In this week’s New Yorker Paul Bloom makes the case that empathy must yield to reason to save a suffering Read more
Professional Development for Teacher Effectiveness
Long term, increased teacher effectiveness is a requirement for most federal funding streams. But how do you get it with a one-time purchase? Individualized, embedded, quality assured coaching for teachers and principals is superior to even the best, one time training event, but is rarely scalable and affordable. Even if it were, teachers (like the rest of us) are more likely to take advantage of training that provides a concrete, skill-based solution in a moment of specific need; than prearranged, knowledge-based training for a generic set of circumstances. Yet the latter is more likely what they will receive.
What teachers want: recapture lost instruction time
When teachers are asked what they need in order to succeed, they don’t say one more reading or math program. Instead they cite the need for practical help with the off task, disruptive and defiant behavior that robs them – and other students – of precious instructional time. Ripple Effects understands that the solution to lost or ineffective instruction time is not smaller and smaller classes. It is not knowing how to deliver yet one more math or reading program. It is not follow-on investments for teacher training models that have failed to produce results, nor ones that need to be repeated every time there is a change of staff. The solution to inefficient and ineffective instructional practices is affordable, “just in time” professional development for teachers, counselors and other school personnel. It provides high quality, embedded, personal coaching to address the most leveraged components of the student/teacher instructional equation: quality of student-teacher relations, general classroom management skills, cultural competence, and the real time capacity to constructively deal with disruptive, defiant and off task behavior, when and where it occurs.
Best practices for teachers and students
Ripple Effects offers a two part, learner-directed, computer-based, training program that includes both direct training for teachers, and expanded teacher capacity, through providing sophisticated content expertise in the box, for direct delivery to student when problems arise. The direct, teacher training represents a synthesis of best practices in three areas: developing personal leadership through social-emotional competence, managing diverse learners (which includes developing personal cultural competence) and implementation success. The latter includes instruction in how to use the student training software to address behavior problems and other challenges to school success. The student program is aligned with both social emotional learning and language arts standards.
Change in teacher role
The combined program greatly expands teachers’ capacity in the nuanced areas of social-emotional-behavioral intervention, for which they have not been trained. It allows teachers to take the role of guide on the side and relieves them of the burden of mastering a mound of new knowledge and skills for which they were never trained. It enhances their classroom authority and promotes positive relations with students.
Intensive, year-long training for all teachers and principals
Ripple Effects professional development program is a computer-based, year round, embedded coaching program. With 160 multi-part tutorials, it provides an average of five, 15- 20 minute instructional periods per week, for 30 weeks, allowing two weeks at the beginning and end of the school year, for pre and post testing. These can be completed in one 75 minute period per week, two 35-40 minute weekly sessions, or any convenient combination. More importantly, the fully self-contained, “coach in the box” (and optional flash drive delivery) provides 24/7 capacity for every teacher to get immediate help to solve concrete behavioral challenges as they come up. The professional development options includes tutoring for administrators on topics such as how to get buy in, hold a vision, involve parents, provide feedback, and motivate others. Both the staff training software and the student extension of it are designed to provide continuous improvement, with fidelity ensured, to diverse educators, in diverse settings, under diverse conditions of use.
Data-driven instruction for professional development
Title 1 requires that all professional development be both evidence-based and data driven. The Department of Education encourages LEAs to use Title I and IDEA stimulus funds to expand and enhance capacity to collect and use data to improve teaching and learning. Assessment of content mastery is included as one of 9-13 learning modes that are available, though the Whole Spectrum Learning Platform, for every topic in all three versions of the software. A built-in data management system automatically keeps track of what assessments have been completed. Interactive self-profiles about core social emotional abilities, as well as and learning and teaching styles, use learner feedback to tailor recommendations for further exploration and skill training.