Increase Student Achievement by Affirming Teachers

[The following is an excerpt from TrustED®: The Bridge to School Improvement]

School leaders gain trust when he or she “recognizes and celebrates accomplishments and acknowledges failures” [Marzano et al.]. They build trust through the daily practice of intentional affirmation.

Maintaining a practice of affirmation does not mean the school leader only celebrates the success of teacher initiatives, student achievement, or parental community projects, but also affirms areas where the school is not succeeding and is transparent about those as well. The intentional practice of affirmation is most critical in the relationship between the school leader and teachers.

“There is widespread agreement now that of all the factors inside the school that affect children’s learning and achievement, the most important is the teacher – not standards, assessments, resources, or even the school’s leadership, but the quality of the teacher” [Hargreaves and Fullan].

Therefore, it is critical for the school leader to ensure that the school has quality, gifted, self-motivated professionals in those teaching positions.

Trusted school leaders elevate student learning and growth through the affirmation of teachers. In other words, trusted instructional supervisors keep a vigilant focus on the continual and constant quality improvement of their teachers’ instructional practices – celebrating successes and acknowledging areas for improvement. This is accomplished, in part, by ensuring there is accountability for classroom performance and teacher effectiveness. That accountability is maintained through transparent classrooms and instructional practices. Trusted leaders, who connect with their staff, are frequently in their teacher’s classrooms. They frequently review and affirm lesson plans, student work, assessments, rubrics, and even the teacher’s gradebook for the primary purpose of celebrating teacher work.

Data as a Source for Affirmation

Often the characteristics equated with making a connection between school leaders and stakeholders are warm and fuzzy emotional attributes. Yet, we know that trusted school leaders are data-driven in their work, being intentional to triangulate the data they use, for example, to evaluate teachers. Thus, trusted leaders diligently… [continue reading]

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