Teacher Effectiveness in Adult Education - Full Transcript - Adult Literacy Professional Development Discussion List

Teacher Effectiveness in Adult Education (TE)


A two-part discussion exploring Teacher Effectiveness and Adult Education Instructor Competencies


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Part I: What makes effective teaching in adult education?

Part II: Introduction to the Promoting Teacher Effectiveness in Adult Education Project and Field Input on Draft Adult Education Instructor Model Competencies

Welcome Message

Subject [PD 6563] Teacher Effectiveness In Adult Education
From: Jackie Taylor
Date: Wed May 9 09:20:58 EDT 2012

Dear Colleagues,

We teach in a very diverse field. Adult students have a range of reasons for participating, from getting a better job, reading to children, reading for personal pleasure, searching the web, getting into college, navigating the health care system, or even learning how to send a text message on a mobile phone.

As adult educators, we ourselves are very diverse, coming from all backgrounds, ranges of experience, and fields of study. We have a wealth of professional wisdom on this discussion list about what effective instruction is. Currently, no universal definition exists for "teacher effectiveness". So what does it mean to teach effectively in adult education?

Share an experience that particularly resonated with you, when you helped an adult student with a particular achievement. What did you do, in your interaction with the student, to help the student learn or succeed in reaching his learning goal? What made the teaching effective? What is the evidence or what were the student outcomes?

Or tell us, what do you think makes an effective teacher? How do you know when the instruction is effective?

Please reply to all or send your response in a new email to professionaldevelopment@lincs.ed.gov

Jackie

Jackie Taylor

Professional Development List Facilitator


Topic 1: What Makes an Effective Teacher?

Subject: [PD 6564] What Makes an Effective Teacher?
From: Dallas, Katie
Date: Wed May 9 10:02:43 EDT 2012

I believe it is a combination of skills including interpersonal skills, knowing-learning-encouraging students towards individual and educational goals and even pushing yourself to keep ahead and problem solve to resolve learning difficulties...to name a few. No one thing works with all students all the time. An effective teacher must often think outside of the box to find a way to get to students...There is almost always another way......

Probably one of my most rewarding experiences was with a 63 year old woman who could not read or even right her name. We began by learning to ID the letters specific to her name. She wanted homework. I always quietly signed her in and out because she couldn't and was embarrassed by it. I went and bought a small 2 sided lined wipe off board myself to give her. In permanent ink I (did separate sides for printing and cursive): one line I did her name so she could trace, another line I dotted it so she could do that way and all other lines she had to try on her own. This was her assignment each day to do bring in to me. One day, she came in and said, Ms. D....I can do myself! She did successfully. She cried, I cried and her classmates cried for joy. It was a moment I will forever remember.

Amazing how something so simple like signing your name can be such a moving experience. It humbled me as a teacher and as a human being. I hope I never forget. Each milestone no matter how small is and can be something major. We must never forget that fact.

I will say there was a similar story regarding an adult learning to read that brought me to adult ed in the first place.

Katie Dallas


Subject: [PD 6565] Effective Teaching
From: Anita Landoll
Date: Wed May 9 10:27:26 EDT 2012

For students who struggle to learn, universal, explicit teaching, concrete, multi-sensory, applied learning activities are helpful.

Anita Landoll


Subject: [PD 6566] Re: Effective Teaching
From: Dallas, Katie
Date: Wed May 9 11:23:52 EDT 2012

Yes, very good thing! I teach levels 1-6 in single classroom. Not always easy to do....it's a challenge...plug away at it.

Katie Dallas


Subject: [PD 6568] Re: Effective Teaching
From: Lisa Mullins
Date: Wed May 9 12:12:57 EDT 2012

Hello,

Very well said indeed. Here's a little of my take on effective teaching.

Effective teaching is an important part of making the journey of education successful for our students. I have been teaching adult education since 1998. I’ve had hundreds of students pass through my classroom. I teach in a rural area, but it has a diverse group of people. I teach ABE/GED and ESOL at present. I teach all subjects. Over the years, I've been in literacy and workplace education as well.

I believe one of the most important components in effective teaching in AE is knowing the people in the classroom. First, knowing adult learning and how it differs from person to person. Also, using assessments, goal setting, and interviews to understand the needs of learners are avenues to plan instructions. These tools can help us understand what the learners already know and where the gaps exist in the road to reaching goals. The next step is to use varieties of instruction and materials. What works today, may not work tomorrow—so often I do a lesson and it is great, the learners get it, but the next group doesn’t. I have to find some other way to reach them. So flexibility and variety is so important to AE. I believe that when we know our students we can find and instruct with their learning styles in mind. Active, engaged learners who are challenged to think and participate in their own learning are the best students and they retain the information better.

I know that planning and time to plan is an issue for many educators in our field. So true. I think one solution is to have an arsenal of materials, lessons, ideas, etc. I make unit plans before I need them. I have notebooks full of things I can pull out and use. I try to stay updated on the latest ideas, methods, and research. In addition, I do the work the students do. I work the problems in math, I write an essay on the topic I give, I go through each activity and see how it feels, experience it. It feels better and works better if you are prepared. I look forward to hearing what others have to say on this important subject in adult education at this time. Adult Education is moving ahead and we as teachers need to be the leaders in this movement.

Lisa Mullins

Hawkins County Adult Education

Rogersville, Tennessee


Subject: [PD 6576] Re: Effective Teaching
From: Stephanie Moran
Date: Wed May 9 16:10:54 EDT 2012

Spoken like the long-term, professional adult educator you are, Lisa-when we don't plan, our students know it, and they don't respect us as much as those who do plan-or they flock to our classes because they are easy-another disservice. This said, it's hard to plan unless we're paid for some time; here at my center, we're fortunate because our ED is an educator herself and understands the essential nature of paying for planning.

Stephanie Moran


Subject: [PD 6578] Re: Effective Teaching
From: Wrigley, Heide
Date: Wed May 9 19:17:41 EDT 2012

I also like what Lisa had to say about planning and trying out tasks and activities before you ask students to do the work in the class, but it does take a great deal of time.

Here's an in between step that I suggest to the teachers I work with-create a Lesson Flow on paper but then run through it in your mind any time you have a few minutes of quiet. Think about what students will do at each step and visualize what the will be doing each part of the lesson (listen in rapt attention as I explain things shouldn't be the major part of the lesson). Just by thinking things through from the "learning" perspective often lets us where the gaps are in the plan. For example, when I was teaching and going through the process myself, I often found that I missing some critical steps before asking students to work together to complete a task. I was humbling to realize that even I wouldn't be able to do a task with the information and language I was given by the teacher (me!!)

So focusing on what STUDENTS will do in each component of a class and seeing in my mind's eye how I would set up each task, made me realize where I was going too fast or assuming too much and where I needed to demonstrate a task or pre-teach a concept before moving on.

Heide

Heide Spruck Wrigley

Literacywork International


Subject: [PD 6581] Thinking lessons through
From: Wendy Quinones
Date: Wed May 9 23:35:52 EDT 2012

I think Heide has it exactly right when she says that we need to think our lessons through from the LEARNING perspective. It took me a long time to understand that there is a difference between teaching and learning, and that the best lessons involve a lot less teaching and a lot more learning. One thing that has made me more effective over the last few years is finally giving in and making good, tight learning objectives for each class. It transformed my thinking, from "What am I going to teach tonight?" to "What do I want my students to learn tonight?" With that question in mind, it's easier to focus on how students will respond to the various parts of a lesson and to design it to produce the outcome I'm looking for.

Wendy Quinones


Subject: [PD 6577] Re: What Makes an Effective Teacher?
From: Karen Strickland
Date: Wed May 9 18:11:09 EDT 2012

A teacher who can reach each student as an individual. All students deserve and appreciate praise for their efforts. Exercising the patience of Job because you have to repeat yourself numerous to time to some students while others grasp the first time and move ahead. Convincing each students that they have our undivided attention when needed. Acting as a referee between students who have disputes. Being a friend by reminding them of the goals and encouraging them to never give up.

Karen Strickland


Subject: [PD 6595] What Makes an Effective Teacher?
From: Judy Carr
Date: Thu May 10 14:00:58 EDT 2012

Karen:

I loved your ideas of what makes an effective teacher. All of the posts have given me assurance that we have many people trying to help others.

I find that my first task is getting my students to trust me. I am not an ogre with a red pen ready to pounce on incorrect answers. I want them to know that I will be with them on their journey-giving help, pats on the back, etc. I also want them to know that it is OK to make mistakes. I look forward to those "lightbulb" moments when a student finally understands a concept.

Judy

Missouri Option/Math Instructor

NCRS/East Park

Moberly Public Schools


Subject: [PD 6583] Re: What makes effective teaching in adult education?
From: Peter and Deborah Rei
Date: Thu May 10 02:55:18 EDT 2012

Hello Fellow Adult Educators!

As I read through the previous posts, I felt a strong sense of camaraderie and purpose in adult education through our networking. I really appreciated reading the posts and thought about how mind-expanding this really is for us to learn how other adult educators are meeting the challenges of teaching diverse students in tough economic times and to listen to how each of us describes our successes with adults in our classrooms. This type of networking is such a great and supportive opportunity, especially in times of depleting resources and jobs.

First of all, we can all probably agree that our common goal is to help our students and their families be successful and to achieve more than just barely surviving in our society! We want them to thrive. We want them to come back with stories that they got a job, that they are now doing well supporting their families, and that they see the value of education for their children. However, from my point of view, educating adults sometimes feels insurmountable, in a world that demands high literacy skills and absolute proficiency in technology and in all areas of English communication.

Secondly, our jobs are to support, encourage, and train adult student to obtain all of the above skills as much as possible. How do we "effectively teach" and engage our students long enough, so that they can achieve the skill level they need to successfully compete for jobs? That is what I'm most concerned about for my students and here is why.

I teach adult basic education in a moderate security state prison in California. I have an open entry and exit program, so many of my students average only 3 to 4 months in my program. I teach a diverse population of multicultural and multiethnic students from a variety of areas across all regions of California, not just from the "inner city." Most of the students in my class are 40 to 50% English learners and an even higher percentage are learning disabled with other psychological and social skill challenges. It is a known fact that recidivism or the rate of return to prison is reduced by 25 to 30% when inmates complete academic education programs, such as getting a GED, or complete vocational training in a specific trade such as carpentry, auto mechanics, or welding, etc.

Statistics also show that the more education our students obtain, the higher their wages will be. I recently completed my Master's thesis on how adult ESL teachers instruct writing to low literacy students (below 4th grade level) and English learners. Several studies that I read showed strong correlations between scores on literacy tests and wages. For example, in one study by Reder (2010), the median income for students who score below 275 on the Test of Adult Literacy (TALS) was about $8,250 to 9,000 per year compared to students who scored above 275 on the TALS who earned $10,000 to 12,000 per year.

In another study, the median weekly earnings of high school dropouts was $454 compared to high school graduates or GED recipients which was $626. Based on the research, the correlations between literacy levels and income are strong and startling. So I see my job as "boosting" the literacy levels of my incarcerated students as much as possible, so they can obtain a decent wage when they parole.

How does this relate to effective teaching in adult education? Some of the postings alluded to connecting learners to many possibilities, understanding adult learners, planning and rehearsing lessons, understanding the needs of learners, using a variety of instructional materials, engaging and challenging learners, preparing interesting lessons ahead of time, connecting to the students, or creating a "community of learners", etc. And the list goes on because each of us has unique and special experiences and challenges with our adult students, and I enjoyed reading about all of them!

My experience includes teaching incarcerated adults for over six years and teaching special education in the public schools for eight years. During the trials and tribulations, I learned a lot about accommodating students, differentiating instruction and, most of all, having a sense of humor! I also work on building "classroom community" by encouraging my students to ask questions, applying what they have learned, and rewarding them for their successes.

I think it is very important and essential to encourage adults and to help them build their self-esteem. Many of my students sorely lack confidence, so I do what I can to "boost" their self-confidence and boost interest in education through building "classroom community." Sometimes when my students first enter my class, they express a lot of anti-education sentiments because of their previous failures in our society and in the public schools. So I support using intrinsic and extrinsic rewards to boost their self-confidence and interest in education.

For intrinsic rewards, I emphasize what a student is actually learning and what a student is doing "right," not wrong, through verbal praise. We know that adults are very independent with enriching life experiences of their own, so I encourage them to discuss their culture and relate the lesson in the "context" of their lives, i.e. authentic or contextual learning. For extrinsic rewards, I give my students certificates whenever they complete math or language "units." I also encourage them to participate in lessons, use cooperative learning, and encourage them with more verbal praise and more support when a student shows effort, motivation, and progress. I can't over-emphasize how important it is for teachers to encourage students and to help them feel "at home" in the classroom and that they are an important part of the learning community. We can all learn from each other. And it never ceases to amaze me how much I learn from my students as well.

I look forward to reading what other educators think about this important topic!

Deborah Rei

Adult Basic Education Teacher

California Department of Corrections & Rehabilitation

Sierra Conservation Center Adult School

Jamestown, California


Subject: [PD 6586] Re: What makes effective teaching in adult education?
From: Carol Kubota
Date: Thu May 10 10:06:03 EDT 2012

Deborah,

I totally agree with the following comment that you made.
I can't over-emphasize how important it is for teachers to encourage students and to help them feel "at home" in the classroom and that they are an important part of the learning community.

It is soooooo very important to make the students feel that they are in a safe educational environment. I think that many times the students that you currently teach were ridiculed at school by teachers and students. Some of them were dropouts and did not have the means to continue their schooling. I only wish that High School could be a better experience for all students from all "walks of life". Keep up the good work.

Carol Kubota

Faculty Associate AECP @ ASU, Arizona State University


Subject: [PD 6587] Re: What makes effective teaching in adult education?
From: Bratcher, Edith D (Elizabethtown)
Date: Thu May 10 11:07:56 EDT 2012

I agree with all of the ideas everyone has submitted. It is extremely important that teachers do not" judge" students in the classroom as to why they have not accomplished or completed their educational needs. I manage an adult education center in Kentucky and I hear teachers discussing students from their centers on how they don't use their time wisely, how they are spending our tax dollars if they are on assistance, how they don't give enough respect to teachers, and on and on. In this field we are always going to have students who have not made the commitment, but if students receive the same attitudes from teachers in adult learning communities as they have in past experiences with high school, how are we going to be able to change anything?

Dianne Bratcher

Meade County Education Center


Subject: [PD 6588] Re: What makes effective teaching in adult education?
From: JULIE MCGINTY
Date: Thu May 10 11:24:34 EDT 2012

I enjoyed your comments. I, too, used to teach in prison and the note about a sense of humor is very significant. You need to be friendly, but not a friend with your incarcerated students. Many incarcerated people have little sense of humor whether they were that way before or learned the behavior is a question. But a good sense of humor in a teacher can smooth over very rough patches in a prison setting.

Julie McGinty


Subject: [PD 6589] Re: What makes effective teaching in adult education?
From: Susan Jones
Date: Thu May 10 11:54:21 EDT 2012

I have to remind myself that the best delivery of the best instruction, no matter how engaging... will still have to filter through the students' perceptions and their histories. I see it in math especially-so many students don't even know what it is like to understand what's going on, so they resist trying to. They're sure they can't, but that they have to play along with me 'cause if I discovered how dumb they were they'd get kicked to the curb... working through that with small successes and making sure the student actually owns the success (as opposed to thinking I was just being kind) is important.

Susan Jones

Academic Development Specialist

Center for Academic Success

Parkland College

Champaign, IL


Subject: [PD 6590] Re: What makes effective teaching in adult education?
From: Kate Nonesuch
Date: Thu May 10 12:43:22 EDT 2012

Thanks for the interesting discussion, everyone.

I certainly agree with you, Diane, on the importance of not judging students, since there is so much in our students' lives that we cannot see.

I too hear derogatory comments about students' lack of commitment. I like to turn the idea of "commitment" around a little bit. Instead of worrying about how much or little commitment a student has made to the program or the class, which I have no control over, I think about my commitment, to any particular student, to the class as a whole, and to myself.

Many of the people in this discussion have talked about our commitment to individual students, to use all the strategies, skills and knowledge we have; to make a safer space; to connect with learners' goals and experience.

Commitment to the class as a whole means to do that delicate dance to balance individual needs, to make things interesting, to develop relationships between students, to get to where I said I'd get to in the course outline; to make a safer space.

Commitment to myself to teach in a way that maintains my respect for myself; to deal with my own emotions so that I don't take things out on students; to figure out a way to maintain my joy in my work.
If I concentrate on those commitments, which I have control over, I can meet students where they are at, and we can work together.

As always, easier said than done!

Kate Nonesuch

Victoria, BC


Subject: [PD 6596] Re: What makes effective teaching in adult education?
From: David Greig
Date: Thu May 10 14:09:56 EDT 2012

I appreciate the depth of the discussion and the importance of discussing our practice(s). I agree with what has been said and would like to present some other points that guide my work. I have had the privilege to work with adult learners in British Columbia and in the Yukon Territory in the areas of ABE (Developmental Education), ESL and currently ASE, Work Force Education and horticulture (EARTH Gardening). Within these areas, I have found that it was important to acknowledge where people come from (e.g. the traditional territories of the First Nations where I work and live)and to enter into collaborative communications about how we will work together in our learning place.

This is often difficult for some learners as they have not had the opportunity to be part of or to function within a group where responsibility is driven internally rather than externally. This leads to the concept that although we are "teachers", I prefer the term/idea of facilitator of learning as a better way to position myself within the learning environment. As such, I try to create the idea of place for the people I work with as this can develop their sense of responsibility and power for their learning.

Therefore, I believe that we must recognize that we have power because we have the "knowledge" that people need to move toward their educational or personal goal(s). Because of our social location, it is also necessary that we have knowledge about working with and in group settings and to identify how we use our practice to facilitate or guide this learning.

It is so interesting that hopefully we are coming back to the idea that we are adult educators and not just educators of adults.

Thank you,

David Greig, Camosun College


Subject: [PD 6602] Re: What makes effective teaching in adult education?
From: Katia Hameg
Date: Thu May 10 17:58:50 EDT 2012

Dear David et al,

What a great discussion everybody-from different end enriching environments-has got over here. I second David's thoughts when he says that it is important for us-educators-to acknowledge our ESL adult learners' "learning" spaces as this might facilitate our intervention in order to plan our teaching. Once we understand our challenges and limits as far as to when and how we could intervene as "facilitators of learning", we would be able to afford and to create a better and peaceful learning environment.

I also agree at one hundred percent with Kate's criticism about putting into question and reflecting about our whole ELT practice. Are we committed enough to our previous learning and teaching beliefs? Do we empower our adult learners with the necessary literacy skills they need to survive in the 21st century?

I must concur with Kate that we seldom reflect or put into question our practices. We always tend to think that we failed because the other part, i.e. learners, were incapable to follow us.

Hopefully, even if it takes time for us-teachers-to acknowledge such weaknesses, we are grateful enough to have such great sense of wisdom to readdress the situation for the better.

My very best regards for a positive wash-back reflection and until then,

Katia

Katia Hameg

MA TESOL

ESL/EFL Teacher


Subject: [PD 6616] Re: ProfessionalDevelopment Digest, Vol 80, Issue 16
From: Allison Pickering
Date: Fri May 11 12:31:46 EDT 2012

Hello all,

I agree with what has been said. Classrooms need to be interesting, students need to be respected, and teachers need to connect with them, teaching students to self-reflect, summative over formative. However, beyond if the students are comfortable, we must consider if they are learning. Lowering the affective filter is only part of that.
We must not lose sight of the fact that research shows routine (*not* 100 ways to do something), professionalism, and research-based methodologies maximize student learning. Teacher modeling, checking for comprehension beyond "Understand? Any questions?" and properly structured lessons (presentation, comprehension check, guided practice, and communicative or open-ended practice) lead to student learning.

Allison Pickering

Assistant Principal

Escondido Adult School


Subject: [PD 6617] What makes an effective teacher?
From: Thomas Jones
Date: Fri May 11 15:01:29 EDT 2012

I always dislike such questions, the way they are worded, because teaching is an art as well as a science and because each teacher is different. I teach at a community college and an adult ed. program. The two are different. One is academic, the other is not. What would make me "effective" in one setting might not make me "effective" in another. Even so, in higher education, the one world where I teach, the instructors value academic freedom. This means if an instructor wants to be "boring" and show students Power Points all day, the instructor has that right. In adult ed. there is no such freedom.

There are teachers in adult ed. who are what I'd call the more traditional types but who incorporate some of the aspects of experiential learning. Teachers are people. They come from different backgrounds, motivations, hang-ups, etc. If we say, "Studies have shown..." that certain things work and don't, my response is there is always a teacher who defies this logic and uses things in the classroom which we would consider not to work and somehow makes them work.

So if I were asked to "define" effectiveness, I'll say what effective isn't, then what it is, and I'll speak from my own teaching experience, which has had its ups and downs. Effective isn't someone who produces detailed, organized, and exceptional lesson plans. I've known teachers who have NO advance plan whatsoever and keep the students coming. Effective isn't someone who has perfect student attendance or for that matter a command of classroom management. Effective isn't even someone who has to smile all the time. Effective isn't even someone who uses tricks or games to engage students.

Rather effective is someone who takes what could be boring, dry, lifeless material and makes it real for the students, to get the students to "live" in it, by which I mean gets the students to produce, to create their own material. For example, in doing a lesson on classified ads, I had my students create their own classified ad using models from the book and what we learned in class. What I did was not a new discovery because only in the sciences can we really discover something new. I know other teachers have done this too. I guess you could say it was HOW I went about getting them to create that made it effective.

So does this mean that if a teacher doesn't do this, he or she isn't effective? I'm not saying that. This is what worked for me. How do I know it was effective? Because I could see tangible results, i.e., a student-created classified ad. If students reach a goal the teacher set for them, then that teacher is effective. If not, the teacher is not

.

Thomas Jones


Subject: [PD 6619] Re: What makes an effective teacher?
From: David Rosen
Date: Fri May 11 16:58:08 EDT 2012

Thomas,

You've got my attention.

First, I have to say I chuckled when I read:
...in higher education, the one world where I teach, the instructors value academic freedom. This means if an instructor wants to be 'boring' and show students Power Points all day, the instructor has that right. In adult ed. there is no such freedom.
Second, you have challenged the question, "What is effective teaching?" suggesting we need to add... for a specific setting. I would add, for what kinds of students, at what levels, with what kinds of goals (or in some cases lack of goals)?

What is effective teaching (for whom, with what goals, at what levels, and in what kind of setting)?

"What is effective teaching for immigrants who speak very little English and read and write no language, enrolled in an ESOL level 1 class in a community based-organization?" may be a very different question from "What is effective teaching in a GED Prep writing class for students who are highly motivated to attend a two-year college's LPN training program?" or from "What is effective teaching in a workplace math program for students who need basic math and computer skills to do statistical process control?" or from "What is effective teaching in a mandatory ABE program for adjudicated youth who don't really want to be in any class at all?" (Granted there are some elements of teacher effectiveness that may cut across many or all these questions.)

Third, you ask a good question that all teachers should ask, "How do I know it [what I taught] was effective?" I would like to see answers to that question from teachers, administrators, students and funders who may be in this discussion. (Will their different roles affect their answers?) I don't suppose there are many-if any-adult learners in this discussion, but perhaps some of the teachers here could ask their students how they know if something they have taught was effective, and also how they would define "effective teaching"?

David J. Rosen


Subject: [PD 6621] Re: What makes an effective teacher?
From: Susan Gaer
Date: Fri May 11 17:37:12 EDT 2012

This is such a fascinating discussion (thank you Jackie for organizing it)
David asks what is effective for me as an instructor. I think it is my students' satisfaction rating of me. When students tell me in class that they learned something or that they are engaged, I feel like I have been effective. However, this is my gauge at the intermediate levels of ESL and ABE. When I was teaching ESL beg/ literacy, it was a different gauge. I decided I was effective then if my students could demonstrate outside the class that they could use a skill I had taught them in class. How did I do this? By interacting with my students each and every day and finding out who they are. At beg ESL there is not enough language for them to let you know in language. You have to have an intimate relationship with each and every one and ask enough comprehensible questions to understand what they feel.

Susan Gaer

Professor of ESL

Santa Ana College School of Continuing Education


Subject: [PD 6622] Re: What makes an effective teacher?
From: Melissa Nitu
Date: Fri May 11 17:43:52 EDT 2012

David and Thomas asked:

Third, you ask a good question that all teachers should ask, "How do I know it [what I taught] was effective?" I would like to see answers to that question from teachers, administrators, students and funders who may be in this discussion. (Will their different roles affect their answers?) I don't suppose there are many -- if any -- adult learners in this discussion, but perhaps some of the teachers here could ask their students how they know if something they have taught was effective, and also how they would define "effective teaching"?

I would like to respond as a current Adult Ed. Program administrator and previous teacher. As an administrator, I see the teacher effectiveness in two ways. First I notice a teacher's effectiveness by the students' response and persistence in his/her class. Some teachers consistently loose students and some teachers have students that will stick around as long as the teacher will let them. Does this mean the teacher is effective? Maybe, maybe not. But, what I do know is that a teacher cannot be effective if the students do not stick around. This is fundamentally different from the K12 system or even the College system where students are more likely to stick around for the semester since they have paid for the course.

The second observation is in the teacher's results. We have progress testing, GED and Citizenship. We have transitions to work or college. As an administrator, I can see that instructors that are getting results in these areas are effectively teaching the material. It is not enough to just know that you are effective because you taught something and the students retained it. We have to teach the things that students need to know to be successful on the assessments that will make a difference in their lives. I am not talking about simply teaching content, there is much more to it than that. If I know a person cannot do well on standardized tests because he has an outside influence that is hampering success, I need to be able to address that issue. This is outside of the academia, but if I can help students resolve some of the barriers, then I can run with them academically.
As a teacher, I produced results, because I knew my students and their lives. I accept that their lives are different from mine and have a genuine interest in helping individuals find a better life. How can you do that if you don't know them that well? I have noticed that some instructors have a hard time with getting to know their students as individuals. And I know there has been a lot of professional development centered on this issue. Does it work? I don't know. It is really hard to see something in a different way if you are not willing. For some it is hard to not feel as if you are losing your boundaries. Is there a PD for teacher/student boundaries?

Therefore, I believe that effective teachers understand the big picture (why students need an education and that we need each other to build a better life), and they know their students, well.

Melissa Sadler-Nitu


Subject: [PD 6628] Re: What makes an effective teacher? Enthusiasm and knowledge
From: Val Yule
Date: Sat May 12 20:42:38 EDT 2012

The most important thing for teachers is enthusiasm for their subject. Children and adults will follow an enthusiastic teacher so readily that this variable confuses all scientific studies of methods.

