Today, my guests need no introduction … I am honored to host Kim Marshall (of “The Marshall Memo) and Jenn David-Lang (of the Main Idea) to discuss their new book, The Best of the Marshall Memo.

Show Highlights

  • The importance of finding gaps and filling them
  • Being good doesn’t mean that’s what you do best
  • The unexpected benefit of writing The Marshall Memo
  • Why Kim considers himself an “accidental educator.”
  • The research behind tough conversations
  • The research on teacher evaluation

Tough Conversations, Teacher Evaluations, and Trends to Pay Attention to

by Kim Marshall and Jenn David-Lang

Full Transcript Available Here

Daniel: 02:44 Hey there, ruckus maker. Can you believe it? Today is an incredible day for me on the Better Leaders Better Schools Podcast because I have two people in our industry that I’ve looked up to and have been observing from a distance for awhile and now they’re on the show. We have Kim Marshall of The Marshall Memo and Jenn David-Lang, of The Main Idea here to talk about their new book, and some other great stuff as well. So guys, welcome to the show.

Kim: 03:21 Thank you.

Jenn: 03:21 Thanks for having us.

Daniel: 03:22 So Jenn, let’s start with you. We talked in our intro call about how you have consistently found gaps and tried to fill them and so can you tell us that story of starting The Main Idea and how that’s really founded on finding these gaps and trying to fill them.

Jenn: 03:44 Sure. When I was supporting principals and teachers, I was finding what is probably obvious to any school leader who is a listener, which is that school leaders just don’t have the time they would like to read for their own professional knowledge and development.

Jenn: 04:02 So I was working with one person who was starting a new school in September and he had a big stack of books on his desk that he wanted to read through and plan teacher training for September. But he didn’t have the time. So he said, Jenn, you know my philosophy, can you read through these books, give me the main ideas and help me plan training for my teachers. I had other experiences. I remember working with a first year teacher once and she was fantastic, but she was a high school teacher and didn’t know what to do with her students who could barely read. She was an English teacher and that’s not what they focused on at high school. And I thought, man, if she had only read Kylene Beers’, book When Kids Can’t Read, What Teachers Can Do. What am I supposed to do? Give a first year teacher a 400 page book when she can barely get a lesson planning for the next day.

Jenn: 04:51 So I started to realize there was value in extracting the best idea is from books. And I started a service called The Main Idea where every month I send a very thorough summary, eight to ten pages of a current education or leadership book to help school leaders. I really am able to capture all of the main ideas plus illustrative examples. So it feels like you’ve read the book and then at the end I’ve also realized that principals don’t always have a clear idea of how to go from their reading to implementation. So I give them workshop ideas for what they can do with their leadership team or their teachers, or if you’re a superintendent, what you can do with your principals using the ideas in the book. So that is how The Main Idea was born.

Daniel: 05:39 And now that you’ve been doing it a while, I wonder, has there been some unexpected benefit that you didn’t see coming as a part of creating this wonderful thing for principals, The Main Idea.

Jenn: 05:53 Well people certainly email me with a lot of great book suggestions. Kim emails me all the time and so it’s not just me choosing the books, but I get lots of great ideas from other people. I also have guest writers where people will share not quite eight to 10 pages though, right, two pages about a book that has been influential in their careers. So I think the sharing of great books and great ideas, I hadn’t anticipated that.

Daniel: 06:19 I imagine your house, do you have books just like falling out of your doorways and windows and everything? Are there books just everywhere?

Jenn: 06:28 That’s creating a sore spot there because my husband is arguing with me because I want to put up a new bookshelf and he thinks it’s too much clutter, but I really need that extra bookshelf. I have to keep a lot of them in the basement organized by topic because I can’t fit them all yet.

Daniel: 06:45 So potentially a new business idea would be to create a bookshelf warehouse for The Main Idea and then you could do a monthly rental from me on that.

Jenn: 06:56 Definitely, that would work.

Daniel: 06:59 Awesome. And Kim, when we were talking during the intro call, something that stood out to me is you received some feedback that you’re a good principal but it’s not what you do best. Can you take us to that moment and what that comment meant to you?

