the memory of that observed lesson is vivid. Beyond that, talking about the tools and solutions that could make learning more engaging and interactive for all students needs to be part of that follow-up. Sometimes an observer can’t deliver the missing links an educator needs for that moment of enlightenment—where the educator says, “Yes, that’s what I’ve needed to hear… now I get it, and can’t wait to get back to my class to try it!” Find a way through additional follow-ups. There are no rules preventing more than one teaching meeting with an educator.

It’s not that educators don’t understand. It’s more that they haven’t seen, heard, or been taught what they need to do to make those well-planned lessons great, yet—as well as how to actively engage their entire class, yet. While this revelation can happen in larger professional development opportunities, the power of regularly-scheduled personalized observations can’t be overlooked—if done right. These should be more than a way to a give a final educator evaluation, just for the career folder.

Editor’s Note: This may be a FREE way to help connect the missing teaching links. Sign up to get ClassFlow news and updates at http://www.classflow.com/ and invite your colleagues, administrators, and faculty, too. Follow ClassFlow on Twitter at @ClassFlow. Additional post: ClassFlow Uncomplicates Your Classrroom.

The teaching significance for an evaluating administrator, let’s call them evaluating educators, can make a positive teaching and school-culture difference. That takes quick follow-up, as well as pinpointing the one or two things that make connection sense for an educator with his/her students. You want to send educators back to class and students with a teaching take-away, an eye-opener. The bottom line is that it takes a little time, not much more work—and best of all it does work with the right teaching observer in place.

To work well, an observer needs to be more of a mentor. If an observer/evaluator isn’t a teacher of teachers, someone who is needs to be assigned to educator observations and evaluations. The proof of change will be seen in the eyes of educators who get the missing link connections because of an observation lesson follow-up, as well as what can be seen in their classes because of it. Help educators find the missing links in their already good lessons and teaching, so they can better engage an entire class—more often. Make professional development a teaching experience.

Ken Royal

Ken Royal is an educator with 34 years of classroom/school and instructional technology teaching experience, as well as a blogger on all things education and education technology. Teaching accomplishments include: 4-time district teacher of the year, Connecticut Middle School Teacher of the Year, as well as Bill and Melinda Gates award for Technology School of Excellence. He is an Education storyteller. Follow @KenRoyal on Twitter.
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