Another important factor is knowledge of the subject. Again, this is not readily testable, but it does affect what and how a subject is taught. Teachers who can only teach learning by rote have variable results. For example, most teachers do not understand the spelling system and what is basic to it.

All the other factors mentioned are very important-but these 'difficult to measure' factors count most. (Students' response to enthusiasm can perhaps be measured.) Teachers of teachers can communicate this enthusiasm.

Val Yule


Topic 2: Using Poetry

Subject: [PD 6567] Effective teaching
From: Wendy Quinones
Date: Wed May 9 12:05:43 EDT 2012

Colleagues,

For me, effective teaching for adults involves empowerment, because without that sense of agency it's hard for students to find, as a yoga instructor once described it, "the true teacher inside."

For that reason, I love teaching poetry to my GED students. They are almost always convinced that they can't understand it, that it is utterly beyond them. A lesson that has proved foolproof for me involves a poem about apples and, building on the concrete and multi-sensory, the use of actual apples as well. I can't take full credit for the lesson-I adapted it from Frances E. Kazemek and Pat Rigg's Enriching our Lives: Poetry Lessons for Adult Literacy Teachers and Tutors (International Reading Association, 1995).

Here's what sets light bulbs blazing. Students each have an apple and a knife. Three lines from the poem ("The Apple," by Bruce Guernsey) are on the board:

Quartered,

a seed rocks

in each tiny cradle.

I ask students to cut the apples so they will reflect these lines. In several dozen uses of this lesson, I don't think two students have cut the apples wrong. In other words, they have understood the imagery! When I point this out to them, they are quite astounded. This concrete example gives them the confidence to begin interpreting the rest of the poem and, when time permits, to write their own. By the end of this class, students have a belief in their ability to learn and make meaning. For many, it's quite transformative. What else can we ask for?

Wendy Quinones

For anyone interested in my whole lesson plan (and a couple of others on poetry), they are here: http://www.sabes.org/license/samples/wqlessonplan.pdf


Subject: [PD 6569] Re: Effective teaching
From: Cheri Murray
Date: Wed May 9 12:16:51 EDT 2012

Thanks for sharing! I am going to use this at the start of summer semester! I'm so inspired!

Cheri Murray,

Colorado Mountain College


Subject: [PD 6571] Re: Effective teaching
From: Susan Gaer
Date: Wed May 9 14:06:04 EDT 2012

Wendy

Thank you for this wonderful lesson. I myself will use this with my students next week. I agree with you that effective teaching ESL/ABE level certainly is certainly about empowerment and the cultural components to that empowerment. You don't just become empowered, you have to learn how use that empowerment to make effective change. Our students have a lot to offer the world.

Susan Gaer

Google Certified Teacher

Professor ESL, Basic Skills and Instructional Technology Coordinator 2010-2011

Santa Ana College School of Continuing Education


Subject: [PD 6570] Poetry by Bruce Guernsey
From: Anita Landoll
Date: Wed May 9 12:41:51 EDT 2012

He is a good poet. I studied under him in college!

I am currently helping adults with developmental/intellectual disabilities improve reading skills, using universal, explicit teaching, concrete, multi-sensory, applied phonics. I am using a variety of texts/levels. It is a challenge, but all are progressing.

Anita Landoll


Subject: [PD 6574] Re: Poetry by Bruce Guernsey
From: Cynthia Peters
Date: Wed May 9 16:16:45 EDT 2012

Nice poetry-great for the adult ed. classroom. I added a link to one of the poems to The Change Agent Facebook page. Thanks for the tip!

Cynthia


Subject: [PD 6573] Using Poetry to Teach Effectively
From: Stephanie Moran
Date: Wed May 9 15:01:45 EDT 2012

I agree with Wendy about the power of poetry. We just spent a couple of days using the document camera to analyze about 8 students' essays, and the poetic phrases and imagery really strengthened almost every one of them; the trick is having students SEE their and others' work so that we can reveal such language: "countless places that inspire humans to travel"...holds numerous wonders deep beneath the dry, deserty land"...Love! Like the universe expands forever and circles forever, so does love."..."I didn't hear him well because my head was swimming and the coppery taste of my own blood was flooding my mouth"...One thing I like the most is to watch day by day as the scenery transforms into a beautiful painting."

The students see in a powerful way that they ARE descriptive and detailed writers and DO know how to organize and develop; of course, this wasn't Day 1 of the GED-level writing class.

Another thing: helping students to tackle complex poems not only unlocks meaning from the poem but helps them to understand what it means to be analytical; to analyze isn't restricted to non-fiction; everything demands and wants to be analyzed so that we can own that knowledge in a way that a surface treatment can't always give us. This doesn't mean that we should beat a poem to death, to paraphrase Billy Collins (funny and famous former American Laureate poet) - but we can help students glean much from it.

Stephanie Moran


Topic 3: Connecting With Students

Subject: [PD 6572] Effective Teachers in Adult Education
From: Jenkins, Rob
Date: Wed May 9 14:17:05 EDT 2012

I am excited about this project and have many thoughts about what makes an effective teacher. Rather than try to list all my thoughts at one time, I will add my thoughts a few at a time.

The interesting thing for me about discussing what makes an effective teacher and developing competency standards is that many essential things are difficult to measure and therefore difficult to objectively assess.

What is the #1 thing I would hope to see in adult education instructors?

Assuming that the instructor is educated in andragogy and has a good knowledge base of the content, I would say that the instructor has to have a strong connection with his/her students. It is so obvious while observing classes when the instructor and the students are equally involved and motivated within a classroom. You see a community of learners (including the teacher) and 100% attention or focus on the task at hand. That is far different from the other classes I observe where the teacher has put himself/herself on a pedestal lecturing and expecting students to react only to what he/she has to say. Students are not always engaged nor do they feel free to voice thoughts and opinions. Often they also seem to fear asking questions. The effective teacher first develops and continually feeds the idea of a community environment that helps students feel safe and motivates them to ACT.

Rob Jenkins


Subject: [PD 6575] Connecting with Students
From: Stephanie Moran
Date: Wed May 9 16:07:18 EDT 2012

Well put, Rob. Any good teacher must connect, and even more so, perhaps, for adult educators since our students have often been burned or felt burned by their prior educational environment.

On the other hand, we must be ever mindful that our primary job is education and not counseling, and that is a fine line to walk. I walk on the side of finding appropriate support for my student and being a good listener, but I don't want to become a de facto enabler. I build skills and in that manner, I build self-confidence and a stronger ability for students to direct their own path. Support without honest, meaningful skills across the curriculum does students a disservice.

Stephanie Moran


Subject: [PD 6579] Re: Connecting with Students
From: Flower, Debbie
Date: Wed May 9 16:56:06 EDT 2012

I have seen many great comments and want to expand on the below thread regarding "connecting" with students. We have a large program where most of our students are in an urban area of a larger city. All the training, technology or curriculum will not compensate for a teacher who "instinctively" knows how to work with students of such diverse backgrounds of race, gender identity, culture, socio-economic status, etc. that we see in our program. The great teachers that I have seen do not necessarily have educational degrees or backgrounds, but they understand from a "gut" level how to interact, encourage and engage students.

These are instructors that make connections between the curriculum and the real world that our students live in. They are understanding and non-judgmental, but hold our students accountable for engaging in the learning process through a set of high expectations and creative teaching.

Unfortunately, many teachers are stuck in educational models of the past, where they teach "at" the student and not "with" the student. This type of environment feeds into the low self-esteem, learned helplessness and impact of poverty on learning models that we hear about at conferences, etc. I believe that we need to look at these types of "instinctive" teachers as the trainers and models for new instructors coming into a program. Over time, this will set a new standard of teacher effectiveness in adult education.

Debbie Flower

Metropolitan Community College

Omaha, NE


Subject: [PD 6580] Effective teaching
From: Richard Goldberg
Date: Wed May 9 21:29:22 EDT 2012

I strongly believe that effective teaching, as has been eloquently noted in several previous posts, begins with the connections that the teacher makes with the students, the ways in which teachers connect students to the material, and especially connecting learners to the greater possibilities of next steps beyond "getting my GED" or "improving my English." We should broaden horizons for students by exposing them to the possibilities of higher levels of education and training that will lead to better jobs and better lives. We are not the end but the beginning.

Richard Goldberg

Director of Education and Teacher

Asian American Civic Assn.

Boston, MA


Subject: [PD 6584] Re: Effective teaching
From: Andrea Wilder
Date: Thu May 10 08:44:30 EDT 2012

Hi Richard,

What helps in making this connection, student to teacher?
Your opinion-is it better for the teacher to be of a similar background, ethnicity, of the students? Or does this not matter much?

Andrea Wilder


Subject: [PD 6597] Effective teaching
From: Judy Carr
Date: Thu May 10 14:09:35 EDT 2012

Andrea

In answer to your question, Andrea, I believe that similar background or ethnicity does not matter a great deal. I enjoy learning from my students also. Their backgrounds and ethnicities all enrich my life. I feel that I am a lifelong learner.

Judy Carr

Missouri Option/Math Instructor

NCRS/East Park

Moberly Public Schools


Subject: [PD 6599] Re: Effective teaching
From: Mindy Domb
Date: Thu May 10 14:45:45 EDT 2012

I really don't think a similar background is a requirement. However, I do think cultural competency, sensitivity and openness is a prerequisite.

Mindy Domb


Subject: [PD 6607] Student views of teaching
From: Wendy Quinones
Date: Fri May 11 10:19:42 EDT 2012

Colleagues,

I don't think a teacher's similarity or difference from students is what matters in making connections. What does matter is respect. Our students often get little of it in their lives, and I find that when it is offered, they grow toward it like a plant toward light.

Wendy Quinones


Subject: [PD 6582] An Effective Teacher
From: JULIE MCGINTY
Date: Thu May 10 00:01:39 EDT 2012

An Effective Teacher is one who finds a way to inspire hope in a student. Helping students to believe that they can make change in their own lives comes from the ability to hope. When a student "sees" that they can do something successfully, they begin to build hope. Out of hope the student can learn to structure a plan and direct changes so that s/he begins to travel on path s/he has chosen. The teacher needs to believe in the student and convey that belief to the student. Each interaction between instructor and learner builds a connection which can develop into trust. Oh, I could go on and on, but you (the reader) know where I am going.

Julie McGinty


Topic 4: What Contributes to or Impedes Effective Instruction?

Subject: [PD 6591] What contributes to-or impedes-effective instruction?
From: Jackie Taylor
Date: Thu May 10 13:18:48 EDT 2012

Hi everyone,

Lisa Mullins and others have also raised some challenges to teaching effectively, such how it is difficult to do so without paid planning time.

I'm wondering, based on your experiences, what contributes to-or impedes-effective instruction?

Looking forward to hearing more,

Jackie

Jackie Taylor

Professional Development List Facilitator


Subject: [PD 6593] Re: What contributes to-or impedes-effective instruction?
From: David Rosen
Date: Thu May 10 13:46:41 EDT 2012

Colleagues:

In addition to the challenge (for some) of not having adequate paid planning time, I would be interested to hear about how some of these other challenges to effective instruction may be addressed:

  • Meeting individual student needs (i.e. "individualizing") in a multi-level classroom, especially when you have more than 20 students
  • Providing sufficient "time on task" instruction to see low-level readers progress
  • Providing regular, systematic, formative assessment to help students know how they are (or aren't) progressing
  • Meeting state curriculum content standards
  • Getting good supervision or "just-in-time" professional development when you have an instruction problem you need to solve
  • Especially for part-time teachers who have multiple jobs, finding time for professional development
  • Meeting new, higher standards and expectations for performance with the same or fewer resources
  • For GED teachers and program administrators, getting ready for GED 2014

I would also be interested to know if you think technology (software and/or hardware) is helpful in addressing any of these challenges and, if so, with which challenges, what kinds of technology, and how.

David J. Rosen


Subject: [PD 6594] Re: What contributes to-or impedes-effective instruction?
From: Susan Gaer
Date: Thu May 10 14:02:15 EDT 2012

The larger issue of adult education instructors not making enough money to survive is one of the thing that impedes instruction. If this were a field in which the majority of instructors were paid a living wage, there would probably be less ineffective instructional practices....That being the case nationwide, let's discuss what we can do have an effective practice.

I use the word "practice" similar to Yoga. Teaching is something you practice and with more practice you become more effective. I have learned from my many instructional experiences how to be better at my craft. One thing that really helps me craft my knowledge is reading the wonderful lesson plans that other teachers across the country (and the world) have done successfully. That helps scaffold my learning and in turn helps me scaffold the learning for other teachers that I come in touch with.

Another experience that helps me hone my craft, is listening to the students talk about the class. When I hear a student say, "I am almost late for work, I was so engage with the lesson I forgot about the time." I know I have done the day went well. When I see students really engaged in a lesson, that is one that I save for another day. This is how I personally hone my craft and it is a never ending pursuit. You got to love what you do to do it well. These are my esoteric humble thoughts.

Susan Gaer

Google Certified Teacher

Professor ESL, Basic Skills and Instructional Technology Coordinator 2010-2011

Santa Ana College School of Continuing Education


Subject: [PD 6598] What contributes to-or impedes-effective instruction?
From: Stephanie Moran
Date: Thu May 10 14:17:13 EDT 2012

One of our biggest obstacles to steady success is erratic or episodic attendance. Our students' lives are often on the edge of financial and familial doom or what we euphemistically call "challenges"-transportation, childcare, you know the drill-that helping adults succeed is a challenge in this regard.

To address this, we have implemented what we call Guided Instruction, open to a student for 1:1, during all our day class periods for practice tests, for someone who is too late to enter the appropriate class that day, for someone who's been gone for 3 weeks and needs to wait for a unit to be completed before rejoining peers in a particular class.

School auditors don't much like Guided Instruction because it doesn't look like a legitimate class, but its' a lifesaver for a dozen reasons-students feel comfortable returning after long or short absences, and we can fold them right back in without stress on teachers or the student.

As far as impeding instruction, poor planning is number 1. Another factor is balancing between a friendly and a firm atmosphere-so that a lax or undisciplined atmosphere doesn't become the norm.

Stephanie Moran


Topic 5: Helping Students "Own" Success

Subject: [PD 6592] Re: What makes effective teaching in adult education?
From: David Rosen
Date: Thu May 10 13:54:08 EDT 2012

Susan,

You wrote:

I have to remind myself that the best delivery of the best instruction, no matter how engaging... will still have to filter through the students' perceptions and their histories. I see it in math especially -- so many students don't even know what it is like to understand what's going on, so they resist trying to. They're sure they can't, but that they have to play along with me 'cause if I discovered how dumb they were they'd get kicked to the curb... working through that with small successes and making sure the student actually owns the success (as opposed to thinking I was just being kind) is important.

Could you tell us more about your strategies for helping a student who comes to feeling "dumb" about math get confident and competent, more about how you build on small successes, what you do or say to help students own their successes?

Also, I think you wrote-perhaps here or on the Numeracy list-that you have been making math videos for students. If so, can you tell us where we might see them, and also how you use them with your students?

David J. Rosen


Subject:[PD 6615] Re: What makes effective teaching in adult education?
From: Susan Jones
Date: Fri May 11 12:18:27 EDT 2012

http://parkland.libguides.com/mat094cas?hs=a is where my first efforts live. These are narrated powerpoints and Camtasia movies that I did between semesters last winter.
This semester, I took 2D animation and the teacher was kind enough to let me modify projects into math lessons, but they're *really* not ready for prime time (our "take a whole lot of pictures and show them quickly" project at http://www.resourceroom.net/educationalvideos/mathpower.mov is good for a laugh, though). I think there's huge potential in applying the principles of animation to presenting math in ways that can be memorable and address common misconceptions. If I could draw I'd be dangerous -- I'm afraid my attempt at a flexing muscle looks more like a recently fed snake at http://www.resourceroom.net/educationalvideos/exponentwithpower7.mov.

Fortunately, there are several other folks here who are interested in developing a more conceptual curriculum for our most basic students, with a strong multisensory emphasis (per my training in teaching reading to folks with learning disabilities using Orton-GIllingham methods)... it's time to put something together with the tools and resources we have. So, as soon as I hit "send" here I need to take the next steps in that direction.

Confidence and competence... first and foremost, I don't assume a student brings previous skill or knowledge - I watch for it and ask questions that will let me know, and build from there. I try to remember to ask "why" as well as "how" or "what," because if the "why" question gets a terrified look or a blank stare...

Coaching and talking about the "self talk" is important, too. I tell 'em that it's completely normal to look at a problem and to be absolutely sure there just isn't enough information to figure out the answer.... that it's what happens next that matters. You can leave it blank, put something down and hope it will get a few points, or you can ask yourself, "okay, what *do* I know about the problem?" and write down something you're sure of, draw the problem, look for key words (does it say "solve" or "simplify") -- and, with our algebra book, read the directions at teh beginning of that group of problems because often there is no math to be done, really; you're supposed to do something like identify a coefficient.

Time to hit send :)

Susan Jones

Academic Development Specialist

Center for Academic Success

Parkland College

Champaign, IL


Subject: [PD 6709] Post about Students, Teacher PD, Teacher Effectiveness
From: Thomas Jones
Date: Fri May 18 00:49:24 EDT 2012

Just one more post about PD, effectiveness, etc., it seems to me that if we want our students to make any kinds of gains and if we want to build community, the best way to do that is to help make our students autonomous learners.

Someone mentioned the use of book vs. not. I use the book as a jumping off point to then go outside of the book and ultimately get the students to create or produce using the book and whatever else we studied as a model. Recently we practiced job searching and the past two days interviewing. If I'd stuck to the book on interviewing, they'd get bored, because the conversation practice in the book isn't sufficient. Instead, I did a combo. I took some of the same interview questions from the book, put in my own, and asked them for what they think are questions, and then I asked them to write an interview conversation based on all this. Of course I did pre-teaching beforehand. I asked them to work together. I also went around the room and checked their writing, and I also collected it, took it home, and corrected it.

Then I asked them to practice their conversations together in their seats, even though each one had a slightly different conversation, which was good because they get to see different conversations. Then I asked them to come to the front of the room and "perform" an interview in front of the class.

My point is get them to create and produce. If we do that, I believe students will persist and take more of an interest because what's in front of them is theirs and not given to them by the teacher or a book.

I believe this also makes an effective teacher, and I believe the goal of good PD is to help make our students autonomous learners. The goal should be so that by the time the class is over, they won't need teacher anymore.

Thomas Jones

ESL Practitioner, RI


Topic 6: Student Views on Effective Teaching

Subject: [PD 6600] Re: What Makes an Effective Teacher?
From: Moises Morales
Date: Thu May 10 14:52:42 EDT 2012

I have enjoyed the comments to this discussion. I find that we appear to have the same experiences to a greater or lesser degree. However, it seems to me that we have a unilateral view of what effective teaching should be, by this I mean, that we/teachers take on all the responsibility of what that means, but we need to contemplate what effective teaching may mean for the student, program, observer, etc. and what that involves.

Despite our efforts to know our students learning styles, they may have a completely different view of "effective teaching" and what it means to them.
This in mind, I think we are effective teachers when we can balance these views and reach as many people as we can, without losing too many.

Moisés Morales

Program Specialist

El Civics Adult Education

Pickle Elementary


Subject: [PD 6607] Student views of teaching
From: Wendy Quinones
Date: Fri May 11 10:19:42 EDT 2012

Colleagues,

I am fascinated by Moises's observation that students may have completely different ideas of what makes effective teaching than we do. I intend to put that question to my students at the next opportunity! I did get one clue recently: one of my classes was celebrating having earned the best attendance record for a month (92%!). The students seemed to agree that they always want to come because they are never bored.

Wendy Quinones


Subject: [PD 6609] Re: Student views of teaching
From: Stephanie Moran
Date: Fri May 11 11:24:45 EDT 2012

Another insightful and on the mark observation by Wendy. Sometimes the hunger in our students' eyes for both recognition and knowledge is overwhelming.

Stephanie Moran


Subject: [PD 6618] Re: Student views of teaching
From: Neubauer, Kim
Date: Fri May 11 15:19:53 EDT 2012

Beyond making connections, a teacher's personality (as viewed through the lens of the Myers Briggs Type Indicator) DOES create a lot of biases and affects the way people teach. To start,

  • Teachers create assessments that favor students whose learning styles match that of the teacher (Murphy, 1992)
  • A compendium of research on type in education (Hammer, 1996) concludes that teacher beliefs about how students learn correlate with their own personality preferences.
  • "Who you are is how you teach" (a quote by Jane Kise, in Differentiation Through Personality Types, the source for the above points as well.)

Kim Neubauer

Mayors Commission on Literacy


Subject: [PD 6706] Re: Student views of teaching
From: JULIE MCGINTY
Date: Thu May 17 22:51:58 EDT 2012

Hello all.

Asking your learners are you getting what you needed from class today is helpful in determining if you have been an effective teacher that day.

Julie McGinty


Topic 7: Gauging Teacher Effectiveness

Subject: [PD 6601] Re: What Makes an Effective Teacher?
From: Peter and Deborah Rei
Date: Fri May 11 01:35:25 EDT 2012

Good evening fellow colleagues!

I believe we know when our teaching is effective through subjective assessments and classroom observation of the students more than formative assessments such as TABE or CASAS. When the students' behaviors become more positive, energy and engagement levels increase, and attitudes improve towards education, I've been an effective teacher and I've done my job!

Because I teach a low level ABE class in a state prison, that is students who are essentially nonreaders to fourth-grade level, one of my gauges for "effective teaching" is when I witness a student who transforms their attitude from "anti-education" to pro-education. At that moment, I feel that "effective teaching" has occurred because his attitude changed towards being more pro-literacy. I've encouraged him along the path and now, he has finally taken the bait. I also emphasize the importance of education for their children and future generations. When they are at least receptive to the idea, and they weren't before, what more could I ask for?

Another gauge for "effective teaching" is when our students get jobs that provide sustainable income for their families. When I interviewed one adult ESL teacher for my Master's study about teaching writing to English Learners, she shared that one of her students wrote a resume and letter of application and then got "the job"! What an exciting moment in our educational history!

As I stated in my earlier email, when students thrive, not just survive, then we have really done at effective job with helping them boost their academic skill level enough to achieve success in our society. According to the research, we have a very busy and overwhelming job with helping low literacy adults achieve more proficiency, in preparation for a work force that demands high literacy skills.

Deborah Rei

Adult Basic Education teacher

California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation

Sierra Conservation Center Adult School

Jamestown, California


Subject: [PD 6603] Re: What Makes an Effective Teacher?
From: David Rosen
Date: Fri May 11 09:41:21 EDT 2012

Deborah, and others,

Research with students in formal education (William and Black, Inside the Black Box and other writings) supports your hunch that formative assessments, what you describe as the "subjective assessments and classroom observation" that teachers do as part of daily teaching practice, are especially useful in knowing when students are (or aren't) learning, and whether teaching is effective.

Standardized assessments such as the TABE, CASAS, GAIN, and GED® Official Practice Test can also be helpful for identifying areas that students need to focus on, but William and Black's research shows that formative assessments don't just measure progress, they affect it, and in very positive ways, that formative assessment may be one of the best tools teachers have to increase students' learning.

Unfortunately, in adult education in the U.S. very little attention has been paid to this research.

David J. Rosen
djrosen123@gmail.com


Subject: [PD 6605] Re: What Makes an Effective Teacher?
From: Ellison, Art
Date: Fri May 11 09:59:32 EDT 2012

I doubt that there is any evidence from a refereed study but from my experience in the adult education field it is clear that many of the very best teachers come into our classrooms with backgrounds as community/union organizers.

Art Ellison, NH State Director of Adult Education


Subject: [PD 6606] Re: What Makes an Effective Teacher?
From: Susan Gaer
Date: Fri May 11 10:19:51 EDT 2012

Although I teach for a community college, I am in non-credit. This semester I am using classroom research as one measure of assessing our students. Our department is also developing consistent rubrics for all of our ESL student outcomes. For the classroom research, I decided on a research question and create a tool with the help of our psychology faculty member. Next I use the tool with students and teach a semester. At the end of the semester I use the tool again to see if improvement has been made. This semester I am doing this with two different tools, a reading assessment to see if my students' knowledge of reading strategies has increased and a survey to see if students' attitudes toward college transition have changed.

Susan Gaer

Professor of ESL

Santa Ana College School of Continuing Education


Subject: [PD 6608] Re: What Makes an Effective Teacher?
From: Marie Cora
Date: Fri May 11 10:34:47 EDT 2012

Hello all - great discussion!

Deborah, - I completely agree with you that using formative assessment is what will really move a student along - I do believe that in order to achieve that change in attitude that you describe, the student needs to see/experience/know continually how they are doing. Getting a summary once in a (great?) while on their achievements is not tangible, and more importantly, does not actively engage the students in his/her own learning along the way.
I do want to point out though, that TABE and CASAS are not formative assessments (although I have heard that some teachers have used them for these purposes but I do not quite understand that) - they are summative assessments (usually used for 'high-stakes' purposes). But we do need summative assessments; we need all THREE types of assessment in order to comprehensively tell the story: diagnostic assessment tells you where to start; formative assessment tells you how to proceed; and summative assessment tells you what to conclude.

My take on what makes an effective teacher is how they understand and use assessment (in a broad sense - not "what to test and when"). For me, effective assessment equals effective teaching.

I've pasted a couple of my assessment favorites below.

Thanks,

Marie Cora

A Primer: Diagnostic, Formative, & Summative Assessment

Richard Swearingen, Heritage University, 2002

A Basic Primer for Understanding Standardized Tests and Using Test Scores in Adventures in Assessment, Volume 16, Spring 2004. April Zenisky, Lisa Keller, Stephen G. Sireci; UMass Amherst

How to do your best on standardized tests: some suggestions for adult learners
Ronald K. Hambleton and Stephen Jirka; Center for Educational Assessment, University of Massachusetts at Amherst, 2004.

Inside the Black Box: Raising Standards Through Classroom Assessment; Paul Black and Dylan Wiliam; Kings College London School of Education, October 1998

It's Not About the Cut Score: Redesigning Placement Assessment Policy to Improve Student Success, Michael Lawrence Collins

Achieving the Dream/Jobs for the Future, July 2008; Improving Adult Literacy Instruction: Options for Practice and Research 2011 (640 pgs); National Research Council of The National Academies


Subject: [PD 6611] Re: What Makes an Effective Teacher?
From: Stephanie Moran
Date: Fri May 11 11:31:04 EDT 2012

Thanks, Marie, for these resources; as we move closer to GED 2014, becoming sharper ourselves and more focused on helping students understand assessment will become more critical. GED 2014 has removed many of the loopholes that currently allow adult educators to teach test strategies as a way of helping students pass the test even though they are not always well prepared or well skilled in actuality.