Kim: 07:16 So there I was in my 15th year as a elementary principal in Boston public schools, I was pretty exhausted. It had some setbacks in terms of hiring and I was feeling kind of burned out. And that comment from two different people friends who talked to me independently was pretty resonant. I wasn’t feeling particularly efficacious at that point, even though our school had won awards and we’d done well. I made spectacular progress. So I hung up my spurs and shifted to what I didn’t really know what it would be at that point, but it ended up being a combination of coaching principals individually, which was a good use of my experience, giving talks on topics close to my heart, like time management that was very much on my mind and teacher evaluation and unit planning and so forth.

Kim: 08:08 And then during that first year, the idea dawned of The Marshall Memo, which is a very parallel effort to Jenn. She does books. I do magazine articles and journal articles and occasionally blogs and the idea came up I’ve just again, same basic problem. Principals don’t have time to read, assistant principals, department heads don’t have time to thoroughly go through stuff. And so how can I scan what’s out there, find the best stuff, do summaries similar to Jenn’s, although shorter and then get them out electronically so that people in 20 minutes can each week can keep up with the best ideas out there.

Daniel: 08:43 And I asked Jenn a similar question, but now that you’ve been doing The Marshall Memo for a while, what’s been an unexpected benefit that you didn’t see coming?

Kim: 08:53 Well, I guess what was pretty obvious, but I didn’t really think of it was it keeps me on top of the best stuff so that when I go into coach a principal in the South Bronx as I did a couple of weeks ago, I have at my fingertips the best thinking on, for example, a personalization, which is a hot topic right now whether to teach Shakespeare in high school classes that came up in this week’s memo. And so by scanning so broadly and I do know I used to try for 60 publications and what comes in each week I sit down and read on Sunday it takes about seven or eight hours to make my way through all that’s come in. And so I really do feel like I have my finger on the pulse of what’s going on around the world and in education and the best of the best thinking, the best ideas from teachers, writing articles, principals writing articles and of course also mostly academics writing articles.

Daniel: 09:42 Not many people might know that you consider yourself Kim, an accidental educator. And I want you to tell that story as well because I have a followup question there. But can you set the tone of why you called yourself an accidental educator and what kept you in Boston?

Kim: 10:01 Well, so I was graduating from college in 1969, right in the middle of the Vietnam war and all of my colleagues and I, my classmates and I faced decisions about what to do about the draft. Beause at that point there was a military draft. And I, along with many others had come to the strong conviction that the war was wrong, was immoral to me, like massacre would come out at that point. It was clearly a big policy mistake by the United States. At the same time I wanted to serve the country and looking around for different ways to provide national service, urban teaching was certainly one of them, Peace Corps was another, Vista was another, being a farmer was another, there were certain deferrable occupations. My strong interest in urban teaching was also influenced by the fact that my girlfriend was a senior in college that year and I wanted to stay in the Boston area. So she’s really responsible for my getting into education and we ended up getting married. But that really is it, it was pretty serendipitous. And in my office as a principal, I used to have a picture of General Lewis B. Hershey on the wall. He was the Director of Selective Service at that point, which was the draft. And so there was a little irony in the fact that this man was up there as someone who had influenced my career.

Daniel: 11:19 The followup question I had, do you see a thread from this accidental educator that you define yourself as and the feedback, you’re a good principal, but that’s not what you do best and now you work with The Marshall Memo.

Kim: 11:36 Well, that’s a great question. So really the three things I did in my years in the Boston public schools, 32 years was first as a teacher, sixth grade teacher. And I think I was a good teacher, although I have gone back and, and evaluated myself on a teacher evaluation rubric that I devised. And I had a mixed profile, very strong in certain areas, very weak actually in classroom management, interestingly not that it was chaotic, but I certainly had areas for improvement. So I was a good teacher, a very good teacher, I think. Then I was an interesting central office person that sort of came about again serendipitously through connections and people I knew and I was the director of curriculum for the Boston schools and the speech writer for exciting superintendents.

