Looking at Student Work
Looking at Student Work


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Terms Common to Student Work Protocols

Adaptive Practice
Teachers know their students - their learning styles, their current level of knowledge and skills - and adjust their teaching practice accordingly, without lowering their standards.

Classroom Culture
Classroom culture is the bedrock upon which all teaching and learning rests. It includes the norms established by the teacher (or teacher and students collaboratively, or by default by the students if the teacher fails to actively do the work) for classroom interactions, for expectations of engagement and work output, for use of time, and for specific responsibilities of teacher and students. The culture includes the assumptions (stated or implicit) about the nature of teaching and learning.

Teachers share responsibility among themselves for improved practice and for improved student achievement. They demonstrate this by developing together shared student goals, standards for students and themselves, and classroom culture expectations. They also demonstrate this by providing mutual feedback (in the manner of critical friends) on each others' teaching practice and the nature of the work of each others' students.

Critical Friends
Teachers whose relationship is such that they can sit down with either's work (lesson plans, classroom observation notes) on the table between them and talk about the work - its strengths, weaknesses, what can be improved, suggestions for how that might be done. This discussion of the work is clearly separated from the "me" of both. The atmosphere is one of mutual trust, freedom from fear.

Press for Achievement
Evidence of a press for achievement includes the following: a teacher's high expectations for learning are explicitly stated, a lesson's stated goals are nontrivial, teacher questioning elicits higher order thinking, coherence exists among the components of a lesson, the classroom culture supports (rather than hinders) learning.

Reflective Practice
Teachers are able to talk about what they do and why they do it. The "why" is something more than feeling, opinion, preference, it's based on evidence, research, theory, and the teachers can talk about where the "why" came from (something they read, learned at a conference/workshop, heard from another teacher, learned during their training, learned in the CFG...). Reflection is ongoing, not a one-time revelation that "sets" a teacher's pedagogy for life.

School Culture
School culture includes the organization, structure, and practices deliberately carried out to create a school climate. It also includes the norms established by the principal (or principal and teachers collaboratively) for professional interactions, for expectations for student learning (standards, stated or implicit).

Student Engagement
Student engagement has two dimensions, one in the context of the classroom and any given lesson, and a second in terms of a student's individual personal commitment to his/her own learning. Engagement in the classroom is manifested by student(s) attending to the task at hand during the lesson. Individual engagement is manifested by students asking (more than routine) questions during the lesson, by their doing individual project work or homework more than perfunctorally.

Student Work
Student work is one or more of these three components (in any combination): artifacts (writing or tangible products of projects), classroom behavior, performances, records of classroom behavior or performances.

Whole School Change
Whole school change can occur when a critical mass of personnel in the school are engaged in reflective practice intended to improve teacher practice and student learning. The school community is engaged in modifying the organization, structure, and culture of the school in order to support these improvements.