Action Overview: Select Practices

Action: Select instructional practices.

This resource is designed to help teams select effective instructional practices to implement. It is a culmination of the work done throughout this strategy; to complete this action, the leadership team must first complete Actions 1-4 in this component. This action is focused on analyzing data regarding instruction practices, creating shared focus for instruction, and finally selecting the instructional practices that will be collectively implemented.

Why is it important to establish a shared focus for instruction?

A shared focus for instruction and learning is essentially a vision for instruction. It should align with the standards-based education system core beliefs and values of the organization.

A shared focus can help:

· guide decisions about instruction and curriculum that lead to improvements in student learning
· build clarity and coherence regarding priorities for an organization, the leadership team’s work, and the work of the school’s staff
· garner buy-in, commitment, and understanding
· move from theory and research to implementation and practice
· assist in communicating rationale to various stakeholders

Why is selecting effective instructional practices to implement important?

Selecting a single effective instructional practice for an organization to implement and support runs counter to the way making decisions about instruction is often approached. Commonly, individual teachers make those decisions. However, when one (or a group) of practices has been selected by an organization to implement and support, it can build the tools and resources needed to support, monitor, and adjust implementation.

Though there are many practices that can have a positive influence on student achievement, those with the greatest effect should be prioritized to maximize impacts for students (Hattie, 2009). Furthermore, teachers benefit from collaborative improvement on agreed upon effective practices (Ball and Forzani, 2011). Educators also benefit when there is a common focus for professional learning so that successes can be shared and challenges in implementation can be collaboratively resolved.

It is critically important that the selection process provides substantial involvement from teachers and includes teacher readiness (Evans, 2014). When teachers are involved throughout the selection process, they can respond to data and form new understandings about instruction and current practices, building buy-in and energy for professional learning.

Suggested Activities:

The Portal provides a 3-part activity to help educator teams collectively select effective instructional practices for implementation.

References

Ball, D. & Forzani, F. (2011). Building a Common Core for Learning to Teach and Connecting Professional Learning to Practice. American Educator, v35 n2, p17-21, 38-39.

Evans, C. (2014.) Change is What it Means.

Hattie, J. (2009). Visible learning : a synthesis of over 800 meta-analyses relating to achievement. New York: Routledge.

Montgomery, K., Darling-Hammond, L., & Campbell, C. (2011). Developing common instructional practice across a portfolio of schools: The evolution of school reform in Milwaukee. Stanford, CA: Stanford University, Stanford Center for Opportunity Policy in Education.

Stronge, J., Richard, H., & Catano, N. (2008). Instructional leadership: Supporting best practice. In Qualities of Effective Principals. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.