Kim: 12:19 So that was kind of cool although the central office of course is always regarded as a horrible place, but I think I made good use of that. But that was a detour. I didn’t really want to be in the central office but we did some good curriculum work, just clarifying what a sixth grade kid ought to know in math and that sort of thing. And then I became a principal and I worked really, really hard at being a principal and I think we made, as I said, made good progress. Our school made very solid gains, but it was never fun and there was always resistance and it was always difficult. So I think that’s what led that comment from my two friends to resonate, that I was a good principal, but not what I did best. And I sort of had this hankering that there was something else that I could do that might use other talents. But of course what I’m doing now, which I think is what I do best and what I enjoy doing and what I think makes a difference, a big difference, is only possible because I was a teacher, the central office person and a principal. Without that, my voice would be hollow. So, it all sort of comes together in that sense. Although I’m not a believer as some people say that everything works out for the best, I don’t think that’s always true. But in this case what I built on and of course the help and support of many, many friends and mentors has led to what I’ve been doing now for the last 16 years.

Daniel: 13:40 Thank you for sharing all those stories. And I want to honor both you and Jenn that you are making such significant contributions to the field of education. And I didn’t stumble across either of you through Google or conferences and that kind of thing, but it was through word of mouth. Other educators that I highly respected who said you have to check out these two. And to me that’s the best way to get your message out there and just wanted to share that with both of you. You’ve had an impact on me and it was through word of mouth that I found out about your great work.

Daniel: 14:18 So let’s talk a bit about your new book collaborated on it and it’s out there for ruckus makers to pick up. We’ll have The Best of The Marshall Memo linked up in the show notes so that you can get that in your hands. And Jenn, I want to bring the conversation back to you. I asked earlier, what was one of the chapters that you really just fell in love with and enjoyed and you told me that it was absolutely the one on tough conversations. So what ideas do you have for the ruckus maker listening surrounding tough conversations that would benefit them in their leadership practice?

Jenn: 15:01 Well first let me say maybe falling in love is not the phrase I would use, but what I would say is that I think it’s one of the most crucial topics and chapters because just about anything we do in school, it’s about people behind everything. Whether you’re talking about curriculum, assessments, standardized testing, classroom management, all of that has to do with people, and I think we forget that sometimes in education. We work on crafting the perfect lesson plan or the perfect strategic plan but none of it works without people. And how do people interact through conversations? So the chapter sort of dips into two different kinds of typical conversations. I mean there’s the kind, when the angry parent storms into your office and says, you know, why was my child’s bus stop moved? Now she has to walk two more blocks.

Jenn: 15:56 There’s those kinds of difficult conversations, but the bulk of the chapter focuses on the kind of conversations we have with teachers when we’re giving them feedback and we want to move them forward. But really the heart of most conversations that a leader is having in a school is how do you speak to people in a way that changes behavior, right? And that’s the goal, that we want to change behavior. So the chapter hits on different aspects of that and some of what stands out to me is that we’ve been thinking a lot about feedback particularly since John Haddy put it out there as something that has a very high effect size in terms of teachers giving feedback to students. It has an effect size of over .70 which means that with good effective feedback you can move a child two years worth of learning in what a typical teacher who does not give good feedback doesn’t want. So we’ve all been thinking about feedback and we’ve been thinking about the what of the feedback. What’s the one piece of feedback we should give a teacher when we go into a classroom? But we have thought a little bit less about the how. So some of these articles point to the how. Well, first of all, we have forgotten that the feedback receiver is probably the most important piece of the puzzle. You can say your feedback however you want, but as Douglas Stone and I have an article in here and we said the person getting the feedback has the power to decide whether it’s on target, fair or helpful, and to decide whether to use the feedback or dismiss it. So I think that a number of these articles suggest that we think a little bit about the feedback receiver and we help them understand the process of receiving feedback.

Jenn: 17:52 One of the articles suggest that we actually give them feedback on their receiving feedback, which starts to sound a little bit

Daniel: 17:59 More feedback.