Stephanie Moran


Subject: [PD 6610] Re: What Makes an Effective Teacher?
From: Moises Morales
Date: Fri May 11 11:30:52 EDT 2012

Formative assessment tools, such as student portfolios and more specifically the reflection that goes into putting them together, is probably more conducive to learning than the tools themselves. Getting students to reflect on their learning: what they learned; why they think they learned; how they think they learned it; and how they know they have learned it, is formative.

Summative assessment is might be better used for measuring progress in a countable way.

Moisés Morales

Program Specialist

El Civics Adult Education

Pickle Elementary


Topic 8: Are Skills Same for Teachers of Distance Learning?

Subject: [PD 6604] Re: What Makes an Effective Teacher? Are the skills the same for distance learning / online instruction?
From: Kathy Olesen-Tracey
Date: Fri May 11 09:28:19 EDT 2012

Hi all,

I would like to toss out another question as it relates to effective teacher-and that is the skill set needed for distance learning instruction. What makes an effective online teacher? Are the skills the same as a traditional classroom? Are they different? What are the challenges?

Kathy Tracey


Subject: [PD 6612] Re: Distance Learning, Teaching skills the same?
From: Glenda Lynn Rose
Date: Fri May 11 11:43:42 EDT 2012

Greetings!

I teach traditional classes, synchronous Facebook classes, live video-conferencing classes, and coordinate independent study distance learning as well. I think some of the characteristics of an effective teacher remain the same: you have to know your material; you have to know your students; you have to establish a relationship with your students and so on.

However, there are of course some skill sets that a distance educator will have to have that may not be required of a traditional educator. Off the top of my head, you may not be able to "talk with your hands", use manipulatives, or demonstrate visually. Being able to communicate clearly in writing at varying instructional levels is absolutely necessary. It is sometimes difficult to put things into words at a much lower level than you are used to.

You also clearly need to be able to manage technology. You don't need a degree in IT, but you should be able to understand most of the terminology and be able to help your students with basic problems.

You also have to be invested enough and have enough time to continually follow up with students. That is probably the hardest part of the job. You don't see these people every day, so it is easy for one of them to slip through the cracks. If they don't hear from you, they will think you don't care. I have to purposefully CARE about every student.

Peace,

Glenda L. Rose, PhD

Distance Learning Coordinator

Austin Learning Academy....Teacher, Tutor and Consultant


Subject: [PD 6613] Re: What Makes an Effective Teacher? Are the skills the same for distance learning / online instruction?
From: Bonnie Odiorne
Date: Fri May 11 12:11:32 EDT 2012

I think we've spoken about this before, but it seems to me that the challenges are not that different. Online, teachers need to be present, and project being approachable and available. They need to be facilitators, helping students to weave those concepts throughout the course, and they need to give immediate feedback. They need to be able to troubleshoot when a student is having difficulty, either technological or cognitive/linguistic, and make the student feel s/he can approach teachers about issues.
Teachers also need to facilitate an online community so that students feel comfortable bringing issues to their classmates as well, or that classmates feel they can reach out and help, and not be afraid how they'd be received by other students. Above all is of course, scaffolding, alignment, rubrics and clear expectations. At least this is the anecdotal evidence that online teaching has given me.

Best, Bonnie

Bonnie Odiorne, PhD Director, Writing Center

Adjunct Professor, First Year Transitions, Online Education Institute

Post University, Waterbury, CT

Associate of Wisdom, Veriditas Certified Advanced Labyrinth Facilitator, Spiritual Director


Subject: [PD 6614] Re: ProfessionalDevelopment Digest, Vol 80, Issue 15
From: Kathy Olesen-Tracey
Date: Fri May 11 12:15:15 EDT 2012

Glenda,

I agree with everything you said, but would also suggest that teachers who provide instruction at a distance need a different type of time management skills. The idea of 24/7 learning can imply 24/7 teaching. I would venture to say that teachers need to have clear expectations of themselves (Oh, how easy it is to just log on for a few minutes to check something and you end up loosing an hour or two of your time) and expectations of student participation.

Kathy Olesen-Tracey


Subject: [PD 6624] Re: ProfessionalDevelopment Digest, Vol 80, Issue 15
From: Margo Hernandez
Date: Fri May 11 22:00:38 EDT 2012

Glenda,

It has become evident over the past few years that distance learning teachers not only need the skill set of a traditional teacher, but must be independent thinkers. Just as it holds true that not every student is capable of handling the responsibility of initiating their own instructional protocol, not all instructors have the management skill set to facilitate distance learning instruction. The challenges not only present themselves in keeping students motivated, but assessing students' progress/gains with minimal (if any) direct contact. Distance learning facilitators must be trained, not only in state policies, but as virtual team leaders in our fast-paced cyber world.

Margo Hernandez


Subject: [PD 6620] Re: What Makes an Effective Teacher? Are the skills the same for distance learning / online instruction?
From: Barb Van Horn
Date: Fri May 11 17:20:45 EDT 2012

In reading Glenda's comments, it occurred to me that it MIGHT be possible to demonstrate visually when teaching distance courses. How about including podcasts for certain topics or concepts that would be easier to understanding seeing a demonstration or seeing an instructor? Could Skype or other real-time software work in some cases?

We are providing support for some adult learners at a distance using Skype. We have not used podcasts, but I'm thinking that might be a possibility ... Anyone else exploring those possibilities? BTW, I think that a characteristic of effective teaching is being able to identify alternative methods of integrating the use of technology, especially for young adults. Of course, often young adults are more adept with technology than teachers... and this provides an interesting option of asking those students to help develop lessons using technology—good practice in organizing ideas as well as speaking or writing.

Barb Van Horn

Goodling Institute for Research in Family Literacy, Penn State


Subject: [PD 6623] Re: What Makes an Effective Teacher? Are the skills the same for distance learning / online instruction?
From: Kathy Olesen-Tracey
Date: Fri May 11 18:48:30 EDT 2012

There is an i-Pad application called Explain Everything for $2.99. It is very user friendly the short videos that have audio as well can be easily sent directly to Facebook, Twitter, or can be emailed to a student. There are tons of tools available and these videos can be saved and reused. That might fit what you are looking for.

Kathy Olesen-Tracey


Subject: [PD 6626] Re: What Makes an Effective Teacher? Are the skills the same for distance learning / online instruction?
From: Dr Patricia Duffley-Renow
Date: Sat May 12 10:37:23 EDT 2012

I recently saw a demo for blackboard collaborate and it appears to be an excellent product. Go to their website and watch the demo. Different pricing available.

Patricia Duffley-Renow, PhD


Subject: [PD 6627] Re: ProfessionalDevelopment Digest, Vol 80, Issue 18
From: Glenda Lynn Rose
Date: Sat May 12 12:18:15 EDT 2012

I actually use a lot of different kinds materials when I work with students online. I use WebEx, which allows us to share Browser content, photos, video, music, PowerPoint, draw on a whiteboard, etc. I also like WebEx because I can let students control the presentation and share these items from their computer, which is very helpful.

However, I also have students with whom I usually use Skype. In that case, I can share my screen (I have a premium subscription), but it doesn't work that well. I can use the messaging part to send links to files, or send files. We can't always look at ONE version of the object, but at least we are looking at the same thing. I also use social media such as Facebook and particularly Schoology to make sure asynchronous students have access to AV materials, not just text.

Glenda Rose


Topic 9: Teacher Effectiveness and Teacher Qualifications

Subject: [PD 6720] from Cris, Teacher effectiveness and teacher qualifications
From: Cristine Smith
Date: Fri May 18 13:40:39 EDT 2012

Cristine Smith here. I have been following the discussion on and off throughout, and it's covered a broad range of topics. One issue that I would like to weigh in on is the definition of "teacher effectiveness". I know that this discussion has centered around an understanding about what teachers need to know and be able to do in order to be "effective" teachers. It has focused largely on what the characteristics of teachers should be.

However, when I was doing the paper for CAAL on certification, I looked at lots of literature in the field of K-12 and in our field, and I discovered that, in much of that literature, "teacher effectiveness" is synonymous with "teacher quality" and is determined and defined either primarily or solely by student achievement. In other words, the definition of "teacher effectiveness" is that the teacher's student has better outcomes.
As you know, usually in K-12 that is determined by achievement on standardized tests, and we all know the limitations of that as a measure. However, at least in that literature, there is a clear distinction by some authors that "teacher effectiveness" is measured by student outcomes, and not by whether a teacher has a certain type of degree, level of experience, credential, OR meets competencies for knowledge and skills.

In the end, we still have to figure out what it is about a teacher that is related to or contributes to students reaching their goals sooner, better, more comprehensively, whether those goals are better reading or passing the GED or succeeding in college or reading to their children. But much, much research in K-12 is now indicating that we don't know what it is about teachers that contributes to student achievement and progress.

So I would caution that we shouldn't define "teacher effectiveness" solely by a certain set of competencies or a certain type of education or a certain level of experience or by anything else about the teacher him or herself, without at least acknowledging that research hasn't yet shown that achieving any particular set of competencies IS "teacher effectiveness". I believe we can't leave student achievement out of the definition of "teacher effectiveness". That said, of course it is extraordinarily difficult (not to mention contentious) to gauge student achievement or outcomes in ways that everyone agrees with, but that's no reason to say that "teacher effectiveness" can be gauged simply by teacher characteristics alone.

Cris.

Cristine Smith, Associate Professor

Center for International Education

UMass Amherst
cristine@educ.umass.edu


Part II: Introduction & Details

Subject: [PD 6630] Part II: Introduction & Details
From: Jackie Taylor
Date: Mon May 14 10:49:10 EDT 2012

Dear Colleagues,

I'm happy to introduce Mariann Fedele, our guest facilitator for this week's discussion on Part II: Introduction to the Promoting Teacher Effectiveness in Adult Education Project and Field Input on Draft Adult Education Instructor Model Competencies. Welcome Mariann! We'll hear from her shortly but before we begin, please consider the following daily topics to build our conversations.

This is not meant to limit conversation; rather to ensure that we cover the realm both in depth and in breadth. Discussions that begin on designated days should continue as long as you would like, but a new topic will be introduced each day. We can also adapt this framework during the week to accommodate our discussion needs.

  • Monday/Tuesday: Input on Draft Adult Education Instructor Model Competencies
  • Wednesday: State-based Efforts to Improve the Effectiveness of Teachers
  • Thursday: Resources and Supports Needed to Improve the Effectiveness of Teachers
  • Friday: Wrap Up & Next Steps

Don't forget, keep your subject lines specific as the dialogue evolves. For other tips on posting and setting your subscription options, visit:
http://lincs.ed.gov/pipermail/professionaldevelopment/2012/006651.html

Thanks, and now over to Mariann ~

Jackie

Jackie Taylor

Professional Development List Facilitator


Subject: [PD 6631] Re: Part II: Introduction & Details
From: Fedele-McLeod, Mariann
Date: Mon May 14 10:54:56 EDT 2012

Dear Colleagues,

First, I'd like to thank Jackie and LINCS for providing the opportunity to have this discussion. I am very pleased to be able to present information about the Promoting Teacher Effectiveness in Adult Education Project (TE Project), and even more so to hear from you! Your professional wisdom will help shape the work of the project. Much has already been shared, and the discussion has been incredibly rich.

Today, I will be sending out five messages (including this one) the first four are primarily information out and serve to introduce the project, the products we are developing, and the approach we are taking to the work. The fifth message will introduce the draft Adult Education Teacher Competencies and includes a few questions that we hope you will consider and respond to. Your feedback, suggestions and guidance throughout this discussion will be instrumental in revising the competencies and developing the work of the project.

I look forward to "speaking" with you this week.

Most sincerely,

Mariann

Mariann Fedele-McLeod

Principal Researcher

American Institutes for Research

Washington, D.C.


Subject: [PD 6632] Re: Part II: Introduction & Details
From: Erison Huruba
Date: Mon May 14 11:16:00 EDT 2012

Fedele-McLeod, Mariann

Please accept my warm welcome all the way from Zimbabwe, Southern Africa. I look forward to a fruitful discussion of this important topic.

Erison Huruba


Topic 10: TE Project Background Information

Subject: [PD 6633] Teacher Effectiveness Project: Background Information
From: Fedele-McLeod, Mariann
Date: Mon May 14 11:30:52 EDT 2012

Dear Colleagues,

I'd like to provide some background on the TE Project in this message.
The Office of Vocational and Adult Education (OVAE) at the U.S. Department of Education (ED) awarded the American Institutes for Research (AIR) the Promoting Teacher Effectiveness in Adult Education Project to help promote and support teacher effectiveness and quality in adult education. You can learn more about the project here.

The goal of the project is to improve the effectiveness of teachers and the achievement of learners in the adult education system through the development of instructor competencies, a resource toolkit and an induction model that are designed to meet the demands of the 21st Century. The graphic in exhibit 1 below gives a view of the four major products that the TE Project will be developing:

  1. the environmental scan (E-Scan), is a comprehensive review of literature that informs the development of each of the projects products. I will reference the E-Scan in subsequent emails,
  2. the competencies, we will be spending most of our discussion this week on the competencies, and my next message will provide an introduction and link to them,
  3. the toolkit, will provide resources that support implementation and use of the competencies. It will be constituted by resources and tools that describe the features of systems that support and enable effective teachers. An aspect of the discussion this week will be identifying the resources you think are needed to support implementation and use of the competencies at the classroom and program level, and
  4. the induction model, will be developed as the training model to support implementation and use of the competencies, and will form the basis of a field-test that we conduct in 2013.

Each of these products requires a great deal of development, and I would like to acknowledge the work of a few colleagues who are integral to the effort on this project:
At the American Institutes for Research: Larry Condelli and Mark Kutner serve as senior advisors on the project, Anestine Hector-Mason contributed greatly to the development and conduct of the E-Scan as well as to the competencies, and Marcela Movit contributed significantly to the E-Scan. Contributing to the development of the Toolkit at AIR are Anestine Hector-Mason, Gretchen Weber, Molly Lasagna, Claudette Rasmussen, and Catherine Green. The field test we are to conduct will be in partnership with World Education Inc and includes substantial effort by Andy Nash, Kaye Beale and Silja Kallenbach. Considerable recognition and appreciation goes to each of these exceptional colleagues.

Sincerely,

Mariann

Exhibit 1: TE Project Major Products


Topic 11: AE Competencies Development: Method and Literature

Subject: [PD 6634] AE Competencies Development: Method and Literature
From: Fedele-McLeod, Mariann
Date: Mon May 14 12:01:04 EDT 2012

Dear Colleagues,

As described in my last email, one of the main products being developed by the TE Project are Adult Education Instructor Model Competencies. This message provides a short description of the methodology for developing the draft competencies, and briefly discusses the literature on teacher effectiveness and competency that informed development.

Methodology for developing the draft model competencies:

The graphic exhibit below shows the triangulated methodology we have used in development of the draft competencies. An Environmental Scan (E-Scan) was conducted to identify relevant teacher effectiveness and teacher competency literature that would support the development of the teacher competencies. This comprehensive review of the literature informed the initial work of the project team in conceiving and drafting the competencies.

The thinking of the of the project team was itself validated and supplemented by expert advice through the project's Technical Work Group (TWG) which is constituted by subject matter experts in the field of adult education and beyond. This discussion along with the face-to-face sessions we have conducted at various national conferences is element of the overall methodology; the inclusion of professional and practitioner wisdom to both test what we have developed to date and to inform the development of new content.

Teacher Effectiveness and Competency

It must be said that there is a significant absence of literature and research pertaining to teacher effectiveness within the adult education system and program setting, therefore this discussion is very meaningful in building an understanding of teacher effectiveness in the context of adult education. Within the broader corpus of literature there is general agreement that teachers have a significant impact on the performance and achievement of students (Rice, 2003).

As Jackie noted, there is no single universally agreed upon definition of "teacher effectiveness", but it is generally understood to refer to teacher impact on student learning. Research on teacher competency is prominent in the discussion of teacher effectiveness, and there has been much attention given to the traits, behaviors, and practices of teachers that maximize student learning and achievement (references to the literature on teacher effectiveness and competency appear in the review copy of the competencies I will provide a link to later).

Teacher competency generally refers to the knowledge and skills demonstrated by teachers, Dubois (1998) provides the following definition that served as a working definition for the project, describing teacher competencies as "Those characteristics-knowledge, skills, mindsets, thought patterns, and the like-that when used whether singularly or in various combinations, result in successful performance" (p. v).

In terms of understanding teacher effectiveness in relationship to teacher competency, Anderson (2004) argues that, "effective teachers must have the knowledge and skills needed to attain the goals [they are expected to meet]...Thus, those who investigate and attempt to understand teacher effectiveness must be able to link teacher competence and performance with the accomplishment of teacher goals (that is, 'teacher effectiveness')" (p.22).

The E-Scan report developed as part of the TE Project includes an annotated bibliography of resources that is currently under review and we hope will be available for public distribution in the coming months.

References:

Anderson, L. (2004). Increasing teacher effectiveness, 2nd Ed. UNESCO, International Institute for Educational Planning. Retrieved on November 10, 2011 from http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0013/001376/137629e.pdf

Dubois, D. (Ed.) (1998). The competency casebook. Amherst, MA: HRD, & Silver Spring MD: International Society for Performance Improvement.

Rice, J. K. (2003, August). Teacher quality: Understanding the effectiveness of teacher attributes. Washington, DC: Economic Policy Institute.

Sincerely,

Mariann

Mariann Fedele-McLeod

Principal Researcher

American Institutes for Research

Washington, D.C.


Subject: [PD 6637] Re: AE Competencies Development: Method and Literature
From: Anderson, Philip
Date: Mon May 14 13:00:39 EDT 2012

Mariann,

I have a comment on the sentence below, noting that the teacher's goals are ones [they are expected to meet]. For me, the crux of the matter is who is deciding what goals the teacher is expected to meet? As a teacher, I told the ESOL students that came to my class that they were my first boss. But I learned by shocking reality checks that what the students said they needed did not align very well to the larger system of funding and testing adult education.

Phil Anderson

Florida Department of Education

Adult ESOL Program Specialist


Subject: [PD 6641] Re: AE Competencies Development: Method and Literature
From: Schwarz, Robin
Date: Mon May 14 22:57:31 EDT 2012

Phil-- as one who does a LOT of training of ESL teachers in many states, I could NOT agree more with your observation. There is a GREAT deal of talk about making sure that content and learning for adults is relevant and meaningful, but at the same time the tests used to measure their progress have nothing at all to do with personal needs or goals. I, too, find that teachers-and I by extension-are often caught between what we know is the best content for students-what they need and want-and what the funding and the tests and the program curricula demand.

Robin H. Lovrien, Ph.D.

Consultant in Adult ESOL/Learning Difficulties

Steuben, ME


Subject: [PD 6643] Re: Comments on Competencies and Moving the Field Forward
From: JULIE MCGINTY
Date: Mon May 14 23:39:04 EDT 2012

Hello to all,

The recent discussion brought up the point that what learners want/need is often not in line with the expectations of the grant guidelines. I understand that Adult Education is intended to improve the skills of people making up the workforce. However, the learners expect to gain knowledge and skills extending beyond the workplace.

Julie McGinty


Subject: [PD 6644] Re: AE Competencies Development: Method and Literature
From: Fedele-McLeod, Mariann
Date: Tue May 15 10:51:31 EDT 2012

Hi all,

Thanks to Robin, Phil and Julie for commenting.

The Anderson quote referenced in my original email tries to get at the idea that for a teacher to be considered effective there are goals that they are meeting (so that there is a basis for determining effectiveness), however the process for determining those goals could take many forms.

It sounds like a concern is the extent to which goals are determined by others (legislators, policy-makers, etc...) rather than by teachers themselves through a process of interaction with students. We hope that the competencies are a lever for best practice of determining what teachers can do to meet the learning needs of students and that you are a part of defining that.

For example, the first domain of the draft competencies is "Uses Data to Monitor and Manage Student Learning and Performance" and the set of draft competencies are intended to get to the process by which student learning needs and goals are determined, how that informs instruction, and how teachers can monitor and understand students' learning to refine practice. Do the domain and competencies get to that? If not, then what would you change in how it is written? How would the system need to support these best practices?

Domain

1. Uses Data to Monitor and Manage Student Learning and Performance
Competencies

1.1 Assesses Students Prior Knowledge, Learning Needs, and College and Career Readiness Goals

1.2 Sets Learning Goals and a Course of Study

1.3 Uses Summative and Formative Assessments to Monitor Learning

1.4 Uses Student Performance Assessments to Adapt Instruction

Regards,

Mariann


Topic 12: Structure of the Draft Model Competencies

Subject: [PD 6635] Structure of the draft model competencies

From: Fedele-McLeod, Mariann

Date: Mon May 14 12:25:53 EDT 2012

Dear Colleagues,

The Draft Adult Education Instructor Model Competencies developed by the TE Project is designed as a whole to not only identify the knowledge and skills needed by adult education instructors to succeed in meeting the goal of improving student learning and performance, but to capture the integrated nature of these skills and proficiencies. We attempt this through the development of hierarchies of performance that are organized first into broad areas of skill and knowledge (domains), and then into specific demonstrable and observable areas of performance (competencies).

Each of the individual competencies will be illuminated through a set of performance indicators that have accompanying sample illustrations. The performance indicators and sample illustrations will be developed subsequent to the period of review and comment of the competencies by adult education community (tomorrow we will be discussing the indicators and illustrations in greater depth).

Following is a brief description of each one of the hierarchical components of the competencies model.

Domains: There are four domains that represent broad areas of activity that an adult education instructor must engage in:

  1. Uses Data to Manage Student Learning and Performance,
  2. Plans and Delivers High Quality Instruction,
  3. Collaborates and Communicates Effectively, and
  4. Pursues Professionalism and Continually Builds Knowledge and Skills.

The domains set the context of activity that teachers engage in, and the competencies describe specific performance within respective domains. The four domains are intended to be interdependent and integrated in relation to each other. Two of the domains, Collaborates and Communicates Effectively and Pursues Professionalism and Continually Builds Knowledge and Skills describe areas in which teachers must have specific skills and knowledge.

However, they should also be understood as enabling teacher performance in the other two domains (Plans and Delivers High Quality Instruction and Uses Data to Manage Student Learning and Performance), which describe areas that are at the core of teacher performance and interaction with students.

Competencies: There are 20 individual competencies that articulate the knowledge, skills, and abilities that an adult education instructor should possess to be effective within each domain. These sets of competencies are themselves designed to be highly integrated and interdependent, to the extent that proficiency in one competency demands proficiency in all other competencies associated with that domain. The competencies are not ordered to represent a sequence of activities, but they should be understood to be a set of inter-related skills, abilities, and knowledge that are manifested in the instructional or program setting and that can be demonstrated and observed.

Performance Indicators: Each individual competency will have a set of Indicators that articulate what performance of that competency looks like in an adult education program context. The indicators will be developed after the period of field comment and input on the domains and competencies.

Sample Illustration: Each performance indicator will be accompanied by a sample illustration that provides an example in practice of the indicator in different specific adult education settings (such as in a multi-level ESL classroom, a basic literacy classroom for native English Speakers, or in a Post-Secondary Prep Math classroom, etc..). Like the performance indicators, the sample illustrations will be developed after the period of field comment and input on the domains and competencies.

In the current draft each competency is accompanied by a description and a rationale for inclusion drawn from the E-Scan. Your comments this week will be used to help revise the competencies, and in the next draft each competency will include performance indicators and sample illustrations (tomorrow we will further discuss the indicators and illustrations and seek your thoughts and ideas about them).

This overall structure is similar to that of the PRONET competencies (developed by AIR in 1999 originally), which you may already be familiar with. In my next message I will provide a link to the draft competencies for your review and pose some questions for your consideration and comment.

Sincerely,

Mariann

Mariann Fedele-McLeod

Principal Researcher

American Institutes for Research

Washington, D.C.


Topic 13: Competencies for Review and Comment

Subject: [PD 6636] Competencies for review and comment
From: Fedele-McLeod, Mariann
Date: Mon May 14 13:32:23 EDT 2012

Dear Colleagues,

The draft model competencies are intended to promote positive student outcomes in a highly demanding world, so as you review the draft, consider them in light of student needs. They are written to be performance-oriented, demonstrable, and observable.

Each competency (beginning on pg. 4) is followed by a description and a rationale derived from the E-Scan. They are intended to describe the skills and knowledge that adult education instructors across program and subject areas (ABE, GED, ESL, post-secondary bridge programming, etc.) should possess in order to meet the high stakes demands of their students.

Ultimately, the model competencies will be available for states and programs to voluntarily adopt. Your comments this week will help us revise the competencies so that they are as useful to you as possible. You can view the draft here.

Please tell us:

  • Does each competency accurately describe an essential skill an adult education instructor should possess and that can be demonstrated in practice?
  • For any competencies that you think either don't describe an essential skill or cannot be demonstrated how would you revise it to better capture the specific skill a instructor needs to meet student individual learning needs in a way that is observable?
  • Are there any essential skills and knowledge that an adult education instructor must be able to perform that are not included in the draft competencies? How can they be written as a competency? What is your rationale for including this competency?

I thank you in advance for considering these questions and responding!

Sincerely,

Mariann

Mariann Fedele-McLeod

Principal Researcher

American Institutes for Research

Washington, D.C


Subject: [PD 6638] Response to the Draft Adult Education Instructor Competencies for Field Review and Comment
From: Kate Brandt
Date: Friday, May 11, 2012 11:03 AM

I am writing in response to the Draft Adult Education Instructor Competencies for Field Review and Comment. I have served as a professional development coordinator at the City University of New York (CUNY) Adult Literacy/GED Program for more than ten years. In this role, I have delivered professional development in a wide variety of forms: workshops, seminars, conferences, on- on-one mentoring, and resources such as curricula, websites, and rubrics. The professional development I've been able to provide has benefited from resources such as academic journals, teacher-written books, my own teaching, and most of all, the collaboration of my CUNY colleagues who are experts in the adult education field.

In spite of all the resources I've been able to draw upon, I've found that the professional development I've provided has had uneven effect. I believe this is not because of flaws in resources or methods I've used, but because of the marginalization of adult education teachers.

In New York City most adult education teachers are underpaid, do not receive benefits, and are not paid for prep time. There are few full-time jobs, so most teachers must teach classes at several different sites to pull together a salary. To effectively teach adults in a city like New York, instructors must know how to address the learning needs of a very diverse group-high school dropouts; immigrants from countries all over the world; and older adults who may be returning to school after quite some time. I would argue that effective adult educators must possess far more knowledge and expertise than K-12 teachers, and yet the salaries are shamefully low and there is little or no paid staff development.

The Draft Instructor Competencies identify important elements of teacher expertise for the adult education field, although I do have reservations about several of them.

