One of the best parts of being a part of something bigger than myself is the opportunity I get to meet others. That may sound a bit simple-minded, but as often written about, it is easy to get ‘stuck’ inside my own sphere where life can grow to become so complicated.
However, as I work on the work of the first SpEdcampNJ, I have had the opportunity to meet incredible people. Let’s face it, Edcamps are a pretty novel idea in my neck of the woods. As I talk about my work to develop and bring SpEdcampNJ to life, I’ve had conversations with teachers of all experience levels ask me, “Why would you do this?” [For any dog owners/lovers out there, this evokes in me the ’tilted head’ syndrome a dog occasionally does. I’m not sure why dogs do it; I know I always think it’s the cutest thing ever. I also think as we observe a dog doing this, we humanize this action as a statement of confusion. Well, that’s how I feel when anyone asks me why I do all the things I do besides teach…]
During this initial journey, I’ve had a few more run-ins with a word that just seems to be popping up in my life: deliberate. Merriam Webster defines it as:
verb: diˈlibəˌrāt/1. engage in long and careful consideration.
I’ve decided that ‘deliberate’ applies to more situations than I’d ever examined. It’s ‘deliberate’ that I do things that will help others. It’s ‘deliberate’ to be a life long learner. It’s ‘deliberate’ to teach others anything.
Marzano, Danielson and others have broken down the act of teaching into ‘deliberate’ events teachers should use to have successful classroom outcomes. Leaders should, likewise, deliberately identify those elements that should be visible in a classroom. It’s not enough to put a model out there for teachers to follow. It’s not enough to expect teachers to weave these ‘deliberate’ acts into their craft.
Leaders, leaders who want to close achievement gaps of any sort, must deliberately define what these look like and then look for them to be visible in every classroom.
If, for example, vocabulary drives the understanding of the work, then the vocabulary should be visible to the students every moment of everyday and used deliberately during instruction.
If, for example, objectives drives the understanding of the work, then the objectives should be visible to the students every moment of everyday and used deliberately during instruction.
If, for example, formative assessment drives improvement in student outcomes, then formative assessments should be visible to the students every day and used deliberately to alter instruction thereafter.
That word ‘deliberate’ pops up a lot during my thinking…. I guess I just wonder why it doesn’t ‘pop up’ a lot in practice?