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Executive Book Summary

Mindsets in the Classroom (Mary Cay Ricci)

Building a Culture of Success and Student Achievement in Schools

titleMindsets in the Classroom presents the reader with much food for thought redefining how students learn. It references research on the malleability of the brain and encourages teachers who engage with learners to adopt the growth mindset that will influence how the learning environment is created for learners to thrive. Not only does Ricci present information, but useful resources are provided for teachers and administrators to use as the practical application of a growth mindset is purported. All stakeholders in the learning journey are addressed, as the author recognizes the community approach that must be taken towards the achievement of learning for all.

Video Overview – Mindsets in the Classroom

 

Growth mindset positive self-thought:

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Students must understand that intelligence is constantly changing based on effort, persistence and motivation. (Ricci 2013)

Reference:

Ricci, M. (2013). Mindsets in the Classroom: Prufrock Press Inc.

Curriculum Design

Planning, Instruction, and Assessment

Curriculum design involves the arrangement of the curriculum and connecting all the parts showing how they interrelate. The presentation below provides tips for planning, instruction, and assessment in each of the following design frameworks:

  • Learner Centred Design
  • Subject Centred Design
  • Problem Centred Design

Adaptive Leadership

A Model of Adaptive Leadership (Situational Challenges)

Situational challenges are categorized into three groups. Each challenge presents the leader with a set of leader behaviours to help followers adapt to changes that are inevitable.

Situational challenges:

  • Technical Challenges
  • Technical and Adaptive Challenges
  • Adaptive Challenges

Adaptive Mentorship

Adaptive mentorship focuses on the relationship between a mentor and his/her mentee. It seeks to strike a balance between the developmental needs of the mentee and the adaptive support of the mentor. Sivajee (2017) stresses the importance of mentorship to the mentor, mentee and the company. She suggests there is a “triple win for everyone involved when mentees and mentors are able to form a relationship based on trust and honest dialogue.” Feedback provides valuable nuggets for the mentee to apply at a given level of development. For the company, mentorship helps to develop talent at different levels in the organization.

Adaptive Mentorship, Situational and Adaptive Leadership – Similarities

The adaptive mentorship model has some similarities to the adaptive and situational models of leadership. They all seem to focus on the relationship that leaders establish with their followers and mentees. They all present opportunities for leaders to adjust their mentorship role to the needs of those in their charge. Flexibility is common to all three models and is very important to the success of their applications. It can also be argued that none of these models represent traits that are inborn. These are models that can be applied based on the leader’s judgment and the situation with which he/she is faced.

Benefits and Challenges of Adaptive Mentorship

There are several benefits, both to the mentor and the mentee, of implementing the adaptive mentorship model. Ralph and Walker (2010), identify the three stages of the adaptive mentorship model which gives mentors some flexibility in its application.

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One of the strengths of the adaptive mentorship model is its flexibility. Ralph and Walker suggest that it replaces the ‘one size fits all’ approach and allows the mentors to assess the mentee and provide support as they see fit. There is an opportunity to match the adaptive response to the developmental needs of the mentees.

The challenge with the adaptive mentorship model is the tendency for conflicts to develop between both mentor and mentee. Ralph and Walker mention that the early studies conducted on this model reveal the conflicts that can arise when there is a mismatch of the adaptive mentorship application and the support needed by the mentee at different developmental levels. The studies, however, suggests that the conflicts can be resolved if the misalignment can be addressed.

Personally, I find there is some merit to the application of the adaptive mentorship model in the classroom. I certainly find that as a teacher, there needs to be an emphasis on the idea that all learners are different. The adaptive mentorship model provides some room for assessment of individual students along the learning continuum and proper scaffolding of their learning.

Ralph, E., & Walker, K. (2010). Enhancing mentors’ effectiveness: The promise of the Adaptive Mentorship© Model. McGill Journal of Education, 45(2), 205-218.

Sivajee D. (2017) 3 Reasons Mentorship Leads to Winning for all Involved. CNBC. Retrieved from http://www.cnbc.com/2017/05/11/3-reasons-mentorship-leads-to-winning-for-all-involved.html, July 21, 2017

PME 810 -Integrated Planning, Instruction and Assessment

CONCEPTS OF CURRICULUM

Bently et al define curriculum as the ‘means and materials with which students will interact for the purpose of achieving identified educational outcomes.’ Practically all educational programs and courses use the core curriculum as a means of planning for the learning of its charges. Over time, the concepts of the curriculum have evolved in response to changes in a variety of areas. Going over several articles and readings on curriculum there are five broad concepts that historically undergirds curriculum development.

