By Maria Akinyele
Greetings to you this holiday season. As we experience the holidays and expect the new year, we often find ourselves in a reflective space. Reflection is a hallmark of continuous growth as a human being, educator, and/or leader. As the year closes, we invite you to reflect on your instructional priorities through the lens of knowing and valuing students (Component 1b of the updated Framework for Teaching). We believe creating continuous opportunities to know and value all students is the essential component on our journey to instructional excellence. Knowing and valuing students is not something you accomplish or only do at the beginning of the year; it is an ongoing pursuit.
Throughout the year, we know you may be inundated with different instructional priorities that, at times, seem to compete with each other. However, here at the DG, we posit that knowing and valuing students puts you and your school communities on a clear path to actualize any educational priority set by your district, principal or even yourself. Maybe this year your school’s priority is to differentiate lessons or provide standards-based writing instruction for all students. Considering each Element of Success of Component 1b will help you reach your instructional goals. For example, Understanding Students’ Knowledge and Skills, might lead you to ask: Can we, as a school community, truly differentiate or provide standards-based writing instruction well without understanding students’ current knowledge and skills? What more do we need to know and how can we do a better job of honoring the knowledge and skills students possess?
Whatever your educational priority may be, knowing and valuing students will help you reach your goals. To help you reach your instructional priorities, we offer this simple reflective process that you can engage in individually or collectively as a school community: Download this worksheet and use it in your next professional learning, planning, or reflection session.
Feel free to download and share this reflective resource with your colleagues. We’d love to hear what new insights you gain from this process – tag us on Twitter (@danielson_group) or LinkedIn (@The Danielson Group) and use #Knowing&ValuingStudents.
We are grateful for all you do to know and value your students. May you also feel known and valued this holiday season.