  • Competency 2.6 calls for the design of learning units that include basic computer functions. It is not possible for teachers to provide computer instruction without computer labs. Many adult literacy programs in New York City do not have these.
  • Competency 3.4 states that instructors should "set high standards for learning." I believe it is important to add "appropriate to the level of the student" to this. High standards for learning will vary greatly depending upon a particular students' development as a reader, writer and speaker.
  • Competency 3.5 - "Provides ongoing advice related to career and college goals." It seems important to recognize that counselors are needed to fully support this purpose. Again, many programs do not have counselors.
  • Competency 4.1 "Engages in Independent and Collaborative Professional Development." All competent teachers must stay abreast of current trends in education and pedagogy, but they should also be paid to do so.

The tools described in the Teacher Effectiveness Project will be useful, but unless there is ongoing professional development for adult education instructors who are reimbursed for their time, these tools can only have very limited effect.

Kate Brandt

Professional Development Coordinator

City University of New York

Adult Literacy/GED Program


Subject: [PD 6639] Re: Response to the Draft Adult Education Instructor Competencies for Field Review and Comment
From: Fedele-McLeod, Mariann
Date: Mon May 14 15:48:33 EDT 2012

Hi Kate,

I hope you and all of the CUNY team are well. I got my start as an ESL and GED teacher in NYC, and know well of the challenging conditions that adult education instructors face there and in many places. You may recall me from my years providing PD at the LAC in NY.

In fact working conditions are a concern of the project.

One of our tasks is to create a resource toolkit that support implementation and use of the competencies, and a little later in the week I am going to ask the question of what type of supports are needed at the program and classroom level for the competencies to be used. I hope you (and others) will consider addressing that question.

In the meantime, thank you for your thoughtful response. The level of specificity your provide, especially to competency 3.4, will be very useful to the process of revising the document.

I look forward to hearing others' comments on the competencies also. Please be encouraged to download, print and share the draft competencies with your program-based colleagues. Writing back with collective or program-based responses would be quite welcome. Since providing a response requires the review of the document, please feel free to send your responses throughout the week.

Sincerely,

Mariann


Subject: [PD 6640] Comments on Competencies and Moving the Field Forward
From: Jackie Taylor
Date: Mon May 14 17:13:04 EDT 2012

Hi Everyone,

Thanks to Kate for being the first to post her observations on the draft competencies. Yes, please download them, read and post your comments or your program's feedback this week. Also feel free to discuss them with one another here on the PD List. Through discussion we may also get the ideas flowing.

Competencies are one system feature, if you will, that supports the effectiveness of teachers. But as Mariann noted, it is not the end-all be-all; rather, it is one of several system features needed to do that. Improved working conditions may be another system feature. It will be interesting to see, through this discussion, initiatives that are happening elsewhere to support the effectiveness of teachers and move the field of adult education from the margins to the mainstream.

Looking forward to your feedback,

Jackie

Jackie Taylor

Professional Development List Facilitator


Subject: [PD 6654] Re: AE Competencies Development: Method and Literature
From: Piracha, Janet
Date: Tue May 15 15:16:04 EDT 2012

A couple of more thoughts...

1.2 Sets learning goals and a course of study.

Teacher "sets learning goals" is misleading. The learner communicates ("sets") his/her learning goals and the teacher facilitates the process of achieving and extending adult learner goals by developing a responsive course of study.

Suggestion: 1.2 Develops a responsive course of study aligned with learners' goals.
(Prerequisite of 2.2 Designs learning Units to meet Adult Learners' Goals.)

3.4 Conveys "High expectations" of Leaners and Motivates Learners to meet those expectations.

"High" expectations seems to be an emotionally charged description, not measurable
Suggestion: 3.4 Motivates students to become life-long learners by explicitly teaching learning and self-monitoring strategies and extending their leaner goals.

3.5 Provides advice and referral to support students' learning, college and career goals.
Many teachers cannot take on the added role of counselor, providing referrals, and time to counsel students one-one.

Suggestion: 3.5 Integrates and explicitly teaches college and career readiness skills into the classroom curriculum and instructional practices for all levels of ability.
Agree that "advising" would be implicit and embedded in the curriculum

Janet

Janet Piracha

NE SABES

Asst. Director/Curriculum and Assessment Coordinator

Northern Essex Community College

Riverwalk Campus

Lawrence, MA


Topic 14: Domain 1--Uses Data to Monitor and Manage Student Learning and Performance

Subject: [PD 6644] Re: AE Competencies Development: Method and Literature
From: Fedele-McLeod, Mariann
Date: Tue May 15 10:51:31 EDT 2012

Hi all,

Thanks to Robin, Phil and Julie for commenting.
The Anderson quote referenced in my original email tries to get at the idea that for a teacher to be considered effective there are goals that they are meeting (so that there is a basis for determining effectiveness), however the process for determining those goals could take many forms.

It sounds like a concern is the extent to which goals are determined by others (legislators, policy-makers, etc...) rather than by teachers themselves through a process of interaction with students. We hope that the competencies are a lever for best practice of determining what teachers can do to meet the learning needs of students and that you are a part of defining that.

For example, the first domain of the draft competencies is "Uses Data to Monitor and Manage Student Learning and Performance" and the set of draft competencies are intended to get to the process by which student learning needs and goals are determined, how that informs instruction, and how teachers can monitor and understand students' learning to refine practice. Do the domain and competencies get to that? If not, what would you change in how it is written? How would the system need to support these best practices?

Domain

1. Uses Data to Monitor and Manage Student Learning and Performance
Competencies
1.1 Assesses Students Prior Knowledge, Learning Needs, and College and Career Readiness Goals

1.2 Sets Learning Goals and a Course of Study

1.3 Uses Summative and Formative Assessments to Monitor Learning

1.4 Uses Student Performance Assessments to Adapt Instruction

Regards,

Mariann


Subject: [PD 6645] Re: AE Competencies Development: Method and Literature
From: David Rosen
Date: Tue May 15 11:24:43 EDT 2012

Hi Mariann and others,

This domain and the competencies make sense to me. The challenge, however, is at a lower level of specificity and how to translate the domain into teacher and program reality.
For example:

  • Program A uses integrated learning systems that provide data (reports on students learning objectives and competencies tried and attained.) For this program, at least some of the formative assessments and the data are there, ready to be used as is or (ideally) selectively used or adapted or supplemented.
  • Program B has no data, but has some experienced teachers who have learned how to closely observe students and who keep written (or in some cases memorized) records of their progress. It also has some teachers who are not so skilled.
  • Program C uses summative assessments (e.g. the GED Exam) and some formative assessments (end-of-unit quizzes in the commercial instructional materials, some teacher-made quizzes, and the GED Official Practice Test).

Perhaps you have this already, but if not, having case study examples of how the competencies might be evidenced in a range of typical contexts would be useful. What would be especially useful is for each domain (and each competency) and each context having a video of what it looks like in practice.

David

David J. Rosen
djrosen123@gmail.com


Subject: [PD 6650] Re: AE Competencies Development: Method and Literature
From: Fedele-McLeod, Mariann
Date: Tue May 15 13:38:48 EDT 2012

Hi David and all,

I just sent a post about the plans for creating performance indicators (items that describe demonstration of a competency) and illustration that provide an example of the competency in action in a specific setting. This wouldn't constitute a case study, but would provide illumination and elaboration.

It sounds like a question is, "What are the implications of the competencies on program practices and standards?" I would pose this to the list. If the competencies accurately describe best practice for teachers what program-based supports are needed for teachers to do this effectively?

Last week a number of you shared your thoughts about what made teachers effective, and assessment practice did emerge. In relationship to the competencies can you provide examples of practice that are specific to your own teaching context?

Regards, Mariann


Subject: [PD 6648] Re: AE Competencies Development: Method and Literature
From: Melinda Hefner
Date: Tue May 15 13:18:39 EDT 2012

Just a couple of thoughts or revisions for consideration...

1.1 Assesses students' prior knowledge, experience, and expectations; learning styles and preferences; learning needs; and academic, personal, college, and career readiness goals.

1.2 Establishes learning goals and a course of study and as necessary.

1.3 Uses formative and summative assessments to evaluate student learning.

1.4 Uses student learning outcome assessments to plan and modify instruction.

Melinda M. Hefner

Director, Literacy Support Services

Basic Skills Department

Caldwell Community College and Technical Institute

Hudson, NC


Topic 15: Examples of the Competencies in Action

Subject: [PD 6646] Examples of competencies in action
From: Fedele-McLeod, Mariann
Date: Tue May 15 12:09:29 EDT 2012

Hi all,

The ongoing development of the competencies will include the creation of performance indicators and sample illustrations. Like the competencies the performance indicators will be generalizable across program and subject areas (ABE, ESL, GED, post-secondary bridge) and demonstrate the competency in a action. The sample illustrations are intended to show the competency enacted in a specific context. The following exhibit shows an example of performance indicators and sample illustrations written for competency 2.2.

Sample Illustration (see page 3: http://www.teproject.org/docs/draft-competencies.pdf):
2. Plans and Delivers High Quality Instruction

  • 2.2 Uses Instructional Techniques Appropriate to Adult Learners
  • 2.2.1 Engages students actively in their own learning process.
  • 2.2.1 Sample: An ABE math instructor gives students tracing paper which they use to compare the angles formed when a transversal crosses a pair of parallel angles. After making comparisons, the students share their observations and develop a general rule that will be true for all angles formed in these instances.
  • 2.2.2 Varies instructional activities to address a range of learning goals, including improved conceptual understanding, "habits of mind", and skill development.
  • 2.2.2 Sample: A GED instructor moves students through a series of activities that emphasize different ways of engaging with a new text. Students practice annotating the reading with questions and comments, define new vocabulary, summarize and paraphrase, discuss the reading in groups, and present discussion points to the whole class.
  • 2.2.3 Organizes student groupings and the physical classroom environment to support the learning objectives of a particular task or activity.
  • 2.2.3 Sample: In a multi level ESOL classroom, the instructor develops a co-operative learning activity to teach new vocabulary. The co operative activity has students working in small multi-level groups to develop communication and co-operation skills.
  • 2.2.4 Connects instruction to real-world contexts that show understanding of students' everyday lives, and their college and/or career interests.
  • 2.2.4 Sample: An ABE unit on U.S. history draws on population figures from the U.S. Census, and the instructor connects this to modern uses and debates around the Census. The instructor and students clarify the difference between a survey and a census, and do basic analysis of data contained in census tracts where students live.

In the discussion last week many of you shared your view of the practices that make teachers effective. Do you think the competencies capture the performance of an effective teacher? If not what would you change or add?

Can you provide an example from you own practice that would serve as an illustration of the competency in action, or do you see the example of what you already shared as reflecting one of the competencies and if so which?

Since much of the discussion last week focused on the main responsibility of a teacher; providing instruction. Perhaps we can start with a focus on Domain 2: Plans and Delivers High Quality Instruction, here is the pull-out from the competencies document:
2. Plans and Delivers High Quality Instruction

  • 2.1 Designs Learning Environments Appropriate to Adult Learners
  • 2.2 Designs Learning Units to Meet Adult Learners' Goals
  • 2.3 Uses Instructional Techniques Appropriate to Adult Learners
  • 2.4 Uses Differentiated Instructional Methods to Address Different Learning Needs
  • 2.5 Targets the Instruction of Specific Skills and Content to Address Learner Difficulties
  • 2.6 Integrates Information and Communication Technologies into Instruction
  • 2.7 Integrates higher order thinking, communication and problem-solving skills in to instruction

Regards, Mariann

Mariann Fedele-McLeod

Principal Researcher

American Institutes for Research

Washington, D.C.


Subject: [PD 6647] Re: Examples of competencies in action
From: Jackie Taylor
Date: Tue May 15 12:42:41 EDT 2012

Hi Mariann,

I like that idea; it gives us an opportunity to share lessons and activities with each other that have worked well. So to recap the questions:

  • Do you think the competencies capture the performance of an effective teacher? If not what would you change or add?
  • What's an example from your own practice that would illustrate a competency in action? (For ex, see Domain 2: Plans and Delivers High Quality Instruction: http://www.teproject.org/docs/draft-competencies.pdf)

As David and others mentioned on Friday, it will be important to look at effective teaching-and capture examples-in teaching different subject areas at various levels and in different settings.

Who would like to get us started?

Looking forward ... Jackie

Jackie Taylor

PD List Facilitator


Subject: [PD 6649] Effective teacher competencies
From: Horton, Coral
Date: Tue May 15 13:29:26 EDT 2012

Is it expected that teachers instructing in an ESOL program would have or need the same skills as those in an open lab GED program?

Coral Horton


Subject: [PD 6651] Re: Effective teacher competencies
From: Fedele-McLeod, Mariann
Date: Tue May 15 14:09:52 EDT 2012

Hi Coral,

The mandate in creating the competencies is to describe the skills, knowledge and abilities that adult basic education instructors in all program areas should have. While GED and ESOL teachers would need different skill sets, we are looking for those skills that would be shared.

So in considering the competencies themselves a question is what is essential to the teaching of adults, and what are the core skills and abilities that all teachers of adults need? The demonstration of those skills would look different in different settings, and the sample illustrations will be essential to articulating that. One of the challenges is the multitude of different context in which adult education takes place.

One of the questions I will ask later in the week is about efforts taking place in states and local programs that is of a similar nature to the development of these competencies (for example the development of teaching and/or learning standards, program standards, learner competencies, etc…), and how this effort can work in compliment to other efforts.
For reference, one of the documents we looked at in the development of the draft were the TESOL Standards for Adult Education ESL Programs: Standards for Instruction. The TESOL standards provide (as would be expected) a guide highly specified to adult ESOL instruction.

Regards,

Mariann


Subject: [PD 6652] Re: Effective teacher competencies
From: Susan Gaer
Date: Tue May 15 14:25:48 EDT 2012

I think it should be expected that teachers instructing in an ESOL program would have the same expectations of success as a teacher in GED or ABE. I know it is scary to think of using competencies as a means for whether we are effective or not, but ultimately, in order to legitimize and develop our field among like professionals, we need basic learning outcomes and teacher based competencies.

What constitute success would vary depending on your program. For a beginning ESOL teacher, having a student learn how to sign their name or read and identify food items in the supermarket would be a success. However, at the intermediate levels of ESOL, you might want the students to be able to write a paragraph about comparison shopping.

The teacher competencies don't change, just the content for instruction. Effective teaching techniques that I use in my ESOL class are also techniques that I use in my ABE/ASE class. That is what I think. I look forward to reviewing Marianne's research. It is an awful lot for the end of the semester. Hopefully I will get to it during summer vacation.

Susan Gaer

Google Certified Teacher

Professor ESL, Basic Skills and Instructional Technology Coordinator 2010-2011

Santa Ana College School of Continuing Education


Subject: [PD 6653] Re: Effective teacher competencies
From: Stephanie Moran
Date: Tue May 15 15:09:59 EDT 2012

Good points, Susan-good teaching is (often) good teaching across the spectrum, and rather than challenge the competencies, let's offer our expertise to AIR refine them so that adult educators can meet them-if not embrace them.

To that end, for 1.1, "Assesses students' prior knowledge, learning needs, and college and career readiness goals," the description might be modified to include (in red): "With the help of support staff and appropriate assessment, the adult education instructor is able to identify and assess learners' prior knowledge…etc".

Stephanie Moran


Subject: [PD 6655] Practice Related to 2.6 Competency
From: Stephanie Moran
Date: Tue May 15 15:32:29 EDT 2012

If I might, let me share one practice specific to the competencies. It takes time, doesn't it, for us to translate what many of us do automatically into the competency that our activity reflects-yet this is what is helpful to all of us on the ground.

2.6, "Integrates Information and Communication Technologies into instruction":
I'm fairly low-tech, so as part of my PD last year, I attended a tech conference in New Mexico. Some of the equipment was not appropriate to AE, but the document camera was; this is an apparatus similar to the old opaque projectors but trim and streamlined with a few useful bells and whistles for zooming in and out, etc.

The document camera is used with an LCD projector as the poor man's/adult educator's version of a 21st century whiteboard system. In our age of copyright laws, it's wonderful because a roomful of students can now explore a single copy of a poem or written piece or one colored plate of a painting in a book without making multiple copies. The document camera can be plugged into a laptop and everyone can see and listen to the same You Tube video/instructional video.

1. I now use my doc camera (Lumens-Elmo is also popular, a bit pricier)
DAILY. Last week, after students had worked on essays for 3-4 days and revised them on the computers, we put each one under the doc camera to analyze-we were able to see all of the critical elements, from responding to the prompt, having an interesting opening strategy, vocabulary, depth of support-and every student had many valuable points as a writer and a participant, and everyone saw the points for themselves.
It was win-win-win-we laughed a great deal as we went through the essays, and they saw success in action. Of course, we had many teachable moments as we found typos (discussing reading out loud to catch) and proper apostrophe placement/rule application-error correction was not tedious but fun because the intellectual hive was at work, not the teacher.

2. After the Super Bowl, I taught a short unit on advertising. I had heard about Clint Eastwood's "ad" but hadn't seen it, so I watched it. It fit perfectly with the material we read on the pro's and con's of advertising-some of the classic arguments are now 50 years old-and we all watched it via the document camera and my single laptop-rather than having to schlep into the computer lab, turn on the computers, wait, etc.

3. I had a letter to the editor printed this past Sunday in our local paper.
I believe it's important for writing teachers to write themselves and publish in some format wherever possible, and we read my letter. They got to see a mini essay that was thorough and concise (350 word limit) and they saw their teacher voicing her opinion about a subject of importance-modeling both writing and civic duty.

The possibilities are almost endless for teaching, learning, creating a community of learners that is comfortable sharing as writers-and you know how tough that can be.
I would love to hear how you all use one of the competencies.

Stephanie

Stephanie Moran

GED Program Coordinator

Durango Adult Education Center

Durango, CO


Subject: [PD 6658] Re: Examples of competencies in action
From: Lisa Mullins
Date: Tue May 15 16:14:38 EDT 2012

In my opinion, the American Institutes for Research has organized a good description of how to show teacher effectiveness and quality performance of adult educators. The structure of the competencies cover areas all adult education instructors (ESL, ABE, GED, Literacy, workplace, corrections, etc.) should be able to demonstrate.

This draft describes core skills and areas we should all be covering regardless of our area of teaching at this point. Adult Education needs this to bring us to forward in the education arena and to bring high quality, effective teaching to the programs and field. I applaud this effort.

I want to provide a simple example of how I would use the competencies to help me be more effective. For example, today I taught two classes. The morning class was a multi-level ABE/GED class. We have open enrollment, so it was the first day of class for some. Some of today’s students have been working toward their GED for several weeks. A few are retesting students. These few have taken the GED and failed one or more areas. They are in my class to learn more so they can retest soon and pass.

Let's look at Domain 2: Plans and Delivers High Quality Instruction.
Competency 2.3 Uses Instructional Techniques Appropriate to Adult Learners.
Performance indicators: 2.3.1 Engages students actively in their own learning process.
I have the scores from the enrollment TABE. I know that each student has a low score in math. I know that some of the students need to refresh in computation and comparisons of fractions, decimals, and percent's. My high level students know these skills, but they want to review constantly for the GED exam.

My plan is to have the students create, compare, connect, and compute fractions, decimals, and percent's. I want them to work in groups, but share what and how they learned. I write up a lesson plan in which I will do a set-having the students tell me what they know about this subject and what they can do. I have them give me one example of how fractions, decimals, and percent's are connected.

Then, I teach how to create fractions-a fraction of a dollar. I make the connections to decimals of a dollar. Then, I show them the percent of a dollar. I ask them to form groups. I suggest that one of the upper level students join each group and I put a new student in each group. Their task is to create a fraction, decimal, and percent representation of different units.

Group one: inches in a yard, Group two: minutes in an hour, Group three: days in a year. When this is complete, I ask the groups to give me an example of how they created a fraction, decimal, and percent. Then, we relate the size of each one of their examples. I ask for one bigger, smaller, and equal from each group. Then, we discuss the relationship of fractions, decimals, and percents. I also ask how this knowledge/skill can help you on the test.

I can determine the effectiveness of this lesson with assessments of various types: TABE, OPT, teacher made, rubrics, textbook tests, reviews, etc.

I used the domain, competency, and performance indicator to guide my lesson and it could easily be determined to what extent I demonstrated the competency description. It took very little time and resources to plan this lesson. I can change it, improve it, and make it useful in many classes to come.

I look forward to other examples and feedback on this topic.

Thanks,

Lisa Mullins

Hawkins County Adult Education

Rogersville, Tennessee


Subject: [PD 6659] Re: Examples of competencies in action

From: Brett Taylor
Date: Tue May 15 16:21:25 EDT 2012

I know you guys all mean well, and all, but to me, a good person who cares, and gets enough training to know what they are doing will make a good teacher, period.
I realize administrators think differently and try and quantify 'effectiveness' but to me, from my vantage point and experience it's just a lot simpler.

Brett Taylor

Rock Hill Adult Education-Flex Center

South Carolina Adult Education

RAETAC Region V Training Specialist


Subject: [PD 6660] Re: Examples of competencies in action
From: Susan Reid
Date: Tue May 15 16:37:29 EDT 2012

Good morning everyone,

This is a very interesting discussion and provides much food for thought In New Zealand we have developed a range of qualifications for adult literacy practitioners and having been part of some of those discussions I wondered if there is something missing from this domain.

I realise that Domain 4 Pursues Professionalism and Continually Builds Knowledge and Skills focuses covers refining professional practice. However I wonder if Domain 2 should explicitly cover some sort of instructor review as part of planning and delivery to provide some of the data that is referred to in Domain 4.

When we were developing our competencies in New Zealand there was often a tension about clumping aspects into like areas (Domain 4) or stating things in a linear fashion as they tend to occur ( Domain 2) and in the end in New Zealand we ended up taking a belts and braces approach.

Kind regards

Susan Reid

Consulting Services Manager

Workbase: The New Zealand Centre for Workforce Literacy Development


Subject: [PD 6661] Re: Examples of competencies in action
From: Stephanie Moran
Date: Tue May 15 16:54:21 EDT 2012

"Belts and braces"? I believe that "braces" may refer to what we in the US call suspenders but I might be wrong-at any rate, Susan, could you translate this idiomatic expression for us as it applies to your point about developing your competencies framework?

Thanks, Stephanie Moran


Subject: [PD 6664] Re: Examples of competencies in action
From: Susan Reid
Date: Tue May 15 18:10:49 EDT 2012

My apologies Stephanie

I forget about the idiomatic divide-yes you are right braces are what you in the US would call suspenders that hold men's trousers up-what I meant was we did both things-used a belt approach and at times a suspender approach as well that is added the competency statement both where it naturally occurred in terms of teaching as well as in another competency. And just to check in New Zealand we describe competencies as outcome statements which I think is very similar to how you are using the term.

Here are some examples of the specific focus on evaluation

  • Evaluate effectiveness of adult literacy and numeracy teaching strategies and learning activities and any specialist adult literacy support in the training or education programme.
  • Range evaluation includes collaboration with learners and candidate's supervisor.
  • Changes made during the programme are identified as potential improvements for future programmes.
  • Evaluation includes critical reflection on the effectiveness of the teaching strategies and learning activities used.
  • Evaluation confirms effectiveness of assessment methods.
  • Evaluation includes critical reflection on the management of the delivery.
  • Information from evaluation informs planning for candidate professional development and learner literacy and numeracy skill development.

Including evaluation as it naturally occurs in planning-there were similar examples in design competencies:

  • Plan teaching and learning modules to meet outcomes of a literacy and numeracy programme.
  • Rationale for scope and sequence of modules is explained in relation to learning context and learners.
  • Plan includes a rationale for programme components.
  • Range programme components include but are not limited to-delivery options, resources, formative assessment, summative assessment, review, evaluation
  • .

  • The selection of differentiated teaching and learning activities are justified in terms of individual learner and group needs.
  • Range evidence of two activities.
  • Process for evaluation of programme and use of evaluation outcomes to improve programme are described.

Kind regards,

Susan Reid

Consulting Services Manager

Workbase: The New Zealand Centre for Workforce Literacy Development


Subject: [PD 6670] Re: Examples of competencies in action
From: Kimberly A. Johnson
Date: Wed May 16 10:45:52 EDT 2012

A comment about 2.1 Designs Learning Environments Appropriate to Adult Learners ...
I like this competency, but I think it is about more than being "appealing" and "organized" -it is also about accessibility for learners with various challenges and needs.

An example: ABE Disabilities Specialist colleagues here in MN (http://manual.abedisabilities.org/) were asked by an ESOL teacher to assist her with meeting the needs of a couple of her students with learning challenges, including brain injury. Among other things, they rearranged the physical space in her classroom guided by principles of Universal Design for Learning. One change they made was to de-clutter the walls/space to prevent learners from being over-stimulated and distracted. The teacher has reported a remarkable difference in the classroom climate-for all learners-as a result of the physical changes alone.

I realize, of course, that not every teacher has their own classroom or the freedom to make changes in the physical space, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't aim high.

Kim Johnson

ATLAS/Hamline University

St Paul, MN
www.atlasABE.org


Topic 16: About Competencies

Subject: [PD 6656] about competencies
From: Isserlis, Janet
Date: Tue May 15 15:36:27 EDT 2012

All

Having scanned many of the posts it's possible that I've missed critical comments, but I'm wondering if many others struggle with the tensions of trying to articulate good practice with the delineation of competencies, as such?

I've been part of an ongoing process in my state - and many others have also worked on this very thorny set of questions - that is, trying to develop practitioner standards.
At the end of all the to-ing and fro-ing, how/do we finally articulate what counts and remain accountable to learners, colleagues and funders in meaningful ways?

In the same ways that standardized assessments can't always capture what counts, I worry about ticking off "accomplished" competencies while knowing in my bones that we all have good days and bad days, that we strive daily to work better and be present and responsive to learners' needs and strengths, that we learn to learn from and with one another.
The competencies may or may not guide our work, but without our own presence to learning and attentiveness to the ongoing shifts in learners' understandings, it really doesn't matter what we say about it all.

Thoughts?

Janet Isserlis


Subject: [PD 6662] Re: about competencies + feedback on draft
From: Sandi Phinney York
Date: Tue May 15 17:02:23 EDT 2012

Hi Janet -

I am with you. I have struggled with the concept of competencies vs. skills for a few years. In the framework of student instruction (and not teacher effectiveness, which we are talking about here), I find competencies difficult to work with because they feel like an unwieldy "checklist" that it's hard to organize instruction around (take a look at the CASAS competencies as an example). Washington State has developed a set ESL and ABE standards that are very much skills-based, and I find it much easier to organize instruction around skills development in the language domain as opposed to specific competencies.

