Quick Coaching Cue #12
"Leaders must encourage their organizations to dance to forms of music yet to be heard." -Warren G. Bennis
When we test students, we should be doing so to understand what they're learning so we know what we need to adjust in our teaching. Tests are moments of discovery -- for us and for our students. And in discovery, there is joy and creativity. When tests are introduced with that intention, they help students see what they already know how to do, and what they need to learn how to do. That should be the whole point. Tests should be a jumping point to conversations with students about their work, study habits, areas of understanding, of joy, as well as content that makes no sense to them. About their dreams and what this test has to do with getting there. Then, everything moves forward.
When we approach teaching and learning with that intention, test scores tend to take care of themselves. And most importantly, we create the conditions for students to thrive. To get excited about learning. And that keeps us excited about teaching.
Performance Management Reviews, Individual Development Plans, and other frameworks, have this in common with tests. Or should. The whole point of creating these frameworks and reviews is to provide a structured way to talk about how the work is going. What our dreams and aspirations are and how to get there. In these conversations, we Honor Story and Listen. We're Curious and Ask Nonjudgmental Questions. And we See the Higher Self by Coaching to Assets. We are Compassionate and Walk in their Shoes by remembering what it was like to be a first year teacher or leader. Or what it's like to be a seasoned teacher or leader who wants to continue to be challenged. We need to Be Bold and Hold our colleague's hand while we hold their feet to the fire. When we Imbue Them With Their Own Intelligence and Help Them Connect the Dots, we teach them how to solve problems. We teach them how to take ownership of their professional development.
When we Listen, are Compassionate, See the Higher Self and are Bold, that's love in action. That's leadership in action. And when we and our colleagues understand what we need to do in order to thrive and grow, that's literacy in action about the process for their own development, and a path to get there.