Jenn: 17:59 It’s a little too meta, but the idea is that if somebody is being defensive about the feedback, you can’t even go forward. There’s no way that person is going to change their behavior. So I think that’s a critical piece. The Douglas Stone and Sheila Heene article talks about three reasons or three triggers that people have and why they can’t receive feedback. Well, they talk about truth triggers, relationship triggers and identity triggers. So to give an example, if as a principal I see that a teacher is struggling with classroom management and during a feedback session, I bring this up. So it seems that if you’re having trouble with classroom management so then there’s three large categories of why you might not listen to me.

Jenn: 18:49 If one is a [inaudible] it’s just not true. Jenn came in while the kids were transitioning, but my classroom management, there wasn’t any problem with the rest of the class. So you have trouble with the truth of the content of what I’m saying, relationships. Who are you, Jenn, to be giving me this comment? You’re a first year principal. I’ve been in this building for 20 years and you have trouble with me and our relationship. So again, you don’t listen to the feedback. And then third identity triggers. Danny, you have always had this idea that you are a stellar classroom manager, unlike Kim and his early years of teaching and people come to you for advice. So this is an assault on your identity for me to come in and talk about classroom management. So it would be who of us as school leaders to do a workshop with all of our teachers and all of the staff that we give feedback to, to help make people aware of some of these triggers and some of the problems in receiving feedback. So that’s a small piece of the article, but it’s a big part of why we have trouble moving people forward or why Kim ultimately didn’t love being a principal. It is all of these difficult conversations and trying to move other people.

Daniel: 20:04 And we could do an episode just on that topic alone and really draw it out. Whether it’s the truth, the relational or the identity piece or that my feedback is so much tied to the receiver on how he or she interacts with whatever that message is. That almost seems overwhelming at times, right? Because as a leader, I want to do my homework prep in a way that I’m set up for success and that the person can hear me. And now learning this about feedback, what could we tell the ruckus maker listening so that they don’t just give up like tough conversations? I’m just never gonna win.

Jenn: 20:44 Well, again, this is focusing specifically on the feedback piece. The number one thing and Douglas Stone and I say it in our article as the leader, the best thing you can do tomorrow when you wake up and you go into school is model receiving feedback well, soliciting feedback and use it. Have a faculty meeting and ask for feedback at the end. And then when you start your next faculty meeting, say, share, this is the feedback I received and because of this, these are the changes that I’ve made to our next faculty meeting. So if you can model that and solicit it, that’s the best first step that you could take.

Daniel: 21:22 That is a great tip. So communicate out that feedback you received and the steps you’re doing to take action on it. Thank you so much Jenn and ruckus maker we’re going to pause here just for a moment for a message from our sponsors, but when we get back, we’re going to hear from Kim Marshall and the chapter maybe he fell in love with it, maybe not or maybe it’s just one that he finds very interesting but we’ll find out in just a second.

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Daniel: 23:35 We’re back with Kim Marshall and Jenn David-Lang. Thank you again both of you for being my guest and Kim the chapter that you were really intrigued by was on teacher evaluation. So what info would you like to share with the ruckus maker on this topic?

Kim: 24:02 Well, first of all, just to give people a sense of how this book is structured, there are about 10 or 13 articles in each chapter, but they’re not the full article. They are a summary of the article. So what Jenn was just describing was a much longer article, but then we have a summary that it’s only a page and a half long. And so it’s possible to read the chapter in under an hour for each article summary in about five minutes. So that’s the key to the book. I mean we have 128 articles in the book, but they’re much shorter than the original articles.

Kim: 24:35 So teacher evaluation is something that I struggled with as a principal until I discovered a better way of doing it. And a part of the articles in this chapter deal with the whole concept of short, frequent unannounced classroom visits with face-to-face coaching feedback. A number of people have written about this. There are actually six books about this, My Mind being one of them and the articles really come at this from different angles. I want to build a bridge to what Jenn was just talking about. One of the articles in the chapter that she was discussing, which really almost could be in this chapter on teacher evaluation, is the dilemma that principals have when they’re in a classroom watching something that’s going on in the classroom that they don’t think is quite right. Should they intervene and should they actually sort of jump in in different ways.

