As noted in another blog, trusted school leaders ensure that the pursuit of Authentic Literacy and student learning is supported by meaningful and immediate Feedback for Learning. In this way, they demonstrate competency and build trust. Also, school leaders increase their level of trust when they ensure the following four key characteristics mark the full breadth of the curricular program:
- Simplicity – The entire curriculum is broken down into simple, doable parts. As educators, we tend to complicate the simple, and complexity competes with the second key characteristic.
- Clarity – Clear expectations for both students and teachers are essential. Learning standards are not just in a lesson plan or a curriculum map. Expected daily learning outcomes, and their assessments, are visible to students during every class. Teachers provide examples of mastery-level student work.
- Priority – In other words, the curricular program is not a supplement or an after-thought to the school’s functioning. If the teachers are the heart of the school, then the curriculum is the mind. Time, personnel, and resources invested in the curriculum’s quality and consistency is a driving concern of the school at all times.
- Activity – “One of the most important insights from our research is that knowledge that is implemented is much more likely to be acquired from learning by doing than from learning by reading, listening, or even thinking” (Pfeffer and Sutton). Reading, listening, and thinking must connect directly to writing and speaking, which produces Authentic Literacy.
When the above characteristics are in place, curriculum programs are effective, successful and foster an environment of trust.
©Toby A. Travis, Ed.D. All Rights Reserved
Jeffrey Pfeffer and Robert I. Sutton, The Knowing-Doing Gap: How Smart Companies Turn Knowledge into Action (Boston: Harvard Business School Press, 1999), 198-199.