Translating this issue into practitioner effectiveness, I find a similar difficulty of competencies v. standards. I find the 4 domains very useful and akin to general "standards"-a good guide as to the overarching skills teachers should possess. I am happy to say that I found AIR's draft competencies quite skills-based, and I do think they accurately reflect important instructor skills. However, I feel that 20 is still a pretty long list to keep in mind easily when thinking about instruction. When you consider that each competency will have multiple performance indicators, then it becomes fairly overwhelming. (I'm still a fairly new teacher, so perhaps I get overwhelmed more easily).
My suggestion would be to combine competencies that are very closely related. That would not only reduce the number of competencies, but also convey the interconnectedness of certain skills or actions. For example, competencies 1.1 and 1.2 could be combined to read: "assess students' prior knowledge, learning needs, and career and learning goals to create a course of study." Assessing students' knowledge and goals and using them to create a course of study are symbiotic. Similarly, 2.3, 2.4, and 2.5 could be combined because they all deal with using different instructional techniques appropriate to the situation. And that's just two examples.

Last, I would suggest that there be a single page at the beginning that lists the domains and competencies so that anyone can just glance at it and get a good overview. It is difficult to read and process a 16 page document and fully grasp the interconnectedness of the domains and competencies.

That said, I think it's a great draft and a potentially very useful guide to improving teacher effectiveness.

Thanks -

Sandi

Sandi York

ESL Instructor

Skagit County Community Action Agency


Subject: [PD 6680] Re: Competencies in Online Course Design
From: Kris Witte
Date: Wed May 16 14:36:20 EDT 2012

Hi Sandi and all,

I agree that competencies/standards are the glue that result in teacher effectiveness. Sandy commented: "My suggestion would be to combine competencies that are very closely related. That would not only reduce the number of competencies, but also convey the interconnectedness of certain skills or actions."

In my experience taking my graduate certificate program in online teaching and learning, the "interconnectedness of skills and knowledge" of an effective teacher can be clarified by rubrics such as the Quality Matters Rubric: http://www.qmprogram.org/files/QM_Standards_2011-2013.pdf.
The rubric describes the "alignment of critical course components that work together to ensure that students achieve the desired learning outcomes. Critical course components include: course objectives, learner interactions and activities, resources, materials, and technology, and assessment and measurement."

Kris Witte

Public Services Alliance

Las Cruces, NM


Subject: [PD 6663] Re: about competencies
From: Kimberly A. Johnson
Date: Tue May 15 17:45:44 EDT 2012

Another well-articulated and thought-provoking post from Janet...

I think Janice has hit on a tension that lots of us sense. As I read through the competencies I think about that critical yet difficult to articulate "art" of teaching-the constant learning and growing that we do as teachers, the resourcefulness to respond to different learners and changing contexts, the adjustment and adaption necessary with working conditions that do not always honor or value the hard work, the caring so fundamental to building the relationships that make differences in students' lives.
Still, I think there is a place for competencies just as K-12 licenses are guided by standards of effective practice. The domains read like standards to me, and I believe these can be helpful to guide teachers' own development or for administrators when hiring, supervising, or identifying appropriate or needed PD (n addition to increasing the professionalism of the field).

As I've read through the document, I've also struggled with the kinds of things that makes us different from K-12-the many different contexts in which we teach and the wide range of institutional "homes" across states (some in Depts of Ed, some in college systems, some in Depts of Labor, etc.). Some states already have something in place for Adult Education; some do not. As long as the competencies serve as a guide rather than a mandate, I think it is worth doing.

Like others, I am swamped with work but will try to find some time to respond specifically to the draft.

Kim Johnson

ATLAS/Hamline University

St Paul, MN
www.atlasABE.org


Subject: [PD 6665] Reflective Questions about the art of AE Teaching and Professional Development Plans
From: Stephanie Moran
Date: Tue May 15 18:22:48 EDT 2012

Very well articulated, especially how and why we might want to differentiate some competencies or performance indicators from K-12. The fact that AE is all over the board in this country makes this work that much more complicated. Many times, the work going on here this week is proposed as a method for strengthening adult education's position in the educational hierarchy, but I have yet (here in Colorado) to see that all of the "professionalizing" we are being made to do has made a difference in getting the attention of state officials or President Obama, whose SOTU speech did not mention adult education-but then again, I've only been in AE in this state for 12 years..

Stephanie Moran


Subject: [PD 6671] Re: about competencies
From: Fedele-McLeod, Mariann
Date: Wed May 16 10:52:27 EDT 2012

Hi Kim and all,

Kim, you very artfully articulate something that research efforts attempt to quantify...the art of effective teaching. There is a strong body evidence that teachers have an impact on student performance and achievement (those of us who are or have been teachers knew this), and a good deal is written and known about what specific skills, knowledge, and practices support student learning. This literature has informed the initial draft of the competencies. A recent publication by the National Research Council, Improving Adult Literacy Instruction: Options for Practice and Research is an excellent resource and source of information (and one used by the TE project). A free PDF can be downloaded from http://www.nap.edu/catalog.php?record_id=13242.

I do want to reinforce what you point out, the draft Adult Education Instructor Model Competencies, are intended to be voluntarily adopted and to serve as a guide and not a mandate. As I read through the posts one of the recurring concerns is the deficit of resources in the field, and the challenging working conditions. What we are concerned with is what an effective teacher does. Many of the competencies would require a much stronger level of support for teachers, and the competencies may make a case and provide a lever for improving conditions and increasing resources.

Regards,

Mariann


Subject: [PD 6672] Re: about competencies
From: Winston Lawrence
Date: Wed May 16 11:33:37 EDT 2012

Mariann. Thanks for facilitating this great discussion.

I think this is a bold attempt to address a long standing issue and to help to professionalize the adult literacy field. It looks like we are establishing a "gold standard" for the field. As I read the posts I can see many broader concerns apart from the specific questions about the wording of competencies and performance indicators.
It is interesting the ways in which the document is viewed. I think it does reflect the long standing suspicion in the field over the use of "competencies" to describe the teacher's activities. Competency based education has been subject to strong criticism for at least 3 decades. With the advent of WIA, emphasis on evidence based instruction and the NRS accountability measures in place, the field has grudgingly accepted standards as part of the package in order to survive. Many people have accepted the current outcomes focus but philosophically are oriented to a more grounded approach to instruction – teaching being seen to be more as art and intuitive rather than a prescriptive listing.

My central question is: How can practitioners be assured that this document is in their interest?

Do practitioners feel that they will be better teachers if they adopt these competencies? Or do they feel that they are not remunerated for being so "good"? One might say that this listing makes the work of the program manager much easier. But what of the volunteer tutor or the teachers who are struggling to earn a full salary by working several part time jobs in several places?

Some related questions: Is the framework intended to be a prescriptive listing designed for program managers to judge teacher effectiveness throughout the various systems (e.g. college, community based, corrections?) Does it have the same applicability in volunteer based as well as in full-time contexts? Or is this to be used only in federally funded programs?

It seems to me that there are concerns about the validity of the tool.
In other words, how is this to be operationalized?

Winston

Winston Lawrence

Senior Professional development Associate

Literacxy assistance Center

New York, NY


Subject: [PD 6673] Re: about competencies
From: Wilkinson, Molly, NMCD
Date: Wed May 16 12:16:48 EDT 2012

WOW! Those comments were good food for thought. Thank you for articulating some profound ideas.

Molly Wilkinson


Subject: [PD 6675] Re: about competencies
From: Fedele-McLeod, Mariann
Date: Wed May 16 13:38:13 EDT 2012

Hi Winston and all,

Winston thank you for your thoughtful and though provoking post!
Your questions are good ones, I will leave it to others on the list to answer the question about whether this would make them a better teacher. Again, our research was oriented toward identifying those skills, abilities, practices that positively impacted student learning and achievement. I do think we also need to ask "Is this in the interest of adult education students?" The competencies to be fully realized would have requirements of the system, as they would be contextually situated within it. One of the questions we will attempt to answer through the development of the resource Toolkit is "What are the features of an adult education system that supports effective teachers?" I invite others to respond to these questions.

To address operationalization; the framework is intended to be descriptive not prescriptive, again no mandates will be attached to this. The design of an evaluation or measurement tool is a very different undertaking than the development of a competencies model (as you and others know).The PRO-NET competencies (the nearest like document) is not, that I am aware, used as an evaluation/measurement tool to determine teacher effectiveness. It has been developed in to a teacher self-assessment by the California Adult Literacy Professional Development Project (CALPRO...full disclosure, this is a project of AIR and I am a former director), a similar self-assessment could be developed associated with the draft Model Competencies. Information about the CALPRO self-assessment can be found here: http://www.calpro-online.org/competencies/selfassessments.asp.

If there is agreement that the substance of the competencies describes as you say a "gold standard" of what AE teachers should have the knowledge and skills to do, then it could be used to guide decisions about professional development and teacher preparation. The competencies could also be used at a program level by administrators to guide hiring and placement practices. Since this is an OVAE funded project, the intended program audience are those that receive federal funds through their states, but other AE entities would be able to access them, and we hope they will! As happened with PRO-NET a number of states adopted and adapted that competency model and this would likewise be available for that purpose.

Sincerely,

Mariann


Subject: [PD 6677] Re: about competencies
From: Maricel Santos
Date: Wed May 16 14:17:03 EDT 2012

Thanks to everyone for jumpstarting a rich and important discussion.
I teach a class on working with beginning-level adult ESL learners in a graduate-level teacher education program, and after a session in which we discussed the history of accountability efforts (specifically NRS), the students commented that this was the first time they had ever thought about the broader frameworks that might guide their work. In Janet Isserlis' words, I think the introduction to standards enabled the pre-service teachers to demonstrate their "attentiveness to the ongoing shifts in learners' understandings". The articulation of competencies holds this promise for all teachers.
At the same time, I am aware that I am privileged to work with pre-service teachers in a supportive, on-going professional development environment in a higher ed context. Rarely are teachers in our field assured of this same opportunity.

And so, Winston Lawrence's question is an important one: "How can practitioners be assured that this document is in their interest?" These competencies will not have sustainable meaning if we do not offer teachers professional development opportunities to discuss the competencies, deliberate their relevance, and examine their practice in a supportive environment.

The messaging around these competencies must include a commitment to on-going professional development in our field. Otherwise, to Winston's point, I fear teachers will not feel the document speaks to their reality.

Thanks, Maricel Santos


Subject: [PD 6678] Re: about competencies
From: Stephanie Denning
Date: Wed May 16 14:17:37 EDT 2012

Is the CALPRO Self-Assessment available to AE teachers in State's other than California?

Stephanie Denning

ESOL Instructor

Wyoming Family Literacy


Subject: [PD 6684] Re: about competencies
From: Frances Rivera
Date: Wed May 16 18:21:37 EDT 2012

Hi everyone,

I think the fear are the punitive measures that may arise for teachers who have serious philosophical issue with accountability (like NCLB) and the fact that a check list may be used to measure their effectiveness and gauge learning in a classroom, when we know that teaching and learning are messy and don't happen in a linear way.

If state agencies are pushing the use of high-stakes testing as THE measure of outcomes, then the move towards formalized teacher standards or competencies may be ineffective because these tests don't measure teacher effectiveness or student learning. From my own experiences, as long as it's a guide and yes, there is continued professional development within a supportive environment, then it can only add to my growing repertoire of teaching methods. And it's this that's made me a better teacher.

Best,

Frances


Subject: [PD 6686] Re: about competencies
From: Winston Lawrence
Date: Thu May 17 09:06:40 EDT 2012

Thanks Mariann: I think the idea of having the competencies list as a guide for both federally funded programs as well as others is really great. Students will certainly gain from having competent tutors and teachers. I would hope that the framework will help to guide professional development activities at the program level (as many others have pointed out).

The other important piece you mentioned is the self-assessment protocol. That too could be an important aspect, as it can provide teachers with a way to assess their own performance and plan their professional growth.

Winston

Winston Lawrence Ed D

Senior Professional Development Associate

Literacy Assistance Center

New York, NY


Subject: [PD 6719] Re: about competencies
From: Fedele-McLeod, Mariann
Date: Fri May 18 13:18:43 EDT 2012

Hi Stephanie,

The CALPRO online self-assessment is limited in use to California adult educators.

Mariann


Subject: [PD 6718] from Roger: Re: about competencies...
From: Roger Downey
Date: Fri May 18 13:33:22 EDT 2012

Thanks Janet for bringing up your thoughts. What are we as adult educators doing for our students? Are we teaching to a test, as the K-12 is doing? Or are we taking students who, for whatever reason, have taken 5, 10 15, or more years to decide that a high school diploma is better for them than not.

These students have decided that they want to either continue with their education, in which we have to provide them with a good study habit, or they need to go on with work, which will provide food on their table and a roof over their heads now. We have to be able to provide both. Show our students how to work within a class room and have good study habits, and give them a good work ethic of coming in, seeing what has to be done, doing it, and going home.

A lot of teachers are working to provide a comfortable atmosphere for their students to work in. What have those students known of education? It is frightening to see what they have been through, and now they finally decide to come back and what is given them, a change or the same? If they come in and the instructor says "you have a clean slate" doesn't that in itself mean a lot? Though we have those who have learning disabilities, aren't we able to say "I can show you how to do this" or "I know a place that can help you now"?

As facilitators we need to be able to help these students where ever they need to go. Are we graded on this, is this something that 'class' work can bring us to? This is not competencies, but common sense. Adult ed. teachers are as passionate about what they are doing as any other teacher, no matter what anybody says, and competencies are good, but not a good measure that 'one size will fit all', for we use all at our disposal.

"Teaching and learning are messy" we can attest to that. So, no matter what the powers that be need to see, we must do our best to accommodate that. But we know what our students need. They have let us know, in no circumstances, what it is that they need. It doesn't matter what the state or the fed's tell us that we have to do, we have to do that to receive their money, but it does matter what our students tell us they need, though we usually tell them, and what employers tell us they need from our students.

Employers tell us that our students have to be able to read at a certain level, work place material at some venues have been downgraded from a sixth grade level to a fourth grade level because reading levels have dropped for new hires. Employers tell us that our students have to be able to do math at a certain level, simple addition and subtraction for use in counting stock is a problem. If we have employers working with us to improve the abilities of our graduates, isn't that what we need to do. I was told that Algebra II is used in only 5% of jobs in the open market. Why is it mandatory for our K-12 students to have this receive a diploma? Isn't this asking for disaster? Granted, the students who are going on to higher education need to be able to do certain things for community colleges, we can accommodate them. Can we accommodate the employers who need a certain level? We should be able to do so without the constricts of those holding on to the purse strings. I need to be able to give my students the best education possible, and do so at their needs. Our students are not at the K-12 level and have needs out there that have to be answered now. Not four years down the road, after college.

We, and I don't think we are alone, are 'capped' and cannot receive any money for those who need to go to the workplace with experience. We have access to career centers that would provide hands-on training in many fields but cannot do so because we do not have the funds to do so. We will not receive a penny more than what has been decreed to for this upcoming year. We should feel fortunate to receive that, and should work accordingly to make sure we receive all of that. Isn't it time that we think out of the box; to give those that are coming to us for help a chance.

Let us put our collective heads together and come up with a plan that would put our students on the front line of being hired, or of being accepted in a post-secondary situation, now. Our teachers, instructors, or facilitators are not here because they can't do anything else. They are here because they have a passion to help those who are in need, the parents of those who are in K-12. Competencies help us achieve but do not define us as educators.

Roger Downey

Columbia Adult Ed.


Topic 17: Domain 2--Plans and Delivers High Quality Instruction

Subject: [PD 6657] Re: Examples of competencies in action
From: Fedele-McLeod, Mariann
Date: Tue May 15 15:58:04 EDT 2012

Hi all,

Many thanks to those of you who have been commenting and taking on the competencies specifically (most recently Stephanie and Janet)!

I'd like to borrow a good suggestion from one list member and offer that we take on one the competencies one domain at a time over the next couple of days.

Earlier I asked that you consider the competencies that are a part of Domain 2: Plans and Delivers High Quality Instruction. In your view, do these capture the performance of an effective teacher? What would you change or add? Feel free to share examples from your own practice that demonstrate any of these competencies.

2. Plans and Delivers High Quality Instruction

  • 2.1 Designs Learning Environments Appropriate to Adult Learners
  • 2.2 Designs Learning Units to Meet Adult Learners' Goals
  • 2.3 Uses Instructional Techniques Appropriate to Adult Learners
  • 2.4 Uses Differentiated Instructional Methods to Address Different Learning Needs
  • 2.5 Targets the Instruction of Specific Skills and Content to Address Learner Difficulties
  • 2.6 Integrates Information and Communication Technologies into Instruction
  • 2.7 Integrates higher order thinking, communication and problem-solving skills in to instruction

Tomorrow I will send out Domain 3 for your consideration along with the question we had planned for that day regarding similar efforts taking place in your state and local program.

Sincerely,

Mariann


Subject: [PD 6682] Re: ProfessionalDevelopment Digest, Vol 80, Issue 32
From: Edmund J. Ferszt
Date: Wed May 16 15:21:42 EDT 2012

Greetings to all,

As I have followed the discussion there are a couple of thoughts that emerge for me.
By way of context, in Rhode Island we have been working on the development of a set of standards for AE Instructors for the past several years.

We have engaged the field of practitioners as much as possible in this process and have a set of RIDE approved standards to which we have added the "behavioral indicators" that might be used to determine if a standard is being met and at what level.

The Instructor Competencies as currently presented seem to reflect the idea that developing effective teachers is a process of accumulating the correct "knowledge and skills" which as Janet and Kim point out tends to leave out the "art" of teaching because it is not easily quantifiable. In RI we have tried to leave some space for the recognition of the artistry that is involved in effective teaching and at the same time have tried to qualify what are the knowledge and skills a practitioner should have and be able to do.

An underlying assumption is that "artistry "in practice is recognizable in the actions of the" expert "instructor and their ability to engage with students in the act of learning. There is a difference between 2.3.1 Engages students actively in their own learning process. (Which seems to be something done to students) And engaging with students actively in the learning process. (Which seems to be something done with students) This little change might reflect an underlying difference in how the role of a teacher and student are defined in adult education. In one example the teacher acts upon the student to produce the desired results and in the other the teacher is a co-learner with the students. It seems to me that much of the "action upon students" is pervasive in the standards and accountability movement at the K-12 level which may be why-as Kim points out -we need to distinguish "the kinds of things that makes us different from K-12"

Regards,

Ed Ferszt

Consultant to The RIAEPDC and RIDE


Topic 18: Concerns About Competencies

Subject: [PD 6666] Effective Teacher Competencies
From: Thomas Jones
Date: Wed May 16 00:03:18 EDT 2012

Are we talking about what makes a good teacher when we are talking about teacher competencies? If so, then the issue opens a can of worms because each teacher may have his or her own view as to what makes a teacher effective. If there is no consensus, there will never be any standards. And if the government decides, what criterion will it use?
In the state of RI, Dept. of Ed. is pushing employment kills as a big deal, so I suppose that if students can't demonstrate tangibly how to go about getting a job, the teacher has failed to do his or her job. But what is the measure being used for this? We use the CASAS standardized test to measure life skills and employment skills, but this is only a reading test. One of our teachers, when he went to a TESOL conference one year, confronted the CASAS company about the test. CASAS admitted to him the test scores are arbitrary and aren't such a good measure, but it's what the Feds want.

As it stands now, if students test scores do not increase by one or more levels, the students have not completed the program, and if they don't complete, in effect Dept of Ed is saying the teacher isn't effective. Before Adult Dept of Ed came along, there may have been teachers in the field for more than ten years who didn't fit the current fed. or state definition of effective, and suddenly under the new system they become ineffective?
The teacher's effectiveness, according to the teacher or the program director, could be how well a student performs a certain task which he or she couldn't perform before without help, but as far as Dept of Ed is concerned, the only thing that matters are the numbers (how many completed).

Conceivably, because the CASAS test is a reading test, you could have a student who can read at an Intermediate level but meanwhile is below that level in speaking and listening. Does this mean the teacher was ineffective? No. It means you can't use one skill (reading) as a holistic measure for all skills. Maybe it means the Feds and state are too hung up on the numbers and aren't taking a holistic approach to the student and teacher, but then the holistic is much harder to measure.

This goes back to what I said in my previous post: teaching is more of an art than a science. How can you measure the effectiveness of an art?

I'm not saying there should be no measures, especially if there is a desire to professionalize the field. I'm only saying that if the government, state or fed, is going to assign a measurement of teacher effectiveness, let it be one aligned with reality and with the profession as an art. If I get a Masters degree in teaching, it is a Master of Arts not a Master of Science.

Thomas Jones


Subject: [PD 6667] Re: AE Competencies Development: Method and Literature
From: Gretchen Bitterlin
Date: Wed May 16 01:27:06 EDT 2012

I think the idea of providing examples of the competencies in action in a specific setting is great because that shows the practical application of the competency. I think performance indicators are more sensitive, since they suggest evaluation measures that may not apply in all types of teaching situations. Performance indicators are better written at the local level, not nationally.

Gretchen Bitterlin

ESL Program Chair

San Diego Continuing Education

San Diego, CA


Topic 19: Program and State Efforts to Support TE

Subject: [PD 6668] In your State or Program

From: Fedele-McLeod, Mariann

Date: Wed May 16 09:14:37 EDT 2012

Dear Colleagues,

I am pleased to re-join you today, and any thanks to those of you who have been posting! I will respond to some of your comments a bit later in the day.

For today, we would like to focus on efforts taking place in your state or local program to support teacher effectiveness. The Adult Education Instructor Competencies are developed to be voluntarily adopted, and as such we seek your input to better understand how they can complement efforts already underway.

So our questions for you:

  • What efforts are taking place in your state or local program to improve teacher effectiveness (including development of competencies, indicators of program quality, standards for teaching and /or learning, etc...)?
  • How can the AE Instructor Competencies complement what is currently occurring in your state? What supports and resources would be needed to do this?

Sincerely,

Mariann

Mariann Fedele-McLeod

Principal Researcher

American Institutes for Research

Washington, D.C


Subject: [PD 6669] PD in Colorado
From: Stephanie Moran
Date: Wed May 16 10:08:02 EDT 2012

For a state that gives zero direct funding to adult education, Colorado has an extremely robust PD system, thanks to its highly capable PD team, headed by Jane Miller and Jessie Hawthorn of the Adult Education and Family Literacy (AEFL) folks at CDE.
http://www.cde.state.co.us/cdeadult/TA-JM-PolicyDocs.htm

Every adult educator must earn his or her Literacy Instruction Authorization (not an endorsement since not all AEs are necessarily certified teachers) within 3 years of hire, regardless of how many hours one teaches. This poses quite a dilemma for many in our field since they are PT and the LIA costs time and money on the part of the educator and/or the center. The state helps with a scholarship for one of the 4 required courses, and educators with 750 hours in a course area may choose to submit a portfolio, itself a rigorous and daunting process; many PT instructors are not enthusiastic about this requirement.

We have a stunning set of resources in our Resource Bank and a good New Teacher Orientation program. All adult educators funded by AEFL are required to complete the PD Self-Assessment at the beginning of the year and then discuss objectives to be met by year's end with his or her supervisor/ED. The PD Activity Record is kept by the instructor and covers 4 strands: self-study, collaboration with colleagues, workshops/trainings/conferences, and courses for study. Currently, there is no mandatory number of PD hours absolutely required but the expectation is that all funded centers will make PD a priority.

I serve on my local school board, and the amount of money that it puts into PD is truly pitiful; I am proud of Colorado's adult education system in that it recognizes the importance of PD and offers many opportunities for practitioners. PD will of course become that much more essential as we face GED 2014.

Stephanie Moran


Subject: [PD 6681] PD in PA
From: Mansuetti, Susan
Date: Wed May 16 14:56:39 EDT 2012

I am relatively new to the field of professional development and just joined this discussion today, so forgive me if this post seems to be a little off-topic. In PA, our teachers are required to have a four-year degree, but not necessarily a teaching certificate. In many of our programs, teachers are asked to teach subjects that they know little about. It's hard to look at the competencies and be an effective teacher if you are struggling to learn what you need to teach your students. Sometimes, even long-term teachers may just know what is in the book, but not really the concept behind the application. We decided that our focus this year should be in providing in-depth content courses so that our teachers really understand what they are teaching and how to teach it to adults.

That being said, we have required all of our programs to identify a person who is the in-house PD specialist. After an instructor participates in a professional development activity, they have a support person who will help them to embed the content learned into their instruction. In addition, each agency is assigned a consultant who is available to work with the agency on some of their areas of weakness. Our goal is to be able to provide coaching, mentoring and other support services so that any time a teacher feels that they need help to become more effective, the system will be able to provide this assistance.

Susan Mansuetti l Advisor

Division of Adult Education

Bureau of Postsecondary and Adult Education

Pennsylvania Department of Education

Harrisburg, PA


Subject: [PD 6688] Re: PD in PA
From: Marcia Anderson
Date: Thu May 17 09:55:01 EDT 2012

I too have been following this discussion and am from PA. One thing that Susan didn't mention is that PA has had Teacher Competencies for a long time. As an administrator I have been appreciative of having them to utilize when working with our instructors. The in-depth courses have been an excellent opportunity for all instructors and were basically focused on math, reading and ESL. It was an opportunity to have instructors throughout the state meet for one of the sessions, then return to share with their fellow instructors in the agency. In our agency for example, our instructors utilized the Reading sessions as a jumping-off point to learn/review. They identified some areas that would enhance their current knowledge such as fluency and enrolled in some on-line classes in those areas. In the coming year this agency has the good fortune to be working with Dr. Diana Baycich, the Literacy Projects Coordinator for Kent State University, as we begin the process of developing a curriculum that is aligned with the Core Standards and EFL's . She will be reviewing our work, making suggestions and supporting our work in implementing reading strategies.

PA's Professional Development system has been available to agencies like ours (we're small) to support our efforts to improve skills and delivery of services.

Marcia Anderson

Executive Director, Lifelong Learning Choices


Subject: [PD 6695] Re: In your State or Program - MA
From: Artis-Jackson, Sharon (DOE)
Date: Thu May 17 10:53:31 EDT 2012

Hello All,

Here are a few examples of steps taken to strengthen teacher effectiveness in Massachusetts:

  • Professional Standards and Subject Matter Knowledge Requirements for teachers were established over a decade ago for purposes of the voluntary ABE licensure. In recent years, however, Massachusetts has promoted use of the standards for broader purposes, such as self-assessment, staff evaluation or creation of individual PD plans. SABES, the state-funded professional development system, now offers orientation to the standards for all new teachers each year.
  • In 2010, key stakeholders began to develop professional content standards in specific areas: Mathematics and Numeracy, ESOL, Reading, and Writing. One aim of the content standards is to align professional standards (i.e. what teachers need to know and know how to do) with curriculum frameworks (i.e. what students need to know and know how to do) for each subject.
  • In FY12, the SABES system was redesigned to offer more streamlined, in-depth PD than in the past. Among the current SABES priorities are 1) delivering PD to multi-year cohorts of teachers in the subjects named above, and 2) providing on-site, customized technical assistance to programs when requested.
  • There is overlap between the AE Instructor Competencies and the MA Professional Standards; but the Competencies would likely add significant value to MA initiatives because they include emphasis on learners' next steps, data use, and research-based justifications, among other features.