Kim: 25:21 And for example I was in a classroom in New York city a couple of weeks ago where the teacher had wonderful color photographs and drawings of different land forms. So for example, a river valley, an ocean, a sea, a stream and so forth and it was really a terrific lesson that with about 17 different land forms, but one of the land forms was incorrect. There was a photograph of an iceberg and the caption was that it was a glacier. So here’s the principal’s dilemma. There were several of us actually observing this class and we didn’t intervene. But the dilemma was should we correct that because the kids were being misinformed about the glacier and the iceberg. And so that’s one kind of dilemma. Another kind is what if the principal has a bright idea.

Kim: 26:14 For example the kids are studying Martin Luther King’s I Have a Dream speech and the principal standing in the back actually knows something that the teacher is not using, which is the intriguing fact that Martin Luther King in the middle of the speech, was prompted by Mahalia Jackson on the platform. Tell him about the dream Martin, tell them about the dream. And he ad-libbed the entire rest of the speech. So the teachers aren’t using that. Should the principal jump in and say, Hey, let me tell you something really interesting about this speech. So those are two different kinds of interventions. And I think it’s a real dilemma. There are some principals, particularly in some I knew Success Academy Charter Schools in New York city who routinely jump in and correct teachers in front of their kids. And there are other principals who take much more of a fly on the wall stance, you’re there, you’re taking notes, you’re going to talk to the teacher afterwards. So there’s one article in this chapter that deals with that whole dilemma, which I think is one of the most interesting and central dilemmas today because especially if you’re making short, frequent unannounced visits, it’s possible to jump in. You’re not slavishly taking notes on a computer at the back. You’re actually walking around looking at the kids. I do think it’s good to talk to kids during a lesson and check in with them. But that is one of the dilemmas that is highlighted by this article

Daniel: 27:29 I’m curious, do you take a stance with either of those situations, whether it’s the ad lib or misinformation?

Kim: 27:36 So on a continuum from jump in to shut up, I’m more of the shut up end of the spectrum. I mean, obviously if there’s a safety emergency, you intervene. If something is just dreadfully, dreadfully wrong, you intervene. But I’m more of a mind to talk to the teacher afterwards. However, it’s sometimes possible if the kids are working in groups to whisper to the teacher, for example, about the iceberg, we could have done that, but we didn’t. But we could have. Paul Bambrick Santoyo who has one of the articles in this chapter sometimes will have principals hold up a whiteboard at the back of the room with a little message like narrate the positive or call on more girls or something like that, which is sort of somewhere on that continuum.

Kim: 28:21 But I do tend to take a position that teachers can find it very annoying to be interrupted. Certainly you would never ever undermine a teacher’s authority with kids, but it can be annoying to be thrown off your lesson plan. For example, my brilliant insight about the Martin Luther King speech could be really annoying to a teacher who is on a roll and maybe she was planning on doing that in the next lesson. So I think that doesn’t show much emotional intelligence for a principal to intervene in that fashion. So that’s sort of where I’m at on it.

Daniel: 28:51 I think people tell you that you have two ears and one mouth for a reason, right? And to use them in that order and I think that was a really great point. You don’t know if that teacher’s going to bring it up later in the lesson. And if you jump in all plans are off. I love the idea of the whispering. I’m looking for an opportune time, but also, in connecting it to what Jenn was talking about too with feedback, if you give that critical feedback to a teacher and now they have a really great opportunity to reteach and to own a mistake, right? Because we’re not perfect either. And so that’s how my mind is thinking about it. To courageously stand up in front of kids and say, yesterday I blew it. I’m sorry guys. This I told you was a glacier but it’s an iceberg or vice versa. I think you rob teachers of that opportunity too if you’re the one jumping in and fixing the mistake. So I’m not sure who wants to take this question. You guys can choose, but I’m curious with all this, because you create so much great information out there and then create content of your own. Is there an idea that you see that is still out there and common among educational leaders that just needs to be retired? Why are we still talking about this? And I’m curious if there’s one that you guys have found.

