Starting this fall, I am participating in a Supervision For Learning cohort through the BCPVPA, my provincial association. We have just started our work and here are some reflections.
The organizational of the professional development ticks all the boxes for what the research says effective pro-d looks like. We are meeting as large group 5 times, spaced throughout the year. Also, we each have a triad that meets weekly for about 45 min to share our learning tasks and reflect / support each other. The program is set up to be imbedded, ongoing learning.
Our first task was about listening. I found it interesting that although I see myself as a good listener, I was never this mindful about it. I focused on my conversations during the few weeks we were working on this skill. I got to describe my learning to my triad, and was able to set listening goals for the next week.
Our next task was about giving effective feedback, asking curious questions, and having learner-focused dialogue after a learning walk. I sat in two classrooms this week and looked for something I could provide feedback on. When giving effective feedback, start with “I noticed that…” Remember, feedback provides a starting-off point for a conversation about learning. Then I tried to form a curious question, starting with “I wonder…” Finally, I moved to the learner-focused dialogue, where I ask a specific question about one student. “What strategies could you use to keep Jimmy engaged in that learning activity?”
This first week was all about practice. I told the teacher I was talking to that I was a learner in this activity. I shared with him that I was not sure how I would do, I asked him to help me by giving me feedback on the questions I asked. We even tried to come up with some better questions together. Though this, we both were thinking about our thinking about the learners in our school (which is awesome.)
Then and interesting thing happened when was when I was reflecting on my own about the conversation. I was able to come up with a more focused learner-focused question. Excitedly, I went back to the teacher to share. He liked my new question, but even better, he said that he had been thinking about my question since we last talked. This meant that because of our conversation, he was reflecting on how he could improve the learning of a specific student in his class.
I look forward to this continued learning and growth. I can already see it benefiting myself, our teachers and our students.