Sharon Artis-Jackson, Ed. D.

ABE Professional Development Specialist

MA Department of Elementary and Secondary Education


Subject: [PD 6747] State PD Systems Resource (Thank You!)
From: Marcie W.M. Foster
Date: Wed May 23 13:34:55 EDT 2012

Dear Professional Development List:

The National Coalition for Literacy recently gathered information about state professional development systems, how they are funded, structured, and current activities that support teacher quality and effectiveness. Jackie Taylor, this List's moderator and Member of the NCL Board, gathered the information from state and professional development staff in seven states (CA, MA MN, NY, OH, PA, TX). The results can be found here:
State Professional Development Systems
http://www.national-coalition-literacy.org/PDSystems.docx
http://www.national-coalition-literacy.org/PDSystems.pdf

Many of you who contributed to the resource are on this discussion list. Thank you to our state and professional development colleagues who provided this information.

Marcie Foster

National Coalition for Literacy Board Member

Policy Analyst

CLASP | Washington, DC


Topic 20: Adaptive Expertise

Subject: [PD 6674] Adaptive Expertise?
From: Patsy Vinogradov
Date: Wed May 16 13:12:30 EDT 2012

Hello,

I've been following (as much as possible!) this important conversation with interest. As Janet, Kim, and others have mentioned, statewide standards of effective practice and teacher-effectiveness competencies have well-established roles in K-12 education (i.e. Charlotte Danielson framework, etc.), but they can become 'slippery' when it comes to adult education.

But nevertheless, we have so much to learn from how K-12 teacher preparation programs and district induction programs identify and use competencies and related tools to enhance teaching and learning.

One area of K-12 teacher preparation and mentoring that is receiving a great deal of attention in Minnesota is "adaptive expertise." This emerges from the work of Linda Darling-Hammond and the book "Preparing Teachers for a Changing World." With its tenets of high efficiency and high innovation, it seems particularly appropriate for our adult learning settings.

I wonder if adaptive expertise is gaining attention in adult education teacher preparation and professional development? And do the proposed competencies help us identify and encourage adaptive expertise in our adult educators?

Some food for thought from local adaptive expertise discussions for K-12 here:
As adaptive experts, teachers will:

  • Respond to students' cultural funds of knowledge in curriculum, instruction, and relationship building
  • Use observations and data about student learning to adjust instructional approaches
  • Integrate new technologies to engage students in creation and synthesis learning activities
  • Interact with other school colleagues to advocate and support students' social, emotional, academic, and physical development
  • Embrace uncertainty in the classroom with flexible actions and a commitment to student learning

Are such 'adaptive expertise' elements important for adult educators as well (I think so!) and do they help us address the dynamic and varied settings of adult teaching and learning? Eager to hear your thoughts.

Patsy Vinogradov

University of Minnesota & Hamline University


Topic 21: Domain 3--Collaborates and Communicates Effectively

Subject: [PD 6676] Domain 3
From: Fedele-McLeod, Mariann
Date: Wed May 16 13:48:07 EDT 2012

Dear Colleagues,

I invite you to continue to comment on the competencies themselves, and specifically Domain 3: Collaborates and Communicates Effectively. This domain is at the crux of what an instructor does. The ability to communicate and collaborate is essential to successful performance in other domains. Therefore this domain must be understood as both enabling performance and a condition of performance.

For the adult education instructor this is especially true as adult learners come to the classroom with diverse backgrounds (i.e. nationality, race, ethnicity, language, socio-cultural and economic, etc.), experiences (i.e. formal schooling, immigration history, etc.), and attitudes about learning that will mediate their learning process and interactions with the instructor.

3. Collaborates and Communicates Effectively

  • 3.1 Communicates Verbally and in Writing in a Clear and Understandable Way
  • 3.2 Engages in Active Listening Techniques, Dialogue and Questioning to facilitate and Support Learning
  • 3.3 Uses Language that Reflects an Understanding of Diversity
  • 3.4 Conveys High Expectations of Learners and Motivates Learners to Meet Those Expectations
  • 3.5 Provides Advice and Referral to Support Students' Learning, College, and Career Readiness Goals

In your view, do these capture the performance of an effective teacher? What would you change or add? Feel free to share examples from your own practice that demonstrate any of these competencies.

Sincerely,

Mariann


Subject: [PD 6679] Re: Domain 3

From: David Rosen

Date: Wed May 16 14:27:02 EDT 2012

Hi Mariann and others,

It isn't clear if this domain means collaborates and communicates effectively with students, or if it is broader, to include colleagues and perhaps others. It also seems to be to be two domains: communicate and collaborate. After all, one could be an excellent communicator and not a good collaborator.

3.3 What about appreciation of diversity. Is diversity defined someplace?

3.4 This doesn't seem to belong in this domain. It's important, of course, but how is this related to collaboration? To clear communication?

3.5 This too, while important, doesn't seem to clearly belong in this domain.
Given your introduction to this domain, I wonder if it is about the teaching/learning relationship with students, of which communication and collaboration are parts of a larger domain.

David J. Rosen

djrosen123 at gmail.com


Subject: [PD 6683] Domain 3
From: Stephanie Moran
Date: Wed May 16 17:03:45 EDT 2012

3.2 Engages in Active Listening Techniques, Dialogue and Questioning to facilitate and Support Learning

This is huge in my teaching world. One of my favorite phrases is "Follow that thought"-i.e., work harder, think further, verbalize more. Some students rely on a desultory "I don't know" to get them through because it worked so well in the past-but it won't help them much in the future. Old-hand teachers know and apply open-ended questions, and teaching teachers how to develop questions that encourage active learning is too often an underrated skills.

3.3 Uses Language that Reflects an Understanding of Diversity

The power of language to hurt, harm, or heal is sometimes beyond compare; that's one reason why I use poetry and literature-they often can bridge all of the -isms and we can find common ground. Just discussing the long-and still evolving-history, for example, of what the polite/politically-correct term for a person of color is yields very thoughtful discussion about language and diversity.

Also, how we approach hurtful language--that someone either intentionally or unwittingly brings to the classroom--is another example of the layering of experience and immense toolkit that any good adult educator must bring to bear. How do we teach and not alienate the speaker-because we want him/her to return and learn and become a more mature speaker, thinker, and citizen.

Cussing is easy-I have several articles about the history of curse words, especially those four-letter Anglo-Saxon words so prevalent today.

David wrote: "It isn't clear if this domain means collaborates and communicates effectively with students, or if it is broader, to include colleagues and perhaps others. It also seems to be to be two domains: communicate and collaborate. After all, one could be an excellent communicator and not a good collaborator."

I agree with David here-I know some adult educators who are excellent in the classroom but not so good in a collegial setting and vice versa. In our tight-knit world where we often wear both hats, how do we assure that educators collaborate not just with students but with colleagues? Often times, the world of adult education has far fewer checks and balances and much less teacher evaluation than does public education.

Stephanie Moran

GED Program Coordinator

Durango Adult Education Center

Durango, CO


Subject: [PD 6685] Re: Domain 3
From: Arthur G Upham
Date: Thu May 17 09:08:33 EDT 2012

It isn't clear if this domain means....

I agree with both Stephanie and David: this domain is really the only one which directly addresses the interaction from the instructor's side with adult learners, and yet it is both short and limited to just a few points about what might be considered when thinking about effectiveness; it is also the most "mushy" category in that as we all know we represent a real range of teaching style and practice and yet are effective (and not just in our own eyes hopefully). This domain lumps, as was pointed out, collaboration with students and with colleagues; it throws in cultural sensitivity/awareness; but are there plenty of other characteristics to effective teaching with learners? I think there's much room for elaboration. The other domains are much simpler to cover and this is the heart of the question, and the most difficult one to exhaust, as there is so much valid variety within it. I think this domain deserves more elaboration, though I also think the first and last sentence will read: more research needs to be done.

On the question of the temptation for administrators and hiring/review committees using a set of competencies: I suspect most of us have been on both side of this process (looking for work and being part of a hiring panel) to realize that the actual decision is generally a gut decision then justified by reference to something we can point, like a set of competencies. The competencies won't change this and may give prospects for the profession as least a basic set of ideals to think towards.

Arthur Upham, Ph. D. (McGill)

Grant Coordinator

Madison College-School of Academic Advancement

Madison, WI


Subject: [PD 6693] Re: Domain 3
From: Fedele-McLeod, Mariann
Date: Thu May 17 11:11:07 EDT 2012

Thanks Stephanie and to all who have commented on Domain 3!

Stephanie, you address in your comments on 3.2 what a very diverse cross-section of literature and research attends to on matters of communication in relationship to classroom and workplace diversity. The work of Goe, Bell, and Little (2008) exemplifies the message in the overall literature on teacher effectiveness that points to the fact that "an effective teacher contributes to the development of classrooms and schools that value diversity and civic-mindedness" (p. 8). Equally as important, effective communication skills that demonstrate an understanding of diversity can also be used to convey high expectations of learners and motivate learners to meet high expectations.

A teacher's understanding of diversity should translate to his/her efforts towards the greater achievement of his/her diverse student body. Here too, Goe, Bell, and Little were very clear about what it means to be an effective teacher: "an effective teacher has high expectations for all students" (p. 8), because a teacher's perception of students potential for learning has an influence on their own understanding of their potential.

Concern for teaching in relationship to understanding and appreciating diversity was taken on in the Common Core State Standards "...the twenty-first-century classroom and workplace are settings in which people from often widely divergent cultures and who represent diverse experiences and perspectives must learn and work together. Students actively seek to understand other perspectives and cultures through reading and listening, and they are able to communicate effectively with people of varied backgrounds. They evaluate other points of view critically and constructively."(The Common Core State Standards, 2012, 8.).

Your comments have provided much food for thought about revision, and specifically how to better articulate through the competencies how that domain relates to the interaction with peers and colleagues (as is required in domain 4).

Do you (all list members) have specific suggestions for how to integrate the ability to communicate with peers and colleagues better in to Domain 3? I know some concern has been expressed about the number of competencies, but suggestions for additions or revisions would be welcome.

Regards,

Mariann


Subject: [PD 6700] Re: Domain 3
From: Kimberly A. Johnson
Date: Thu May 17 15:06:44 EDT 2012

Just a quick comment on 3.5 Provides Advice and Referral to Support Students' Learning, College, and Career Readiness Goals. The description says: The adult education instructor provides ongoing advice to learners related to their pursuit of learning, career and college readiness goals, and provides referrals to services and resources that will support students in achieving their goals.

I won't argue with the importance of this idea, or the need for adult learners to get support to be successful, but I wonder about this as an instructor competency. It feels like asking teachers to be all things to all people.

Shouldn't this advice and referral piece rest on someone else's shoulders? Of course, many teachers already do a lot of this (in addition to counseling, social work, etc.), but is it right to make this a competency for effective teachers?

(PS: Mariann-would it be possible to include the link to the document whenever you pose a new question? It just makes it easier to quickly link to the draft. Thanks!)

Kim Johnson

ATLAS/Hamline University

St Paul, MN


Subject: [PD 6708] Re: Domain 3
From: Lisa Mullins
Date: Thu May 17 20:34:47 EDT 2012

David and all,

This may depend on the size of the program or some other circumstance, but in my role as adult educator I often help learners in their pursuit of higher ed., training, or career. In our program, we have weekly visits from the financial aid advisor. I help students find their career avenues by guiding them through a software program Career Explorer or refer them to the career center.

Our program director has on hand many brochures or sources of information about programs of study. I have assisted students in making class schedules when they enroll in college or helping them when they have an issue with courses or instructors/professors at the college. I believe it is part of what I am to do as an adult educator. I think domain 3 represents an effective adult education teacher.

Lisa Mullins

Hawkins County Adult Education

Rogersville, Tennessee


Subject: [PD 6717] Re: Domain 3
From: Federico Salas-Isnardi
Date: Fri May 18 12:07:35 EDT 2012

Mariann and colleagues

I have followed and enjoyed the conversation over the last two weeks but haven't found the time to participate. I have a question/concern regarding 3.3 below (this is feedback I wrote during your presentation for AALPD last month but is not reflected in the chart.)
As you know, I am very actively concerned about the intersection of adult education and social justice. Competency 3.3 says "uses language that reflects an understanding of diversity." Diversity being one of basic premises of education in this country, I am concerned that reflecting an understanding of diversity is not enough. A teacher should be able to work with diversity and integrate social justice concerns in the classroom as appropriate. Understanding a reality keeps it at an abstract level.

Knowing how to tackle the impact of that reality in the classroom, the workplace, and the community is not abstract; it is turning understanding into action that really helps our students. Of course, to me this also impacts domains 2 and 4 because you cannot have high quality instruction without addressing diversity concerns in the classroom. This, of course, impacts professional development.

Just my two cents.

federico

Federico Salas-Isnardi

Chair, Association of Adult Literacy Professional Developers, AALPD, www.aalpd.org


Topic 22: What do we know about how the competencies will be used?

Subject: [PD 6687] What do we know about how the competencies will be used?
From: David Rosen
Date: Thu May 17 08:20:14 EDT 2012

Hello Mariann,

It would help me to understand the value of the Promoting Teacher Effectiveness project competencies if I knew more about the context. Do you-or does someone-know if need was expressed for the teacher competencies someplace from the field. Was there research that indicated a need from the field for the development of the competencies and a desire by the field to use them?

Were State ABE Directors in some way involved? Have the State Directors indicated an interest in using the competencies? Were the opinions of ABE program directors in some way solicited? Have the State ABE Directors indicated an interest in using them? Were the opinions of adult education teachers who are interested in improving their art (or science) of teaching involved in some way? In short, what do we know about the need for these competencies as expressed by the field? What do we know about who wants to use them and how?

It's often useful to ask these kinds of questions as early as possible, well before a product's development is complete, ideally before its development has begun. From my experience, however, this is rarely done in our field.

In the context of massive recent and continuing program funding cuts in some states, and only very modest increases in a couple of states, these context questions are particularly relevant now. In my unscientific efforts to take the pulse of the field I find that a surprisingly large number of practitioners are weary or exhausted, feeling mandated to death, impoverished or laid off. I wonder how many practitioners are eager to implement new initiatives, regardless of their quality.

No matter how well these new competencies may be designed, and it appears to me that they are being built well, they run the risk of being irrelevant if a beleaguered field doesn't have the resources (funding, time and strength) to use them.

This is not the first time our field has had teacher competencies created at the national level, nor is it the first time AIR has been involved in developing them. I remember the AIR PRO-NET project instructor competencies and performance indicators built in the late 1990's. I thought they were good, and I tried without success to promote them in my state. I wonder how widely they were used by teachers and programs. I wonder if practitioners who did use them well could tell us how that came about. What kinds of leadership and support at the state and program level were needed? I wonder if any teachers found them useful in their professional development. Is there something that the Promoting Teacher Effectiveness project has learned-or could learn-from that project?

Now that the discussion on Promoting Teacher Effectiveness is nearing its end, I hope there is time to hear about and discuss the plan for practitioners' use of the competencies.

David J. Rosen
djrosen123@gmail.com


Subject: [PD 6689] Re: What do we know about how the competencies will be used?
From: Jackie Taylor
Date: Thu May 17 09:57:20 EDT 2012

Hi David, All,

David, I know you addressed Mariann specifically, and I look forward to Mariann's (and others') responses. But I'd like to offer a beginning response your question about whether or to what extent the field has been consulted:
Last summer, this Professional Development Discussion List held a guest discussion on Teacher Certification and Credentialing in Adult Education (http://lincs.ed.gov/lincs/discussions/professionaldevelopment/11certification). Through that discussion, participants explored the importance of identifying what adult educators need to know and be able to do as foundational to building state and/or national certification and credentialing systems in adult education.

At the end of that discussion, Patricia Bennett from OVAE introduced the teacher effectiveness initiative we are discussing today, described some of its groundings in professional development sessions held at the state directors conference, as well as with other professional development initiatives (see post #5702).

Now, approximately one year later, they have come back to us to share their work (through this guest discussion) and to get our feedback on what has been developed since then. I suspect Mariann and others may fill us in on some of the other details you seek. But I do think it's important to note that this very discussion list raised the need for competencies and it seems we were heard.

Jackie

Jackie Taylor

PD List Facilitator


Subject: [PD 6696] Re: What do we know about how the competencies will be used?
From: Fedele-McLeod, Mariann
Date: Thu May 17 13:56:08 EDT 2012

Hi Jackie, David and all,

Jackie thanks for pointing out what has taken place on this list in regards to this effort.

By way of background on the TE Project, OVAE held a Symposium on Teacher Quality and Effectiveness with the state directors, NAEPDC, education researchers, local program directors, and USDOE staff in the Fall of 2010. The Symposium explored many of the questions David is posing. The Symposium was a factor in the development of the current teacher effectiveness project, and was part of the background of the project work statement.

We do agree with you that the field-at-large needs to have an investment in teacher effectiveness for the competencies to be used. Part of the project design is to ensure involvement and engagement of the field. That is the primary reason for holding this discussion, in addition to the face-to- face engagement on this topic and project at sessions conducted at TESOL and COABE as well as at OVAE's annual state directors' meeting and LINCS partner meetings.

Independent of the project and OVAE; many of you may be aware of the efforts underway at the National Adult Education Professional Development Consortium (NAEPDC), the Commission on Adult Basic Education (COABE), and McGraw Hill, to develop an AE Teacher Credential, more can be learned of this effort in the report Improving Adult Education Teacher Effectiveness: A Call to Action for a New Credential.

In terms of use, numerous states (including California, Maryland, Virginia, and Pennsylvania) have adopted and adapted the original PRO-NET competencies for use in their state, and a few of you have shared what's currently taking place in your state, I will use this opportunity to encourage you to continue to share! I know that recently the National Coalition for Literacy put together a publication describing state based PD efforts inclusive of the development of like efforts to the competencies, Jackie I do invite you to share a link if you can.

In terms of early input that contributed to the current draft, as I had mentioned the TE Project has a Technical Work Group (TWG) that is constituted by adult education experts from across the country. Because of our interest in having this product reflect needs as well as aspirations, on the TWG are current and former state adult education directors, as well as current adult education teachers and program managers.

Although I can't speak directly for OVAE, I believe they also share the perspective that stakeholder engagement and investment is essential to moving the discourse and initiatives on teacher effectiveness forward. Their efforts through the above referenced Symposium as well as their work last year at the Annual State Directors' meeting (which included a discussion and feedback session on OVAE's teacher effectiveness strategy) reflect this. This year state directors meeting included small group discussion and input sessions on the competencies and the supports that states will need to provide in order for competencies and teacher effectiveness strategies to be used.

Adult ed has struggled over the years to make clear to external stakeholders (including the very institutions that house programs) what our purpose and value is. Making that case in the face of ever diminishing resources is even harder, and we are being asked to get the same or better results with fewer staff and resources. Hopefully this project will provide some tools that states and programs can use to help them do that, and to strengthen the case that AE is effective in meeting the needs of students and a valuable investment in hard economic times.

Respectfully and sincerely,

Mariann


Subject: [PD 6703] Subject: What do we know about how the competencies will be used?
From: Moore, Bonita
Date: Thu May 17 15:23:58 EDT 2012

Hi David,

You articulate important questions for the field to consider. Your message speaks of a "beleaguered field", and of course that view is shared by many in this critically important but largely marginalized professional group. But it is the very crush of new demands, new requirements, and dramatically escalating challenges that is driving the urgent call for a roadmap to help us through this work.

As you may know, COABE and NAEPDC (the State Directors' professional association) began working this past fall on a collaborative effort to consider the potential for a national credentialing system to help provide that roadmap. The advisory group that engaged in the initial discussions consisted of adult education teachers, program managers, state staff, and subject matter experts. Emerging from this discussion was a call to action (see the report Improving Adult Education Teacher Effectiveness: A Call to Action for a New Credential).

It was clear from these discussions that the field is in great need of an updated set of competency standards for all adult educators, reflective of the dramatic changes that we have seen in the field, in the workforce, and in our communities over the last decade. The Promoting Teacher Effectiveness project will be critically important in informing this work, as we work toward more clearly defined, relevant standards for our instructional staffs.

The State Directors have embraced the mission of enhanced Teacher Quality and Effectiveness as a high priority for their work, collectively and individually. Yes, these are indeed tough times for programs with declining resources and increasing challenges. Despite - or perhaps because of - these forces, we are seeing incredible energy and creativity emerging from the field. Though practitioners may be "weary or exhausted", David, they are nonetheless rising to the occasion to create, test, and implement dazzling new initiatives, every day.

Bonnie Moore

Bonita M. Moore, Ph.D.

Assistant Executive Director

National Adult Education Professional Development Consortium, Inc.

Washington, D.C.


Subject: [PD 6714] Subject: What do we know about how the competencies will be used?
From: David Rosen
Date: Fri May 18 09:57:09 EDT 2012

Thanks to Jackie, Mariann, Bonita, Stephanie(s), and Thomas for addressing or amplifying some of my concerns,

Jackie wrote:

Last summer, this Professional Development Discussion List held a guest discussion on Teacher Certification and Credentialing in Adult Education. Through that discussion, participants explored the importance of identifying what adult educators need to know and be able to do as foundational to building state and/or national certification and credentialing systems in adult education. At the end of that discussion, Patricia Bennett from OVAE introduced the teacher effectiveness initiative we are discussing today, described some of its groundings in professional development sessions held at the state directors conference, as well as with other professional development initiatives (see post #5702).

Now, approximately one year later, they have come back to us to share their work (through this guest discussion) and to get our feedback on what has been developed since then. I suspect Mariann and others may fill us in on some of the other details you seek. But I do think it's important to note that this very discussion list raised the need for competencies and it seems we were heard.

Thanks, Jackie, for reminding me (us) of the context of this discussion. This discussion list, and this particular discussion as one example, provides a very good opportunity for the field to engage in initiating and responding to positive efforts for change such as the teacher effectiveness initiative. As the discussion moderator, you have often taken initiative to initiate development of professional development change and I regard your efforts as extremely important.

Mariann wrote:

By way of background on the TE Project, OVAE held a Symposium on Teacher Quality and Effectiveness with the state directors, NAEPDC, education researchers, local program directors, and USDOE staff in the Fall of 2010. The Symposium explored many of the questions David is posing. The Symposium was a factor in the development of the current teacher effectiveness project, and was part of the background of the project work statement.

This is very good news and evidence that state ABE directors and local program directors have been involved. Glad to hear that.

Independent of the project and OVAE; many of you may be aware of the efforts underway at the National Adult Education Professional Development Consortium (NAEPDC), the Commission on Adult Basic Education (COABE), and McGraw Hill, to develop an AE Teacher Credential, more can be learned of this effort in the report Improving Adult Education Teacher Effectiveness: A Call to Action for a New Credential.

Another effort for positive change in teacher effectiveness. We discussed that too, briefly, on this discussion list. I hope we-including Lennox McLendon-can get back to it after this discussion.

In terms of use, numerous states (including California, Maryland, Virginia, and Pennsylvania) have adopted and adapted the original PRO-NET competencies for use in their state, and a few of you have shared what’s currently taking place in your state, I will use this opportunity to encourage you to continue to share! I know that recently the National Coalition for Literacy put together a publication describing state based PD efforts inclusive of the development of like efforts to the competencies, Jackie I do invite you to share a link if you can.

I am very glad to know that at least four states have used the PRO-NET competencies. I would love to hear from practitioners in those states how they were (are?) being used, and what changes their use might have brought about in teacher effectiveness.

In terms of early input that contributed to the current draft, as I had mentioned the TE Project has a Technical Work Group (TWG) that is constituted by adult education experts from across the country. Because of our interest in having this product reflect needs as well as aspirations, on the TWG are current and former state adult education directors, as well as current adult education teachers and program managers.

More evidence that the state ABE directors, program directors and teachers think this initiative is important.

Bonita wrote:

The State Directors have embraced the mission of enhanced Teacher Quality and Effectiveness as a high priority for their work collectively and individually.
Great news that the State Directors are solidly behind this effort!

Mariann wrote:

Although I can’t speak directly for OVAE, I believe they also share the perspective that stakeholder engagement and investment is essential to moving the discourse and initiatives on teacher effectiveness forward. Their efforts through the above referenced Symposium as well as their work last year at the Annual State Directors' meeting (which included an discussion and feedback session on OVAE's teacher effectiveness strategy) reflect this. This year state directors meeting included small group discussion and input sessions on the competencies and the supports that states will need to provide in order for competencies and teacher effectiveness strategies to be used.

I have never questioned if OVAE thinks this is important. They wouldn't have funded this initiative if they didn't!

Mariann wrote:

Hopefully this project will provide some tools that states and programs can use to help them do that, and to strengthen the case that AE is effective in meeting the needs of students and a valuable investment in hard economic times.

This is my hope, too, Mariann, and that's why I have raised the concerns about what's next at this early-to-middle stage. I am heartened by the above answers to some of my questions but also remain concerned that these tools may in too many states sit on the shelf. I am hoping that this involvement of state ABE directors and program directors is an indication of actual engagement, that it results in the following kinds of buy-in, that:

  1. Program directors and state ABE directors have a formal opportunity to endorse these competencies when they are done,
  2. State ABE directors include these competencies in their requests for program proposals,
  3. State-funded and other professional development efforts incorporate them as underpinnings or linchpins in their professional development work,
  4. The competencies and a national professional development license, if we have one, are aligned, and that
  5. Programs require teachers use the competencies to form their annual teacher professional development plans.

These would be some intermediate indicators of the success of this initiative. The ultimate indicators would be teacher growth and improvement and increase and proficient student learning.

No one has yet addressed one of my main concerns, however, additional cost. I also raised the issue of additional cost in the brief discussion we had here about a national teacher credential which if, as Lennox McLendon recommended, is voluntary I support. Once we have the teacher effectiveness competencies tools, there are costs in using them, especially if we use them well.

These costs involve teacher professional development time, which needs to paid for. (If we see this as an investment of teachers' time, there needs to be not only the personal satisfaction from doing a better job, ability to help students more effectively, recognition for improvement or mastery, but also an actual return on that investment-an increased salary.

There is an additional cost to many programs if teacher professional development time is paid for, and there are additional costs to state agencies that fund programs with effective support for professional development and that pay for state-provided professional development and training. All of these levels: state, program, and teacher, are hard-hit now with funding erosion or actual cuts.