Synopsis of the Five Concepts of Curriculum

  1. Humanistic Curriculum – This approach makes curriculum relevant to students and helps them draw meaning from what they learn. McNeil (2006), suggest it is where ‘learning is high in personal relevance.’
  2. Academic Curriculum – The academic curriculum is focused on subject matter and mastery of academic content. Eisner & Vallance (1974), believes that this is the most traditional of the five orientations. They posit that it is mainly ‘concerned with enabling the young to acquire the tools to participate in the Western cultural tradition. ‘
  3. Social Reconstruction – This view looks at curriculum as a vehicle to effect social change. McNeil (2006) argues that ‘the primary purpose of the social reconstructionist curriculum is to confront the learner with the many severe problems that humankind faces.’ Students are provided with the tools to empower them as they seek solutions to social problems.
  4. Technological Approach – The ‘how’ of the education process is much of what underlines the technology approach. It provides an overarching set of resources needed by all other concepts.
  5. Cognitive – The focus here is on the ‘how’ rather than the ‘what’ of education. Eisner & Vallance (1974) sees the cognitive approach as historically addressing the central problem of “sharpening the intellectual processes and developing a set of cognitive skills that can be applied to learning virtually anything.”

Curriculum

Historical and Current Concepts of Curriculum

Concepts of the curriculum have evolved over time. Despite all the changes, there are some fundamental principles embedded in traditional concepts that continue to drive curriculum development. There has been some revolution in the humanistic approach as the need arises for the curriculum to address the personal concerns and needs of students. McNiel (2006) emphasises that the humanistic approach addresses the concerns and dissatisfaction faced by youths.  He states that “much of the present curriculum is evidenced by high dropout rates, vandalism, and discipline problems among the bored, the unhappy, and the angry.”  Ornstein & Hunkins (2009) informs that the humanistic approach is “rooted in the progressive philosophy and the child-centered movement of the early 1900s.” Students who can make personal connections to what they are learning to find it a more authentic approach and will tend to be personally engaged in the process.

The academic curriculum continues to be much of a mainstream approach. It drives the development of subject disciplines and courses of study that influence student career choices. Eisner & Vallance (1974) posits that traditionally the academic approach is primarily concerned with “enabling the young to acquire the tools to participate in the Western cultural tradition and with providing access to the greatest ideas and objects that man has created.” To some extent, this view of curriculum continues to hold true with changes in course content to align with new and changing career paths. Much of the challenge lies with preparing learners for jobs which do not really exist. Over the years, many career paths have seen a shift in focus and some have even disappeared with the advent of technology and automation.

Curriculum Concepts as Framework for Planning, Instruction and Assessment

The different concepts of curriculum provide a framework for an in-depth analysis of planning, instruction and assessment. The planning process is crucial to the success of any program. The social reconstructionist concept of the curriculum has some influence on planning. Vallance (1986), in taking a second look at concepts of curriculum, emphasises that the social reconstructionist approach drives the curriculum as a “means by which students are empowered to criticise and improve on society.” In many cultures, the idea of freedom of speech has led to a more vocal society. This perpetuates the need for learning institutions to provide a vehicle through which learners are taught to responsibly engage in dialogue to instigate change or simply for their voice to be heard.

The technological curriculum emphasises how curriculum engages learners. Efficiency and relevance are key to its far-reaching influence. Vallance (1986), suggests that it is the broadest of all the concepts, offering resources for all to engage learners. With the advent of social media and the influx of online training that is now the highlight of many academic programs, the technological curriculum has gained a lot more prominence in curriculum planning. Learning spans borders and many traditional institutions provide learners with options for studies that the technological curriculum makes possible.

In the context of current professional practice, there is a need to make learning all too relevant to learners and engage all stakeholders in the process. Technological resources provide a direct means to planning and providing options for pedagogical documentation and other forms of documenting student learning. There is a constant blending of the traditional and the current concepts. Effective curriculum planning requires flexibility and willingness to adapt to changes as they occur. It certainly is not a static instrument but a dynamic mix of approaches and inputs to respond to the needs of learners.