Kim: 30:09 Jenn, why don’t you go ahead.

Jenn: 30:11 Well, there is an article about it, which is the pre-observation conference, that’s one thing it’s an older article by Madeline Hunter, that she’s making the point that the pre-observation conference is dead. And if you want to even think of it in mathematical terms, if you have the pre-observation conference, the observation, the post observation, if you just get rid of that conference, you have a third more of your time to observe more classes. And so I think principals out there who are still sticking to that old ritual could move practice along a little bit faster and more efficiently if they skip that piece that comes to mind.

Daniel: 30:52 Love it.

Jenn: 30:52 How about you Kim?

Kim: 30:54 Well I think that’s part of the traditional and teacher evaluation process. You do the pre-observation conference, go over the lesson plan, you observe the class, take a lot of notes, the whole class. Then you sort of figure out what’s the main message and maybe score the teacher on a rubric and/or do a write up and then have the post-observation conference. That’s a four hour process. And I think this chapter in the book is really a frontal assault on that four hour process and really saying it doesn’t work. The evidence is very clear from the research. One of the articles that says that dog hasn’t barked. In other words, there really is no evidence that it makes any difference to teachers and people have become very cynical about it. So this chapter that we’re talking about really is an attempt to grab school districts by the lapels and shake them and say, come on, this is a huge waste of principal’s time. It’s like about 350 hours a year of principal’s time on something that isn’t productive, which doesn’t contribute to teaching and learning either being affirmed or being improved and so we really are pushing hard for school districts to move away from that.

Daniel: 32:02 Another perspective on that question would be, is there an idea that isn’t getting enough eyeballs on it that you think, wow, this one really has incredible merit, but we’re not talking about it enough.

Kim: 32:16 Well one thing that springs to mind is the honest spot in the moment, formative feedback to kids during a lesson itself. But Jenn, what would you nominate in that category?

Jenn: 32:28 Well, if we’re going beyond these chapters, another thing that’s broke and should be fixed is grading. I’ve seen grading grossly misused and I would encourage leaders to really look at how grades are used for more than just indicating academic mastery, but includes all kinds of behavioral actions, like whether a paper is done on time and just the great harm that’s done from grading. And I would even challenge leaders to, if you can, blow it all up and get rid of grading if possible. Because research shows that if you give students a paper back with a grade and a narrative, it’s the same as giving a student a paper back with just a grade that in either case, the student only focuses on the grade. And the only way to focus on the learning is by simply giving narrative and no grades at all. So that’s another, I think, gross use of an old tactic.

Kim: 33:31 One topic that’s getting a lot of attention now is implicit bias and we have a chapter in the second book of, I mean this is book one. We have book two coming out hopefully in the spring, and one of the chapters in that is the whole issue of cultural competence. And part of that is implicit bias. I just heard an amazing talk the other day by authors on this subject and just the fact that this is largely flying under the radar. I think many Americans feel at this point that we’re a post racial society. We elected an African American president twice. That problem is solved. In fact, many people actually think that the biggest problem now is prejudice against white people in hiring and other walks of life. And meanwhile, in classrooms every day, there’s a tremendous amount of implicit bias manifesting itself in various ways.

Kim: 34:22 One of the speakers that I heard at a Harvard conference last week described a third grade class where he was able to be the observer of the class, was able to actually map who was called on, who raised their hand and who called out of term without being called on and was reprimanded and who called out and was not reprimanded. And it fell straight down racial and gender lines. It was quite something. The white boys, these are third graders, the white boys who called out were not reprimanded. The African American and Hispanic kids who did were reprimanded, they participated`much less and this sort of under the radar, unconscious, I mean this teacher is not even aware of this. This kind of unconscious racial bias is going on in many classrooms. And some of the authors made the point that it really leads to disruptive behavior as well as learning loss. So that I think is something that we have to pay a lot more attention to.