I don't want my concerns to be misunderstood as raining on the parade. I believe that one of the most important purposes of a community of practice like this discussion list, is to raise here the difficult challenges for our community and field and, by thinking together, to provide good solutions to these challenges. What some may have interpreted as nay-saying is, on the contrary, a deep commitment to change, taking seriously what I see as a great potential for change and improvement if the right elements are in place.
Perhaps others have some ideas how to address the issues of added cost. Here are my recommendations:

  1. State ABE directors who think these competencies (and a voluntary national license) make sense could reward programs that use the competencies, and/or that hire or advance teachers who hold the national license, with additional funding.
  2. State level adult basic education public policy advocacy groups and/or state-level ABE agencies could include a plan for professional development (that presumably will lead to better student outcomes) in their requests for additional state funding—when the time for this in their state appears to be right.
  3. The U.S. Department of Education (OVAE), if they agree that these are good competencies, could support pilot or "proof of concept" programs, and for those that are shown to be effective, the additional costs of implementing these could be calculated. (Many years ago, before we had leadership in adult basic education in my state, legislators told me that they wouldn't support an increase in adult education because the quality was too low, in their mind evidenced by how little was spent on it. The idea here is that if we have a model for program quality and teacher effectiveness and a solid estimate of what quality and effectiveness cost, this can be presented as a compelling argument for policy makers to invest in adult basic education teacher and program effectiveness.) Having evaluated models that show how an increased investment in teacher effectiveness leads to improved teacher performance and or improved student learning would be helpful in making this case to policy makers at the state level.
  4. Some states have realized that to achieve quality teaching without an increase in resources, they have to reduce the number of students served. To hire more full-time teachers instead of part-time (as Thomas Jones compellingly argued here) at fair salaries (as Stephanie Moran mentioned), to provide them with substantive, in-depth (and, as Stephanie Denning mentions, paid) professional development, to keep them in the field, to enable innovation like these teacher effectiveness competencies to be used well, unless funding is increased states must reduce the number of students served and serve them better.

I'd like to hear how others think we can address the issue of added costs for teacher effectiveness.

David J. Rosen
djrosen123@gmail.com


Subject: [PD 6721] from Renae, What do we know about how the competencies will be used?
From: Renae Harrison
Date: Fri May 18 13:48:33 EDT 2012

To follow up on David's and Bonita's comments, in order to learn what the field is willing to do, and would like to do, COABE will soon be launching a practitioner survey to gain feedback on initiatives like the national credentialing, as well as on the development of an online portal to connect adult educators to higher ed degree institutions. Please encourage adult education staff to complete the survey. It will be out next week.

Renae Harrison, Ph.D.

COABE President

Hardin County Adult and Community Education


Subject: [PD 6738] Re: ProfessionalDevelopment Digest, Vol 78, Issue 22
From: McLendon, Lennox
Date: Tue May 22 17:20:39 EDT 2012

Greetings All,

Sorry to be so slow in getting back into the national teacher credential discussion. This part-time job I have is keeping me busy.

I have enjoyed the discussion and thoughts about the pros and cons, ins and outs of a national credential. At present, we have more questions than we have answers as is to be expected when venturing into new territory.

I think the idea is to write a grant to acquire funding to answer those questions:

  • to work with Mary Jane Schmitt who has identified the math competencies (content knowledge and methodologies) adult teachers need;
  • to develop options for state and local programs to support teachers acquiring those competencies that might include online courses, incorporating them into the state pd system, independent study and others;
  • to develop options for teachers demonstrating those competencies;
  • to develop a system to house the transcripts; and
  • other supports we may not have thought of yet.

It's not like we know the answers to these questions. The COABE survey that is out now will inform discussions about how the proposal will be framed.

I cannot speak for the entire working group, but I have approached this challenge from my role as a part time adult education teacher who had little preparation for teaching mathematics. Mary Jane's research has identified what I needed to know (content and methods) to be a good adult ed math teacher. So how do we make that accessible to teachers? How do we make it appealing and palatable so even part time teachers want to know that content and those methods? How do the state and local programs support that attainment and reward them for doing so? The proposal we are beginning will seek funds to answer those questions and develop those options.

We are adult educators. Our teachers are adults. Surely we can figure out how to provide them the education they need and want. That is what we do; enable adults to learn. It is truly a complex task but one worth doing. Mary Jane recommended we slow down the process until June when her latest research will be available. So soon we can crank back up the work group and continue to develop the funding proposal.

When Andy Tyskiewicz, then COABE President and I began this conversation, we hoped that having COABE representing the teachers and program managers collaborate with the state directors (NAEPDC), we had a really good chance of not only creating research based pd that teachers need and want, but we could also have the state backing needed to support teachers acquiring the competencies.

I believe it is worth a try.

Lennox McLendon


Topic 23: Domain 4--Pursues Professionalism and Continually Builds Knowledge and Skills

Subject: [PD 6692] Domain 4

From: Fedele-McLeod, Mariann

Date: Thu May 17 10:19:27 EDT 2012

Dear Colleagues,

I invite you to continue to comment on the competencies themselves, and specifically Domain 4: Pursues Professionalism and Continually Builds Knowledge and Skills. This domain is concerned with the relationship the instructor has to the profession of teaching and the school and classroom environments and how they comport and conduct themselves as professionals. It describes the pursuit, acquisition, and construction of knowledge that is expected of an adult education instructor and is essential for the development of skills and knowledge needed to perform in the first and second domains. Therefore, this domain can be viewed as enabling the overall performance in the role of instructor. In the Plans and Delivers High Quality Instruction domain, competencies require a demonstration of the underlying pedagogic and content knowledge that an instructor possesses and is expected to build as a professional. Performance in this domain is also reliant on the ability to collaborate and communicate effectively and in multiple settings with a diverse stakeholder groups; it is therefore highly interdependent with the third domain in the model.

4. Pursues Professionalism and Continually Builds Knowledge and Skills

  • 4.1 Engages in Independent and Collaborative Professional Development to Build Pedagogic and Content Area Knowledge
  • 4.2 Participates in Professional Network and Learning Communities
  • 4.3 Refines Instructional Practice through Reflection on Experience, Evidence, and Data
  • 4.4 Participates in and Contributes to Program Improvement Efforts

In your view, do these capture the performance of an effective teacher? What would you change or add? Feel free to share examples from your own practice that demonstrate any of these competencies.

Sincerely,

Mariann

Mariann Fedele-McLeod

Principal Researcher

American Institutes for Research

Washington, D.C.


Subject: [PD 6698] Domain 4 - Application?
From: Thompson, Duren J
Date: Thu May 17 14:17:36 EDT 2012

Mariann,

Missing, I feel, from the competencies at level 4 is something that talks about shows evidence of thoughtful *application* of PD to instruction.

While the other competencies in some way would reflect this, all too often we see good teachers become rigid - they use what worked for them 5, 10 , or 20 years ago, and while they *attend* PD events and "participate" - they have a very cynical approach to changing their instruction. We also see folks who are great and gung ho in PD environments, but whose instruction does not seem to reflect what they have learned (oh, I'm just too busy, haven't got around to it, etc.). And lastly we see folks who 'try out' everything they get in a PD environment without careful thought to proper integration with environment or current practice. These folks then either discard the new idea(s) as useless - due to hurried implementation - or have a scattered, and ineffective instructional approach, as they hop from "new thing" to "new thing" thinking that they are doing what is right, "...because they said so at PD."

Change *is* hard...and it takes work to get over the "what I've always done" and to effectively integrate change. Competent teachers apply what they've gathered from PD in a thoughtful, effective way.
Just my two cents - I hop back now to my mountain of work, creating digital PD! :)

Duren Thompson

Center for Literacy Studies - Creating SolUTions

University of Tennessee, Knoxville


Subject: [PD 6699] Re: Domain 4 - Application?
From: Hinton, Phyllis [ED]
Date: Thu May 17 14:54:00 EDT 2012

There are so many great ideas shared and thoughts to ponder, which I really appreciate! Domain 4 as is seems supportable, although change and work over time would be needed by all of us. I wonder if "androgogic" may be used in 4.1 instead of "pedgagogic?"

Phyllis Hinton


Subject: [PD 6702] Re: Domain 4 - Application?
From: Kimberly A. Johnson
Date: Thu May 17 15:21:46 EDT 2012

Good point, Duren, but I wonder about including something like "thoughtful application of PD to instruction" in a list of teacher competencies. All of us doing PD do it with the hope that teachers will actually apply what they learn, but research and experience has shown that this really needs time and support to make happen. That is often external to the teacher, and means that someone must be willing to provide the resources (including time) to really make changes happen. A teacher with the very best of intentions may simply not be able to apply something learned in PD if there is no time provided for thoughtful reflection, or time to tweak the curriculum, or supports to try out new ideas, have them not work well, and then go back and try again, etc.

For example, we integrate some peer work into our numeracy initiative where teachers can work together to plan instructional ideas, observe each other teaching, then come back to reflect on implementation and impact on learning. We see thoughtful application of the PD when this happens. But it wouldn't happen without the state providing funding to cover program costs for substitute teachers so teachers can meet, plan, travel (especially in rural areas) and leave their own classrooms to observe someone else's.
Just another reminder, I guess, about the challenges that face our teachers...

Kim Johnson

ATLAS/Hamline University

St Paul, MN


Topic 24: Teacher Qualifications in 1934

Subject: [PD 6694] Teacher qualifications in 1934
From: Tom Sticht
Date: Thu May 17 11:44:31 EDT 2012

Colleagues: In light of the present discussion on teacher competencies, I thought you might find the recommendations for Qualifications and Preparation of Teachers of interest. The recommendations are from Chapter IV of the 1934 edition of Manual for Teachers of Adult Elementary Students, which was a revision of the 1930 Manual for Teachers of Adult Illiterates by William S. Gray, whom many of you may recognize as the "father" of the fabled Dick and Jane readers.

The recommendations for teacher qualifications are just three. Here they are in abridged format:

  1. A reasonably broad background of general education. (A relatively broad education is essential if teachers are to understand clearly and to deal intelligently with many of the problems that arise in teaching adults)
  2. Specific training relating definitely to the problems of teaching. (particularly to the problems peculiar to this work and with techniques necessary for effective teaching)
  3. Personal characteristics which qualify the teacher for successful work with adults. (The teacher must have an attractive personality)

The chapter goes on to outline some of the education and training that teachers of these adult elementary students would find useful. It also lays out programs of instruction for native-born illiterates and foreign-born adults of limited education.

The Manual was published by the American Association for Adult Education in cooperation with the United States office of Education in the Department of the Interior. I photocopied a copy I found and obtained by interlibrary loan from the library at the University of Denver in Colorado.

Tom Sticht


Topic 25: System Supports

Subject: [PD 6690] System supports
From: Fedele-McLeod, Mariann
Date: Thu May 17 10:09:43 EDT 2012

Dear Colleagues,

Many thanks to all of you who have been commenting. I will address some of your posts a bit later in the day.
Throughout the discussion over the last few days there have been a number of comments regarding the challenges and constraints the adult education system itself poses to the effectiveness of teachers. Some of the main concerns were with regards to: the nature of the workforce which is primarily part time, inequitable pay and compensation, limited resources for PD and training, and varying standards that guide hiring & placement.

Effective teacher operate within effective systems.
What resources, supports, PD are needed in order to support implementation and use of the competencies at the state and program levels and to improve the effectiveness of teachers?

Sincerely,

Mariann

Mariann Fedele-McLeod

Principal Researcher

American Institutes for Research

Washington, D.C.


Subject: [PD 6691] Competencies and Teacher Effectiveness Related to Pay
From: Stephanie Moran
Date: Thu May 17 10:19:11 EDT 2012

And another implied point at the heart of David's questions/reflections here is how poorly most adult educators are paid. Vis-à-vis the GED scores, at any rate, the lowest scores remain math and writing, two of the most labor-intensive domains, where one's experience and automaticity with the rules, principles, formulas, and ways of teaching math and writing so students understand and can apply skills are really crucial. I am not dismissing reading because without reading skills, the GED is simply out of reach--but more students come to us not knowing much math and although they can write, they cannot write well, fluently, or deeply.

The reasons for this are many, not the least of which is the GED test itself, which allowed shallowness to reign for more than a decade--and that one issue will be rectified in some measure with the new test.
Another issue is pay, like it or not. Many older, experienced educators are bailing for exactly the reasons David mentions: In the context of massive recent and continuing program funding cuts in some states....[and] my unscientific efforts to take the pulse of the field I find that a surprisingly large number of practitioners are weary or exhausted, feeling mandated to death, impoverished or laid off. I wonder how many practitioners are eager to implement new initiatives, regardless of their quality.

One of our best teachers is leaving the day program in large part because she detests the continuing regulations and burdens placed upon her--and without the myriad of benefits that most K-12 public school teachers earn. I hesitate to say that AE gets what it pays for because our ED goes to extraordinary lengths to pay us decently, but since I know that our AEC is unusual in that regard, I must ask how we can expect to hire the best and brightest given the lack of support for AE from funding sources. How many of you are administrators in reality but teachers on paper for funding purposes? How many of you must expend a good deal of energy running after dollars that could be better devoted to teaching?

And how is the added expertise that GED 2014 demands going to be paid for? PD funding alone scares me.
So-competencies are a reasonable thing to expect of all teachers, and it is also reasonable that compensation for meeting and exceeding those competencies is also a given—which it is not. If I were not married with a second income in my household, I would not have taken this position, or if I had, I certainly would have bailed early on. Is being married with two incomes the criterion we want to use for hiring teachers?

Stephanie Moran


Subject: [PD 6697] Re: System supports
From: Stephanie Denning
Date: Thu May 17 14:01:20 EDT 2012

In our state, since many of us who work in AE are part-time the main resource we need is the money to support our teachers training in the competency areas. I have noticed, being a part of a grant funded Family Literacy program that only allows us part-time work hours, is that full-time administrators are the ones who get the training money, and we are generally left on our own to take classes or attend conferences. For me personally, it is too much of a financial burden to spend much on Professional Development. Resources could include inexpensive PD trainers that can come to us, instead us of coming to them.

Stephanie Denning

ESOL Instructor

Wyoming Family Literacy


Subject: [PD 6701] What resources, supports, PD are needed
From: Hillary Gardner
Date: Thu May 17 15:17:38 EDT 2012

Hi Mariann,

I haven't been able to keep up with all the comments this week, so I am going to try and respond to your latest question, in particular in regards to domain 4: "What resources, supports, PD are needed in order to support implementation and use of the competencies at the state and program levels and to improve the effectiveness of teachers?"

First of all, I would like to say that the most meaningful professional development that caused the most change in my teaching has been project-based learning and occurred over a period of time (3-6 months); that is, a series of workshops in which I was asked to create something of (potential) value to the community, documenting evidence of student progress, and reflecting on how the learning strategies might apply to other students or classrooms.

This kind of PD is practically disappearing to be replaced with "free, online" PD. It is costly to support this kind of PD and the only way I could participate in it was because I was a full-time teacher with a program manager who valued my participation in these opportunities. Stipends and honoraria were always helpful because, as I think many have already mentioned, I always needed to supplement a tight income. Scholarships to attend conferences are usually few and far between. If the program can't pay for these initiatives (because it's not valued as a criteria for improvement), who will?

Secondly, I am most curious right now about what causes a teacher to change. Will knowledge of these competencies cause teachers to change? Will understanding how these competencies are connected to research through the rationale for inclusion cause teachers to change? Lately, I have been trying to get teachers to use self-evaluation instruments because in a limited timeframe that I have for PD, I can create an environment of active learning in which PD is happening via a conversation with themselves (via reflection/evaluation) rather than from outside or above. Some interesting examples are:

  • Learner Persistence Program Self-Assessment of Instructional Strategies
  • Learning Works individual professional development plan
  • Chapters from the book "Am I TeachingWell? Self-Evaluation Strategies for Effective Teachers"

I think two other areas of concern that maybe haven't been mentioned on list are publishers and teacher training programs. Some teachers prefer to follow a textbook because it's the easiest way if you're not paid prep time. As long as publishers are producing textbooks that don't reflect the values of the adult learning community, it can be hard to find a way to help teachers to create an alternative way.

Of course, it's very difficult to create a textbook that reflects differentiated learning, student goals, and specific student challenges and many of the other excellent competencies named. I'm pointing a finger at textbooks and teacher training programs only because a lot of times I work with teachers who come with habits learned elsewhere that they don't want to change, given that they may have already invested a lot of time and training using other models.

I would like to conclude by saying that I consider myself an inheritor of Paulo Freire's work. I sometimes feel like the concept of social justice via education is fading fast these days. Nonetheless, I wanted to say that one of the most valuable things I've inherited from Freire is the concept of teaching as personal narrative.

I respect and appreciate the places in our field where teachers are able to publish reflections and teaching narratives. Ultimately, we are dealing more in the classroom with social skills and building a community than with data indicators, so I feel like it's important to continue to recognize the humanistic side of our pursuits.

Oh, and I think there's "need" in 2.7 that should be a "needed"! [competency 3.1.]
So I guess my initial wish list would include:

  • paid prep time for teachers to document how their planning reflects these competencies
  • paid, project-based PD
  • PD paid at the same rate (or higher?) as instruction
  • stipends, honoraria, scholarships to support participation in professional networks or subscriptions
  • tax breaks for the purchase of educational materials similar to K-12 teachers
  • opportunities for teachers to engage in and share personal teaching narratives as related to the competencies
  • funders that fund programs who demonstrate use of the competencies to use the competencies
  • a takeover of the textbook publishing world
  • coherence between model competencies (how do these competencies reflect EFF or TESOL competencies)?

Hillary Gardner

ESOL Professional Development Coordinator

CUNY Adult Literacy Programs
www.literacy.cuny.edu


Subject: [PD 6705] Re: What resources, supports, PD are needed
From: Susan Gaer
Date: Thu May 17 16:45:48 EDT 2012

I have been reading most of the emails from this discussion and I acknowledging the challenging circumstances in which we are currently in. However I believe that these types of changes are necessary to validate us as a field and might really lead to a change in our situation as we validate ourselves.

So I am thought about what has made me grow as an instructor. First I am really a collaborator. I need collaboration to thrive. So any chance that I get to get PD is going to help me meet more people to collaborate with. That is what drives me to PD. Next, because I am a collaborator, I naturally want ALL my students to collaborate as well.

When I am discouraged (some of us are just not natural collaborators) I try and find an answer that would propel the students toward my point of view. This is very egotistical, but it really is hard to see outside the box you create for yourself. I think because I am so driven, that I find ways to make positive change for my classroom.

That being said...I think that there will never be a solution for everyone. I feel strongly that without criteria, we will never have equality in our field. So I am all for working on the competencies and not thinking about why these won't work. Let's develop competencies that work for us and then figure out ways to use them fairly and without blame to elevate our field to at least to the level of K-12 in the eyes of the government.

At no other time in our history has so much of adult education been on the chopping block. This is unprecedented. Unprecedented change is the moment to change the paradigm. So let's "Seize the Day" I think we should continue adding our input into the competencies regardless of the current situation in the field.
I haven't had a chance to read them adequately to make any comments directly at this current time. However, I value the expertise of the list to help guide my thoughts.

Susan Gaer


Subject: [PD 6707] Re: What resources, supports, PD are needed
From: Lisa Mullins
Date: Thu May 17 20:47:06 EDT 2012

Susan,

Very well said. Thank you for articulating what I was thinking. Adult Education is on its way to great change. We need change. Adult Education needs to move forward. These changes can bring Adult Education to the Professional level we all seek. These competencies are one step. Let's move ahead.

Lisa Mullins


Subject: [PD 6710] Responding to recent posts
From: Thomas Jones
Date: Fri May 18 00:16:15 EDT 2012

I'd like to respond to recent posts about PD.

To me it doesn't seem fair that part-time teachers should be required to fulfill the same outcomes for their students as full-timers.

Ideally, the field should move more and more to hiring full-timers than part-timers. Current part-timers should be grandfathered in to full-time. Perhaps more people would enter the field knowing there were more full-time opportunities. Nobody wants to go for a BA or MA in adult ed. knowing the most they might get is part-time. That's silly. Right now and in general, there are more part-time positions than full-time. It could largely be due to funding issues (programs don't have the money).

Even though adult ed. is not a business, in my state at least dept. of ed. is treating it like one when it counts the numbers (which is a fed. requirement). So the feds are treating it like a business, in a sense. In that case, most businesses worth their salt will hire full-time to obtain talent and keep the person invested in the company (invested in terms of time, not money). Right now companies want to get people cheap, so they'll hire part-time, but my guess is part-timers won't hang around. Why should I stay at a place that only values me part-time? The moment I'm hired part-time, I'll start looking for full-time work.

Our work is a profession, but let's face it we should be able to make a living at it. Some of our students have better jobs than we do (in terms of pay) with benefits!

What does this have to do with PD? If you have a part-timer, your PD expectations should be lower because the person isn't going to be as invested in your organization as a full-timer is.

Someone mentioned getting tax write-offs in a recent post. You CAN get a write-off. You take the $250 educator expense every year. Talk to an accountant. If you are part-time and pay for your own health care, you can take a tax write-off on medical bills and health insurance payments.

Making teachers full-time would go a long way to professionalizing the field. When students find out a teacher is part-time, they say, "Teacher, what happened?" because many of them are full-time at their jobs. I would ask the same question: What happened? As long as adult ed. continues to hire mostly part-time, the field will never be respectable. Students will perceive it as a joke because they know part-time people could leave tomorrow.

Thomas Jones


Subject: [PD 6711] Re: Responding to recent posts
From: Lenore Morales
Date: Fri May 18 08:45:10 EDT 2012

As an underemployed, part-time teacher, I agree completely. Thank you for your post, Thomas.

Lenore Morales, M.A., TESOL


Subject: [PD 6712] Re: Responding to recent posts
From: Anderson, Philip
Date: Fri May 18 09:13:26 EDT 2012

Thomas Jones said:

"Someone mentioned getting tax write-offs in a recent post. You CAN get a write-off. You take the $250 educator expense every year. Talk to an accountant. If you are part-time and pay for your own health care, you can take a tax write-off on medical bills and health insurance payments."

This is from the IRS website:

Topic 458 - Educator Expense Deduction

If you are an eligible educator, you can deduct up to $250 ($500 if married filing joint and both spouses are educators, but not more than $250 each) of any unreimbursed expenses [otherwise deductible as a trade or business expense] you paid or incurred for books, supplies, computer equipment (including related software and services), other equipment, and supplementary materials that you use in the classroom. For courses in health and physical education, expenses for supplies are qualified expenses only if they are related to athletics. This deduction is for expenses paid or incurred during the tax year. The deduction is claimed on either line 23 of Form 1040 (PDF) or line 16 of Form 1040A (PDF).

You are an eligible educator if, for the tax year, you meet the following requirements:

  • You are a kindergarten through grade 12:
  • Teacher
  • Instructor
  • Counselor
  • Principal, or
  • Aide, and
  • You work at least 900 hours a school year in a school that provides elementary or secondary education, as determined under state law.

Qualified expenses are deductible only to the extent the amount of such expenses exceeds the following amounts for the tax year:

  • The interest on qualified U.S. savings bonds that you excluded from income because you paid qualified higher education expenses,
  • Any distribution from a qualified tuition program that you excluded from income, or
  • Any tax-free withdrawals from your Coverdell Education Savings Account.

For additional information regarding educator expense deductions see Publication 529, Miscellaneous Deductions, and Publication 17, Your Federal Income Tax.

Philip Anderson

Florida Department Adult ESOL Program


Subject: [PD 6715] Re: Responding to recent posts
From: Kane, Brenna (DWD)
Date: Fri May 18 10:10:00 EDT 2012

THANK YOU! I knew it wasn't possible to get any tax relief as an adult educator. This was very informative.

Brenna Kane

Education Specialist

Worcester, MA


Subject: [PD 6713] Supporting the Effectiveness of Teachers
From: Jackie Taylor
Date: Fri May 18 09:54:33 EDT 2012

Good morning, Everyone ~

Thank you for your thoughtful insights and reflections. Today is the last "official" day of our guest discussion though you should feel free to continue the conversations for as long as you'd like.

Regarding higher education degree programs: actually, there are many reasons why individuals pursue higher education degrees in adult education, self-fulfillment being a big factor that's been previously discussed here. In fact, I assume that there are many on this list who have higher ed degrees in adult education and work part time. And many more who have higher education degrees in another field but work in adult education.
But in thinking about competencies and supporting the effectiveness of teachers, we've discussed that the field needs support in creating full-time positions without necessarily sacrificing services. We've also discussed that the field needs support in improving teacher working conditions, like paid prep time and paid release time to attend professional development, so that adult educators will be able to improve the quality of instruction, make a living wage, find the work rewarding, and stay.

Other supports discussed include the need for opportunities to share and network with colleagues, and to see how the model competencies may fit with other existing state or national frameworks and standards.
If you'd like to review this week's posts, the transcripts in the ALE Wiki are updated and linked by threaded topics of discussion: Teacher Effectiveness in Adult Education

Looking forward,

Jackie

Jackie Taylor

PD List Facilitator


Subject: [PD 6716] Re: Supporting the Effectiveness of Teachers
From: Fedele-McLeod, Mariann
Date: Fri May 18 10:30:47 EDT 2012

Hi Jackie and all,

As Jackie noted today is the last official day of discussion, and I encourage everyone to continue to send comments on the competencies as well as to share information about the types of efforts taking place in their state or programs to improve teacher effectiveness. Perhaps most importantly, I ask you to also continue posting your recommendations for the resources, supports, and PD needed to ensure use and implementation of the competencies.

Regards,

Mariann


Subject: [PD 6722] Re: Supporting the Effectiveness of Teachers
From: Fedele-McLeod, Mariann
Date: Fri May 18 14:47:22 EDT 2012

Thank you very much for the work you have done this week and last Jackie both in terms of organization and facilitation...as always your efforts have been exemplary!

This is the last day of the formal discussion, but I would like to invite list members to continue to consider the competencies and to send their specific recommendations for revision to the project. Please send your comments to TEproject@air.org by June 1st for them to be considered as we move forward with the process of revision.

I haven't responded to everyone's post directly, but I thank the very many of you who have illuminated what teacher effectiveness means in the context of adult education, and also those of you who have provided direct input on the competencies.

Our next steps as a project will be to organize and analyze the comment on the competencies that have been made here this week, as well as those comments that have been made in the course of the face-to-face workshops we have held at the various national conferences, and that have been received at the email address I note above. Additionally, the comments you have made this week will be contribute to the development of the resource toolkit the project is creating to support implementation of the competencies at the state and local level.

The next draft of the competencies will be used in service to a field test we will be holding in 2013 with state partners to put the competencies and the resource toolkit in to action, and to further test and refine the products. Subsequent to that field test the competencies will once again be revised and the final version will be completed in summer of 2014.