References

Edward S., Ebert. C., Bentley M., Defining Curriculum (updated Jul 19, 2013), Retrieved from https://www.education.com/reference/article/curriculum-definition/, July 10, 2017

Eisner E. & Vallance E. (Eds.), Conflicting Conceptions of Curriculum (pp. 1-18). Berkeley, CA: McCutchan Publishing.

McNeil, J. D. (2006). Contemporary Curriculum in Thought and Action (6th ed., pp. 1-13, 24-34, 44-51, 60-73). Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons.

Ornstein, A. C., & Hunkins, F. P. (2009). Curriculum: Foundations, Principles, and Issues (5th ed., pp. 2-9). Boston, MA: Allyn & Bacon.

PME 803 – Organizational Leadership

Leadership Traits

Leadership is a topic that has been talked about and researched for years. Many reflections on leadership present some common traits that most leaders exhibit. Some are arguably inborn or referred to as stable personal attributes, while others are more like skills that can be learned over time. A list of common traits include:

  • honesty
  • reliability
  • self-confidence
  • integrity
  • assertive

Browsing through a number of these articles on leadership, one common trait is self-confidence. Do you think this is a trait that is inborn or a skill that can be practised? Self-confidence is defined as a strong belief in oneself and one’s ability to carry out a given task. The Merriam-Webster’s definition – “Faith or belief that one will act in a right, proper, or effective way.” Downard, in looking at self-confidence, purports that “Unfortunately, confidence can be one of those things you either have or don’t have.” However, he still believes that it can be practised and learned.

Walk with me through a journey of building your self-confidence. It all starts with positive thinking. You must believe you can achieve this all important quality of a great leader.

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Confidence Booster Plan

Week 1 – Self AwarenessMMCS3600

Are you fully aware of your strengths and weaknesses? Make a conscious effort this week to identify your strongest attributes. Confidence comes from a positive state of mind. Are you the one who sees the glass half full or half empty. Many times our fear of the unknown weighs in on the belief we have in ourselves to complete a task or take chances. Examine your list of strengths!

Take the time to look at your areas of weakness and start to think of ways that you can improve in these areas. Sometimes it is just a matter of refocusing priorities and making a deliberate decision to put steps in place to address these areas.  Share your list with a mentor, friend or family member who can help you through the process.

Take a look at the video below which provides 3 Tips to Boost Self-Confidence:

Week 2 – Positive Thinking

Make a conscious effort this week to think positively about every situation you face this week. Positive thinking has a ripple effect on boosting your self-confidence. It helOGHP6778ps you to see challenges as brain building opportunities and creates opportunities to problem solve. There are so many things happening in our lives that we have very little control over. The best thing we can do for our self-confidence is to look at the positive side. Eg. “I don’t have a job – however, I am healthy and I have the ability to take care of my body.” Remember that mistakes and failures are opportunities for learning, don’t be hard on yourself.

The Power of Positive Thinking

Remember that mistakes and failures are opportunities for learning, don’t be hard on yourself. If we learn a lesson from each failure we face, it would have been worth it. A reflection on many individuals who have achieved greatness in our society will reveal that failure was an integral part of their journey.

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Week 3 – Face Your Fears (Learn a New Skill)

As you reflect on your areas of weakness, this week your plan should include a path to facing your greatest fears. How can you improve your weaker skills? Why not learn a new skill or explore the myriad of options available to improve your skills. Take advantage of training opportunities that will definitely improve your belief in your own abilities or self-confidence. Set a target for the next few weeks to consciously spend at least an hour or two per day to learn a new skill. You will be amazed at how this one new skill will improve your confidence.

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Here is a list of free online training opportunities.

Week 4 – Celebrate Success

As you continue to develop your new skill. Ensure you make a daily reflection on your journey to self-confidence. Share your success and celebrate them along the way. Successes are not necessarily confined to the great achievements. It can be something as simple as going through an entire day without focusing on one negative thought. The more you believe in yourself, the better you are able to transfer that confidence to those around you. Look for every opportunity to celebrate the journey of life. If you continue to focus on just the destination, you will never learn to appreciate the simple things that make life beautiful.

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Building Self-Confidence begins with your state of mind!

References

Downard, Brian. 101 Best Leadership Skills, Traits & Qualities. Retrieved from http://briandownard.com/leadership-skills-list/

Whitmore, Jacqueline. 6 Actions You Can Take Every Day to Build Your Self-Confidence. Retrieved from: https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/247353