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“What did you want to see happen when…”

I used to laugh at sentence stems. I thought they were contrived and superficial, but I’ve discovered it is quite the opposite. Like a good protocol (yes, I really love protocols) they change the frame of thinking. They help build a different habit of discourse, and I find that I can weave them into dialogue fairly gracefully. This prompt that serves as the title is from a collection of prompts I’ve gathered over time for probing teachers’ thinking about instruction – about helping them visualize what they expect from students based on an instructional move.

I use this prompt to backwards plan meeting outcomes as well… and today, LLT (Learning Leadership Team) was the meeting. For the first time in awhile we had the opportunity to stop and reflect on our efforts in supporting teachers, specifically through observations and feedback. We had the opportunity to stop and reflect on the quality of our feedback and the value it serves in a teacher’s practice.  I was humbled.

When I presented research-based criteria of quality, I wanted to see leaders use this as a tool to self-assess and plan for refinement BUT I saw them identify areas where their feedback was not strong and reach out to their colleagues for critique and ideas… I saw them identify their greatest challenges and seek advice from another perspective… I saw them eager to learn, to serve and to lead well…

The prompt certainly served to set the stage, but I recognize the culture of our meetings empowers a sense of vulnerability that really does allow us to enter as learners.  I can’t help but take this question to the classroom level… how does your classroom culture empower a sense of vulnerability and reflection?  Need a prompt?

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