I will continue to respond to postings today, and once again thank Jackie, LINCS, and all of you for this tremendous opportunity...the project is much the richer for it!

Mariann


Subject: [PD 6723] Moving Forward in Supporting the Effectiveness of Teachers
From: Jackie Taylor
Date: Fri May 18 15:57:04 EDT 2012

Thank you, Mariann, for joining us this week as our guest and for sharing your knowledge and experiences. You've certainly helped to illuminate how competencies can support the effectiveness of teachers, what's next, and what needs to happen. Everyone who participated has given much food for thought. I'm wondering, now that we've had this discussion, what has stood out to others. Or, what surprised you?

What stood out to me most is the need to work together in elevating the adult education teaching profession in all areas where it needs support. Clearly efforts are under way in some areas, but are they in all areas? Each of us has levers we can push to make that system change happen. What levers will you push, or what will you do as a result of this discussion?

Looking forward to hearing from you ~

Jackie

Jackie Taylor

Professional Development List Facilitator


Subject: [PD 6724] Re: Moving Forward in Supporting the Effectiveness of Teachers
From: Fedele-McLeod, Mariann
Date: Fri May 18 16:13:57 EDT 2012

Thank you very much Jackie and all for having me as a guest. It has been a great experience. I look forward to continuing to follow the discussion and to reflecting on the professional wisdom shared this week.
Thank you!

Mariann


Subject: [PD 6725] Re: Supporting the Effectiveness of Teachers
From: Anderson, Philip
Date: Fri May 18 16:21:15 EDT 2012

Thanks, Mariann, for your huge effort to bring us up to speed on this effort to create teacher effectiveness competencies.

When OVAE did a training on content standards writing in 2004-2005, I kept a document for reviewing standards that had 6 criteria for good standards/competencies. After doing the project with OVAE, Susan Pimentel came to Florida for a year's work project with 25 adult education practitioners on our state adult education standards for ABE, GED Prep and ESOL.

Below is an excerpt from the document for reviewing standards. I will send the entire document separately to Jackie for posting to the archives of the discussion, if possible. The two criteria that seemed to be most important to our practitioners in Florida were to make sure that the standards were measurable, and clear and intelligible. The verbs used in the statement had to be something that could be easily measured by an observer or the teacher. Also, it was better to have just one concept that would be taught, one skill to be done, and level of cognitive demand than to have several in each one. We also learned to consolidate standards that had a similar theme around "power" or "anchor" standards that were absolutely essential. This helped to reduce the length of our content standards.

Rigorous

Rigorous standards contain the essential concepts, knowledge, and skills that can be applied in a variety of contexts. They reflect high-level skills that will allow learners to meet the demands of the 21st century and set high expectations for all learners at appropriate levels.

Specific

For any set of standards to guide instruction and the development of curricula and assessments, the standards must be specific enough to assure a common understanding of the expectations at each level. Standards should provide sufficient contextual detail and a strong sense of what learners and teachers are expected to do.

Comprehensive and Coherent

A comprehensive set of standards reflects current research and has a balanced focus on the essential knowledge in the content area without any significant gaps.

Measurable

Content standards have to be sufficiently detailed to provide clear expectations of what learners know and are able to do at different levels. They specify results that can be measured and communicated to stakeholders.

Clear and Intelligible

Content standards are meaningful to students, teachers, and the general public when they are clearly written. Multiple audiences will use the standards, so they need to send a straightforward message about what students know and are able to do.

Manageable

Manageability of standards considers both the quantity and the presentation of the standards. The number of standards must reflect what is feasible to teach and learn within the time constraints of the adult education system. Content standards need to be organized in a user-friendly format for all stakeholders.
You mentioned the TESOL Standards for Adult ESL Programs, published in 2003. Perhaps you also mentioned the 2008 publication Standards for ESL/EFL Teachers of Adults, which addresses teacher standards and competencies, and I missed seeing it. But, if not, below is a condensed list of the domains and standards that can be found at Standards for ESL/EFL Teachers of Adults Framework.

Domain: Planning

Standard 1: Teachers plan instruction to promote learning and meet learner goals, and modify plans to assure learner engagement and achievement.

Domain: Instructing

Standard 2: Teachers create supportive environments that engage all learners in purposeful learning and promote respectful classroom interactions.

Domain: Assessing

Standard 3: Teachers recognize the importance of and are able to gather and interpret information about learning and performance to promote the continuous intellectual and linguistic development of each learner. Teachers use knowledge of student performance to make decisions about planning and instruction "on the spot" and for the future. Teachers involve learners in determining what will be assessed and provide constructive feedback to learners, based on assessments of their learning.

Domain: Identity and Context

Standard 4: Teachers understand the importance of who learners are and how their communities, heritages and goals shape learning and expectations of learning. Teachers recognize the importance how context contributes to identity formation and therefore influences learning. Teachers use this knowledge of identity and settings in planning, instructing, and assessing.

Domain: Language Proficiency

Standard 5: Teachers demonstrate proficiency in social, business/workplace and academic English. Proficiency in speaking, listening, reading and writing means that a teacher is functionally equivalent to a native speaker with some higher education.

Domain: Learning

Standard 6: Teachers draw on their knowledge of language and adult language learning to understand the processes by which learners acquire a new language in and out of classroom settings. They use this knowledge to support adult language learning.

Domain: Content

Standard 7: Teachers understand that language learning is most likely to occur when learners are trying to use the language for genuine communicative purposes. Teachers understand that the content of the language courser is the language that learners need in order to listen, to talk about, to read and write about a subject matter or content area. Teachers design their lessons to help learners acquire the language they need to successfully communicate in the subject or content areas they want/need to learn about.

Domain: Commitment and Professionalism

Standard 8: Teachers continue to grow in their understanding of the relationship of second language teaching and learning to the community of English language teaching professionals, the broader teaching community, and communities at large, and use these understandings to inform and change themselves and these communities.

Phil Anderson

FLDOE Adult ESOL Program Specialist


Topic 26: Teacher Effectiveness vs Student Retention

Subject: [PD 6736] Teacher effectiveness vs. student retention
From: Thomas Jones
Date: Tue May 22 16:04:35 EDT 2012

Mr. Sticht:

I saw a presentation you gave in RI a few years ago, and I really enjoyed it.

My response to your e-mail is twofold:

  1. Why haven't the states gone back to the federal govt and pressed for the need to make the working situation of ABE teachers much better than it is? If the govt passed this legislation with the intention of improving the lives of people by transitioning them into a better job or college, the same consideration needs to be made for teachers. They are grossly underpaid and I feel exploited because many of them are in effect adjunct (part-time) instructors with no benefits.
  2. This dovetails into my second point which is that many of our students are already employed, some in good paying jobs, others not. Those who get paid more than $9/hour typically have Blue Cross/Blue Shield Benefits. They have a better deal than our teachers! Many adult ed. teachers are laid off in the summer.

I believe we need to call for a radical restructuring of the system to make our teachers less transient. The majority of them, if they work part-time, do so for a short period of time (two years or so) and then move on to bigger and better things. Whether full-time or part-time, all teachers are laid off in the summer. Come on, this is joke. Even our students, if they work $9/hour, work in the summer!

Did you see the recent article in Chronicle of Higher Ed? It talked about how a huge number of adjunct (part-time) instructors live on food stamps and welfare to pay their bills because they can't afford the salary their adjunct pay gives them, and they have no benefits. And many of them work at two colleges and have families. Many of them have student loans to pay off.

This is absurd, and it is sad, in a country with as much opportunity as ours, nobody should have to go through this. I could understand if it were only a handful of adjuncts and adjuncts who were complaining, but it is a large number of people many are not complaining and instead are knuckling under.

So before we start talking about teacher effectiveness, requirements, student outcomes, we ought at the same time to focus on making the lives of our teachers better. Our purpose is to make the lives of our students better. But what about teachers?

Thomas Jones


Subject: [PD 6741] Re: Teacher effectiveness vs. student retention
From: David Rosen
Date: Tue May 22 19:12:01 EDT 2012

Thomas Jones and others,

I share your frustration, Thomas, concerning the salaries, lack of benefits, and poor working conditions of a very large number of adult basic education teachers. It brings into focus whether or not we do have a national Adult Education and Literacy System and, for that matter, a K-12 or higher education system in the U.S. I think it would be useful if we did, but I don't believe that we do. Historically in the U.S. K-12 education has been the prerogative of school districts, and to some extent, at least for the purposes of regulation, of the states in which they are located. Only recently have we seen efforts to develop sets of national standards in K-12, but even these are not really national (the "Common Core State Standards (CCSS)" are a set agreed on by most states, but not all. This may be one of the reasons that at least one state has issued an RFP to develop an alternative to the 2014 GED(r) test -- because it will be based on the CCSS.
My experience has been (is this true in every state?) that the state agency responsible for adult education (Elementary and Secondary Ed, Higher Ed, Labor and Workforce Development, etc.) does not have the power to decide on teachers' salaries and benefits. That's a decision left to school systems, colleges, universities, libraries, community-based organizations, volunteer organizations and other providers of adult basic education services.

So what can be done about this?

Here are some possibilities:

  1. In some cases at least, state agencies responsible for funding adult basic education can offer incentives to programs they fund (that isn't all programs) to hire full-time teachers with benefits and to pay salaries that are reasonable.
  2. There have been efforts in some states to organize teachers in bargaining units.
  3. At least one state is exploring an organizing strategy that was inspired by a successful effort of Early Childhood Education providers

And there may be others.

David J. Rosen
djrosen123@gmail.com


Subject: [PD 6742] Re: Teacher effectiveness vs. student retention
From: Jeff McClelland
Date: Tue May 22 21:44:27 EDT 2012

I think it's really telling that this past week's discussion on identifying teacher competencies has generated strong reactions from many of us about our working conditions as teachers. And I think it's crucial to raise these issues. More or less I agree with all of the draft competencies, but most of them require additional time demands on teachers outside the classroom - not just in terms of our lesson planning and compiling/analyzing student data, but also in terms of developing our skills, collaborating with colleagues/programs and keeping up to date on the research. Yet most of us are paid only for our in-class instruction, and if some of us lucky to get paid for very minimal hours of lesson planning and PD, we still do some much more than what we're paid for.

In this current anti-teacher climate in the US (targeting mainly K-12), I think identifying effective teaching competencies could be an important strategy to articulate the range of skills and expertise needed in our profession. But I also have my doubts that such a list will translate into added recognition and (as many have pointed out), how do you measure expertise in these competencies. Will professionalizing our profession (through evidence-based research and standardization) result in us getting paid as professionals?
Following on Dave's email, I'd like to share a little more on the effort in Massachusetts to organize on the model of the Early Childhood Education providers. The original impetus was around exploring the idea of a non-traditional union representing adult ed practitioners statewide that would negotiate directly with the state department of Education around working conditions for all teachers in programs that get state funding. But right now we are at the exploratory stage of inviting practitioners statewide into a conversation around why you do this work and what ideas you have for improving your working conditions. For more information or to get involved, you can go to this website: http://www.mcae.net/mcaeblog/

I'd be interested in hearing about other strategies for obtaining a living wage for adult education teachers.

Jeff McClelland


Subject: [PD 6743] Re: Teacher effectiveness vs. student retention
From: Schwarz, Robin
Date: Tue May 22 21:52:51 EDT 2012

Thomas-- your very succinct points make me wince as I remember only last year being an adjunct at THREE schools trying to make ends meet and having NO insurance, while full-time teachers teaching the same ESL classes were making 60K or better with full benefits. We adjuncts were not even allowed to use the fitness center at one college I was at!! And, as you point out, many of my students were fully employed at hotels, phone sales centers, and other jobs where they not only worked 12 months, but mostly had some health insurance. The vast majority of teachers at the community colleges where I worked were adjuncts--a sweet deal for the colleges, for sure.

Currently I am doing occasional tutoring in an adult education program, which I can afford to do only because I am now fully supported by Medicare and Social Security!! I just returned from an hour of tutoring that required over an hour of additional time to travel--essentially a net loss for me.

I train--and visit- teachers all over and am appalled not only at how little they earn but how much is asked of them (and I won't go into the working conditions so many face...). The transiency of adult education teachers is a huge contributor to the lack of professionalization in the field--no one wants to attend PD sessions for which they are not paid. In the PD project I have helped develop in one New England state, teachers who are chosen to participate are compensated just a little more for participating in a one hour webinar once a month and, if they are lucky, taking advantage of the opportunity to observe a colleague who is a veteran in our project. These are crumbs, as you know.

I couldn't agree more that the discussion of credentialing and standards is hollow without an all-out effort to make working conditions for teachers worth getting credentialed for. This conundrum has always puzzled me-- why would anyone go to the work and time to get 'credentialed' if it makes virtually no difference in their employment opportunities and conditions?

Of course advocates from COABE, ProLiteracy and other organizations fight hard to get congress to recognize the problems of our field, but still we are stuck with this unworkable system, as you point out.

Robin H. Lovrien, Ph.D.

Consultant in Adult ESOL/Learning Difficulties

Steuben, ME


Subject: [PD 6744] Evidence-based PD & system factors impacting teacher change
From: Jackie Taylor
Date: Wed May 23 09:51:55 EDT 2012

Hi everyone,

I think many of us share Thomas' concerns and thanks to Jeff for sharing the new statewide effort under way to improve teacher working conditions in MA. I wanted to remind us of the research base on this issue for our field.

Featured in the new LINCS Evidence-based Professional Development Resource Collection is the chapter from NCSALL's Review of Adult Learning and Literacy titled Research on Professional Development and Teacher Change: Implications for Adult Basic Education, By Cristine Smith and Marilyn Gillespie. This chapter reviews K-12 and ABE research on how teacher professional development impacts student achievement. In it they discuss findings from the NCSALL Professional Development Study How Teachers Change. From that study grew a report that investigated the relationship between teacher change and teachers' working conditions, which the researchers defined as: "access to (a) resources, (b) professional development and information, (c) colleagues and directors, (d) decision making, and (e) well-supported jobs [i.e. "full-time, relatively well-paid, and stable jobs that include benefits (medical coverage, paid vacation and sick time, pension plans, etc.), paid preparation time, and paid professional development release time" ]. They found that the following factors influenced the amount and type of change that ABE teachers (n = 100) demonstrated after participating in professional development:

  • "Access to prep time. Those who received prep time were more likely to change.53
  • "Access to benefits. Those teachers who received one or more benefits from their adult education job (health or dental insurance, vacation, etc.) were more likely to change.54
  • "Program situation. Teachers who worked in programs that were not already taking action to address learner persistence and where teachers had a voice in decision making were more likely to change.
    "These findings indicate that the ABE field has structural constraints that influence how much teachers change after participating in even high-quality professional development."

The report discusses that although teachers are the link between PD and student achievement, teacher practice is only one of many factors that affect student learning. "Researchers call this the "dilution" effect of professional development: The actual impact of the professional development is diluted by all of the other factors that support or hinder teachers from making change." Teacher working conditions are one (important) factor that impacts whether and to what extent teachers can improve their practice based on PD and ultimately impact student achievement. Full chapter here:
http://www.ncsall.net/fileadmin/resources/ann_rev/smith-gillespie-07.pdf

The Professional Development Study reports were released in 2003. I'm curious to know, in a field hungry for research, who has used this study since then as a basis for improving teacher working conditions in their program or state? If you or others in your state have, please tell us (more) about it. If only a few have, then what do you think may be holding us back?

Jackie

Jackie Taylor

Professional Development List Facilitator


Subject: [PD 6745] Re: Teacher effectiveness vs. student retention
From: Melissa Nitu
Date: Wed May 23 10:54:00 EDT 2012

In response to David's "possibilities" for full time teachers, while it seems like a good idea and incentive, I would like to make a few comments coming from Texas where funding is extremely limited. It seems to me that before we can give incentives to programs for hiring full time instructors or creating a collective bargaining unit, we must consider the impact that would have on rural communities and their programs.
Speaking from a program that serves rural communities, if I hired more full time teachers it would decrease my ability to serve students in as many areas as I currently do. Programs in larger cities could do this, because their teachers do not have to travel over several counties to reach a site, it could be feasible that full time status could be increased without compromising the amount of students served.

At least in my state, it would seem that we would need additional funding before hiring full time teachers became mandatory without significantly hurting the rural areas that are already so limited in resources. In the counties that my program serves, there is only our program that is State/Federal funded. We do not have any faith based or community based programs to supplement literacy services. Therefore it is hard to imagine that we could or should reduce accessibility.

Now, if teachers organized as bargaining units, then they would have to approach legislation first to have State funds increased, once this is accomplished, then they would have to approach programs to require more full time pay.

Melissa Sadler-Nitu


Subject: [PD 6746] Re: Teacher effectiveness vs. student retention
From: Lisa Mullins
Date: Wed May 23 12:20:53 EDT 2012

As a full-time adult education teacher in rural East Tennessee, I don't understand why full-time means less accessibility. Here the definition of full-time may not mean 8:00-4:00 in one place. I go where I am needed. Full-time is the number of hours I work, but not where, when, or who I work with. In fact, full-time has expanded the definition of my duties. I work more hours than most full-time teachers, sometimes I drive to the location, I work evenings and Saturdays if I am asked to do so, and I teach all areas of adult education. I do this willingly and happily because I'm full-time.

Lisa Mullins


Subject: [PD 6749] Re: Teacher effectiveness vs. student retention
From: Schwarz, Robin
Date: Wed May 23 15:01:34 EDT 2012

Lisa-thank you for giving an excellent example of how the definition of full-time can be different from the usual one. Just like the instructional paradigms for adult education need to be revisited and significantly revamped, so do the employment paradigms need to be re-designed. There are many, many ways to skin this cat!!

Robin H. Lovrien, Ph.D.

Consultant in Adult ESOL/Learning Difficulties

Steuben, ME


Subject: [PD 6750] Re: Teacher effectiveness vs. student retention
From: Melissa Nitu
Date: Wed May 23 15:52:09 EDT 2012

Hi Lisa & Robin,

I agree you can fund a teacher or two to be full time, we have done that with our distance learning teacher. She too works long hours day and night all over our areas. While I have found money to fund her salary, if I funded another teacher I couldn't afford the 25 existing teachers. We would have 2 teachers and 1 director. Three people cannot serve 1200 students in 3 counties. At least I have not found a way to do that.

Melissa


Topic 27: TE Discussion Feedback

Subject: [PD 6729] 5-Minute Feedback, Teacher Effectiveness Discussion
From: Jackie Taylor
Date: Mon May 21 13:07:34 EDT 2012

Hi everyone,

I have really appreciated our discussions these two weeks on teacher effectiveness and the role of national teacher competencies. Thanks again to Mariann Fedele for being such an integral part of the discussion. I'm working on a final summary I hope to have available to you this week.

In the meantime, I encourage you to share your thoughts on the following questions. Your comments will help me to improve future guest discussion opportunities and to continuously improve as our community facilitator.

  1. What's one thing that stood out to you from the discussion?
    • The depth of the discussion-people are really well-versed on this forum, and that is very helpful to keep the conversation vibrant on a local and state level. I do wish we had a way to bring more people from CO into the conversation. It's perhaps another measure of the affect that not funding AE in CO has-a lack of inclination to put time into such discussions when the state doesn't do so itself.
    • Rarely does someone come on who does not already have a good grasp of one aspect of this elephant even if we blind men [and women] can't feel all its parts.
    • The many different yet valid perspectives involved in the process of considering teacher effectiveness; the great challenge of capturing in language the essential teaching competencies that guide positive student outcomes; and the lingering question, how do we support the standards?
    • Thank you very much, very, very thoughtful and valuable discussion and resources.
    • The one thing that stood out to me was the deepness of the discussion on teacher effectiveness. I also was surprised that people seemed to feel threatened by having teacher competencies.
  2. What did you like or what would you like to see changed in the structure or format of future guest discussions?
    • I like the daily roundup or next-morning summary/synthesis and roadmap for that day's discussion-and directing the focus of that day's discussion for participants.
    • Perhaps a combination of a researcher and teacher would have been good so while posting questions about research the teacher could have facilitated the discussion with teaching ideas on how these competencies worked in the classroom. This might have made everyone feel more open to the discussion.
  3. Did a topic or question lead you to a new idea or to a new question? If so, briefly tell us about it.
    • Many topics were raised that are important but beyond the reach of many of us to come to full fruition. I suppose that the core issue of expecting/requiring credentialing perhaps will shape the future more than many other policies. Compensation will continue to be a huge issue since it's a night and day difference with K-12.
    • When thinking about the domains described in this discussion, and the domains we are developing for MA teacher quality, It has occurred to me that we maybe should begin with Professional Development as Domain 1, to help teachers and their program directors have a strong base in effective, evidence based ABE/ESOL strategies and program management, and thereby a common language to spring from for better understanding.
    • Like I said, I think I was surprised by the lack of agreement on the need for these competencies.
  4. What's one thing you will pursue or do differently as a result of this discussion?
    • Try again to help my team understand why more is continually expected of them (and we are highly successful) with no concurrent perks given. I've already lost one team member who is exhausted and angered by the mountain of expectations and another educator who now works solely at the jail, where the system within, ironically, simplifies his framework in certain ways. I bet a lot of adult educators play the lottery even though they know the math makes it hopeless.
    • In my work now as a PD provider planning responsive PD for our new teacher standards, I will use these added perspectives and insights to think about the most effective way of communicating an understanding of these standards and how best to support the activating and integrating and evaluation of the competencies. Self-selected cohort groups of practitioners who would like to self-assess and document how they used the standards, sharing the competencies with their students, so that students are aware and also part of the evaluation team.
    • I need to read the document referred to. I have not had time to do this. I plan to make time this summer.

Please reply by May 25.

Thank you!

Jackie

Jackie Taylor

Professional Development List Facilitator


Subject: [PD 6731] Re: 5-Minute Feedback, Teacher Effectiveness Discussion
From: Anne Frank
Date: Mon May 21 13:30:18 EDT 2012

Jackie,

This was a very stimulating conversation instituted by Mariann within her area of expertise. What I take away is the fact it is very difficult to get "one size fits all". Having such a framework to help Management hire/prepare new practitioners is very useful. I agree sharing best practices to all can be very useful especially if it addresses the "how to's" that most frameworks sometimes fail to mention.

One thing I have found in my region in NY working with a Professional Developer for our teachers, is that all written frameworks, all webinars, all workshops, do not seem to garner the observable success as having a professional in the field come and spend time with the teachers, and providing examples in which to follow. Working directly with teachers in their classrooms, providing support, and suggestions has provided marked changes. This plan for having teachers become more effective is priceless (in more than one way). Cost is high, but results are forever.

Best,

Anne

Anne Frank

New York State Education Department

Adult Education Programs and Policy

Albany, NY


Subject: [PD 6733] Re: 5-Minute Feedback, Teacher Effectiveness Discussion
From: Stephanie Moran
Date: Mon May 21 14:22:00 EDT 2012

I think that Anne's point speaks to the "intensity and duration" model that is true for many learners, not just our students but ourselves. Attending a workshop/conference has been great for us in terms of seeing national trends-career pathways/workplace skills is one that we brought home from COABE 4 or 5 years ago and started working to bring into ABE/GED/ESOL classes more fully-but to achieve results and improvements in our classrooms, the model that Ann lays out for us is much more effective.

Stephanie Moran


Subject: [PD 6735] Comments on Anne Frank's posting
From: Richard Gacka
Date: Tue May 22 13:52:12 EDT 2012

A colleague forwarded Anne Frank's post of 5-21-12 regarding professional development and Anne's comments resonated totally with the rationale and activities that are behind efforts to revise the adult education professional development delivery system in Pennsylvania. I would like to specifically touch upon a few of the important elements that Anne identified.

1. There is no "one size fits all." The design of the delivery system needs to be flexible and inclusive, while at the same time being relevant and rigorous. Within an established statewide system this is a significant goal. The field of adult education is extremely broad and is pulled in many directions because of the varied needs of students and the pressures of the system through which services are delivered. Background threads of "control" and "it's the way we have always done it," are being addressed as part of our grant and are being replaced by an emphasis on closer scrutiny of the impact on student learner gains that result from program improvement efforts and the professional development that supports those efforts.

2. Anne stated, "One thing I have found in my region in NY working with a Professional Developer for our teachers, is that all written frameworks, all webinars, all workshops, do not seem to garner the observable success as having a professional in the field come and spend time with the teachers, and providing examples in which to follow."

Included in our efforts to revise the professional development delivery system is an emphasis on establishing "boots on the ground," a phrase we use to imply that professional development needs to focus on program administrator and instructional level program improvement, and professional development delivered through "coaching," "mentoring," or "consulting" models. The old model involved too much time and energy being spent telling agencies what "should be done" rather than developing the skills of direct service staff using job embedded program improvement. The concepts of "boots on the ground," "continuous program improvement," "agency responsibility for the delivery quality services" and "monitored and guided professional development" are key elements of our system redesign. Anne's comments about "working directly with teachers" and "providing support" articulate key elements of our efforts.

3. Many components of the "new" model involve moving from a system which had become top heavy, reliant on bricks and mortar and services delivered only by historical providers. The "consultation model" was field tested during the 2009-2010 program year and the reaction of direct service staff was positive, and the reaction of existing providers was enlightening. A previously invisible sector of adult education consumers emerged. As a result of the field test, a system that "eliminated the middle man" and focused on direct service and consulting was implemented statewide. The systemic change was dramatic. It is difficult at this point to objectively determine if the cost is higher than with the old model, so during the 2012-2013 program year we will be implementing an objective external formal analysis of the impact of the modifications. I am hopeful that with the revision we document that we are doing more for less, and that the net result of the restructuring is that consultation and program support is found to be less expensive and more effective than frameworks and workshops.

The entire restructuring effort is dependent on having the right people in the right seats on the bus, and a driver with a good map. That means consultants with content expertise, strong interpersonal skills and the capacity to add value to the PD system. Those are ongoing objectives, as consultants, both regional and agency specific are hand picked and assigned judiciously, and as the map that defines where the project is going is reviewed regularly and redrawn as needed.

This is a very interesting "work in project," but isn't that what program improvement is all about? Nearing the end of year one, the feedback has been positive but needs for modification of the original plan have also arisen and will be addressed. Once again, isn't that the definition of program improvement? We look forward to the planned assessment and the new opportunities for professional development that will open both for project staff and the direct service agency personnel that we are charged to serve.

Richard Gacka Ed.D.

Director: Facilitation and Consultation Project

Pennsylvania Professional Development System

Funded by a grant through:

Division of Adult Education, Bureau of Postsecondary and Adult Education

Pennsylvania Department of Education


Subject: [PD 6739] Re: Comments on Anne Frank's posting
From: Anne Frank
Date: Tue May 22 16:59:21 EDT 2012

Richard,

Excellent planning and I am sure you will see the results. Definitely keep those "boots on the ground".

Best,

Anne Frank