Daniel: 35:24 And to add to that point on implicit bias, the ruckus maker that’s listening, one thing that I used to doI would just draw a map, right, a seating chart of the class and I would literally draw arrows from the teacher and who she was communicating with who was talking back to the teacher and basically who was ignored. And without even telling them like questioning, Hey, what’s going on here, just showing them the picture a lot of times they would be able to come to the end result, which is I’m ignoring a whole section of kids and then we could have a much richer discussion about that. So I appreciate you guys bringing that up here at the end. So everybody gets these last two questions to round up our conversation. Jenn, I’ll ask you first. If you could put a message on all school marquees across the globe, if you could do so for just a day, what would that message read?

Jenn: 36:22 I would write failure is a bruise, not a tattoo.

Daniel: 36:26 Awesome. Failure is a bruise, not a tattoo. And Kim, same question to you.

Kim: 36:30 Hug a teacher.

Daniel: 36:31 That’s awesome.

Kim: 36:33 Both of my children are teachers. One teaches history, one teaches English at the secondary level. They have really hard, really important jobs and they really need appreciation, respect and, of course, constant feedback but also a real appreciation.

Daniel: 36:49 I wish I could reach through the screen and hug you both because I’ve really enjoyed this conversation. And here’s the last question. I’m going to modify it a bit since there’s the two of you. So basically you’re building a school from the ground up. You’re not limited by any resources, your only limitation is your imagination. So what I would like is for you, Jenn, to say what would be your number one priority building this dream school. And then Kim, if you could follow up,

Jenn: 37:15 I would do away with school as we know it, put together diverse groups of students to investigate real world problems and work collaboratively to research them, learn about them and develop interdisciplinary approaches to address those problems and then take some steps to actually address those problems. And the teacher would serve as facilitator more than Sage on the stage.

Daniel: 37:42 And how about you Kim? What would be that one priority building your dream school?

Kim: 37:46 So I think the one big thing is to have the school be large enough so that there is a critical mass of teacher cities grade levels. So I see a lot of very small schools in New York city and there’s only one algebra teacher, one fourth grade teacher. So the ideal thing is to have three or four teachers at each grade level or any subjects so that they can look together at common assessments, performance tasks or projects that kids do and have really rich discussions about what’s working here. Why did your class do so much better at that than mine? Having that really sort of open trusting conversation I see very, very little of that. Even in large schools I don’t see that very often. So I think that’s the goal, just when teachers have the time and the trust and the culture just sit down together and look at the results of students’ work in a formative interim way, and to constantly improve their craft.

Kim: 38:40 That’s what the Japanese have done so well since World War II coached by the way, by an American, Edward Stemming. He’s the one who started this all off in Japan and really sort of we don’t want to give all the credit to the yank, but certainly the Japanese to figure that out a lot by themselves. But I think that whole lesson study thing in Japan that whole sort of PLC, professional learning community thing that’s been fostered so much by Rick DuFour in this country, that is I think the most productive thing that can happen in a school. So I would structure the school around that kind of interaction among teacher teams.

Daniel: 39:15 Jenn, Kim, thank you so much for being a part of the Better Leaders Better Schools Podcast and helping the ruckus maker listening get just a bit better today.

Kim: 39:25 Can I just add one more thing that we’re giving away one chapter for free. So anyone who emails us can get the chapter on time management. We’ll send you a link to the whole chapter so you can get the flavor of how the book can instruct you.

Daniel: 39:39 We’ll get a link on the information in the show notes for you on how to get that free chapter. Thanks again.

Kim: 39:44 Thank you.

Jenn: 39:45 Thank you.

Daniel: 39:46 Thanks for listening to the Better Leaders Better Schools Podcast for ruckus maker. If you have a question or would like to connect my email, daniel@better leadersbetterschools.com or hit me up on Twitter @alienearbud. If the Better Leaders Better Schools Podcast is helping you grow as a school leader, then please help us serve more ruckus makers like you. You can subscribe, leave an honest rating and review or share on social media with your biggest takeaway from the episode. Extra credit for tagging me on Twitter @alienearbud and using the # BLBS. Level up your leadership at betterleadersbetterschools.com and talk to you next time. Until then, class dismissed.



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