There is a great deal of power in your hands. Educators have the ability to shape the direction of our students lives (not too shabby). However, what qualities make an effective teacher? The “Power of Teaching” is a behavior pathway analysis created by Dr. Joseph Wise and David Sundstrom. The program hopes to lead educators in becoming more aware of their teaching style, behaviors in the classroom and there impact or effectiveness with students.
At first this program seemed, to me, to be another fad approach to conducting staff evaluations, but upon a more creative twist I found it to be a great tool for coaching effective teaching strategies. Here is a great way to understand it. We all feel that we are effective in the classroom, I mean as you all know I was an AMAZING teacher! :) But sometimes we miss an ineffective thing we do that could be detrimental to a lesson or might not harm anyone but could be improved upon. Imagine you videoed a lesson you taught and had to watch it back and observe yourself (I can hear your stomach dropping. After all we are perfectionist and are own worst critics!) When we look back on ourselves and step away from what we are doing, behaviors that we would never pay attention to become more obvious. For example, how someone might pace back and forth when they lecture, or constantly move their hands while they talk (Guilty!), or as I mentioned in a faculty meeting, only give general praise like “Great Job!” instead of a specific message to a student for what they have done a great job doing.
The confusing part about observing someone or yourself is to know what your looking for. The “Power of Teaching” provides a tool designed after a meta-analysis of over 600 national educational studies based on teaching styles. This instrument outlines what would be considered effective or ineffective techniques for specific categories of behaviors. When used correctly it can gather information about things you do during a lesson and the frequency at which you do them. You can then make an assessment of which of these behaviors you would like to target based on the level of impact on you and students. If you didn't do anything with it at all its at minimum great information to have! You received a copy of this form during one of faculty meetings. I have also attached it here.
Since it might be easy to blow off certain ineffective things we do when watching our own lesson, I found the best use of the form is to have the feedback of a peer without any administrative involvement. We not only learn from the feedback, but also learn from watching other professionals.
How comfortable would you be observing a colleague or being observed yourself? I would love to hear your thoughts.