A blog series: Part 7 of 7
Standard 7: Professional Growth
In the last six OCM-RC Blogs I have looked at the connections with NYS Teaching Standards with the Responsive Classroom® approach and practices. In this seventh and final blog on this topic I will focus those same connections with Responsive Classroom and NYS Teaching Standard 7: Professional Growth.
The NYS Teaching Standard 7 has four elements, the first 7.1 states that a teacher should reflect on their practice to improve instructional effectiveness and guide professional growth. In the newly revised Responsive Classroom Course, teachers are given The Responsive Classroom Assessment book so that they can reflect on the application of the learning they received during this course. The assessment tool can provide teachers and administrators with the kind of feedback and support that is frequently missing in schools today. The assessment tool can help Responsive Classroom trained teachers to reflect, think deeply, and continue growing in their implementation of the practices. There is also another assessment book specially designed for administrators so that they can assist and support their teachers who have been trained in the Responsive Classroom. The assessment tool is designed to guide and direct instructional leadership toward professional growth.
Standard Element 7.2 states that teachers set goals for ongoing professional development to improve teacher competencies. We know that adults learn best, just like children do, when they are engaged in a natural learning cycle that includes goal-setting, exploration, and reflection. The aforementioned assessment tool helps launch teachers into this cycle. Teachers begin by generating a learning goal that specifies the aspect(s) of the Responsive Classroom practice(s) on which they want to work and focus their growth. They then begin the exploration phase by using the assessment tool to evaluate and reflect on their current state of their Responsive Classroom implementation in their classroom. They reflect on their results to inform specific areas to improve. At this point they begin the learning cycle again. The design is to assist teacher on continual growth long after the initial training in the Responsive Classroom.
Schools are also encouraged to take the Responsive Classroom practices school-wide. When a majority of the classroom and special area teachers are trained, Responsive Classroom TEAMS are encouraged. The Responsive Classroom Teams are trained to help move a school toward continual growth in their application of the approach. The teams use the natural learning cycle to reflect and goal set for school-wide implementation. The teams evaluate all the share-holders of the school and design professional development around the area(s) that are deemed areas for growth. This on-going reflection and goal setting not only by the individual teachers but also by the RC Team assists the whole culture of a school toward professional growth.
Standard Element 7.3 states that teachers need to communicate and collaborate with students, colleagues, other professionals and the community to improve practice. As mentioned in previous blogs relating to NYS Standards and Responsive Classroom practices, there is research that shows that Responsive Classroom teachers collaborate more with colleagues and communicate effectively with parents. The Northeast Foundation for Children, developers of the Responsive Classroom have written a book to assist trained teachers to communicate effectively with families and other share-holders. Parents & Teachers Working Together gives teachers effective tools to communicate and collaborate with the world beyond the four walls of the classroom. This book offers multiple tools to communicate the beliefs, goals, expectations, and practices of the Responsive Classroom.
The final element of NYS Teaching Standard 7.4 says that teachers remain current in their knowledge of content and pedagogy by utilizing professional resources. The Northeast Foundation has always believed and has been committed to teachers who have been trained in the Responsive Classroom. They have over 90,000 teachers across the country that receives their free newsletters that are received 3 times a year. This newsletter is meant to assist with ongoing professional growth in the Responsive Classroom. Every teacher trained in the Responsive Classroom is automatically added to the mailing list. The belief? Responsive Classroom learning does not stop at the end of the training….it’s ongoing. This “ongoing” commitment toward growth goes beyond the newsletter. The NEFC continue to write books to help assist teachers in their voyage of growth in the Responsive Classroom. These books are being produced and/or revised to meet the needs of 21st Century learning and teaching. Teachers can pursue further resources for growth from the NEFC Facebook page, Twitter, Youtube channel, Pintrest and blogs. OCM BOCES as a licensed agency also provides blogs, Enews and Facebook groups for their trained teachers. Many resources can further assist teachers as they continually grow in their Responsive Classroom implementation.
During this series of 7 blogs linking the NYS Teaching Standards and the Responsive Classroom practices we have discovered that the New York State Teaching Standards are the “WHAT” we need to be doing in our classrooms and schools and Responsive Classroom is the “HOW” you can do that to meet the social-emotional and academic needs of every child, every day.
Certified Responsive Classroom® trainer through the Northeast Foundation for Children, developers of theResponsive Classroom Staff Development Specialist – OCM BOCES – Syracuse, NY
(OCM BOCES is a licensed agency for Responsive Classroom training by the Northeast Foundation for Children, developers of theResponsive Classroom) PShaw@ocmboces.org