June 03rd, 2019
Are you inspired to learn or is your professional learning something to get through so that you can get back to the classroon and do something that needs doing? Do you have learning goals or are you working to someone else's agenda?
Quaglia and Corso (2014) developed the Aspirations Profile. Which quadrant are you in? The Hibernation Quadrant? In this quadrant, Professional Learning (PL) has minimal impact. Practitioners may exit a PL event without ever really engaging in the learning process. The Perspiration Quadrant? In this quadrant, you work really hard but the purpose is unclear. What about the Imagination Quadrant? You have goals and dreams, but little idea on how to achieve them. Or the Aspirations Quadrant? You know where you want to be and how to get there.
mme moe gives you a scaffold to develop your goals. Just doing this alone will increase the engagement you have with your professional learning. That will increase further when you find great strategies and useful resources, provided by people like you, that will help you find ways to meet your goal. That is because, when you are using mme moe, you are in a growth mindset. You know that your effort will count.
You might work inside four walls, but you don’t have to think of those walls as a barrier to professional collegiality and learning. Do you feel as if your school leaders know your goals? When leaders don't work on goals with teachers, or even ask teachers what their goals may be, those leaders are contributing to the low level of self-efficacy that some teachers might feel. Teachers with a low level of self-efficacy feel that they have little impact on student growth and then start to have professional existential doubts. This is especially the case for teachers in their first five years, who leave the profession in droves. School leaders should impact on the growth of teachers so they move into the aspirations stage.
So take the time to think and talk about goals. Use mme moe to plan for those goals, and access resources and colleagues. Make your growth mindset visible.
Teachers and emotionality
Teaching well depends on lots of things. One key to being at your best is to have reserves of energy so that you can get to all the things that need to be done and still have a life. Strategies for renewing energy are pretty clear - get plenty of sleep, manage your diet well and look after yourself emotionally. We hope you are on top of your sleep and diet, and mme moe can help you keep a track on your emotions.
The mme moe's reflection functionality has five settings for your emotions, ranging from red - feeling worrisome about your work, to green - feeling fantastic about your work. For each of these settings you can apply a reason from four distinct areas - decision making, planning, assessing and interactions. mme moe then enables you to monitor your emotionality with graphs of weekly, monthly, quarterly and yearly outlooks.
If there's plenty of green on your bar graphs, you’re doing well and feeling good about yourself professionally. It is good to know that! But what if there is a fair bit of red, it is vital to know that too! It is an indication that all isn’t good for your professional self and should provide you a motivation to work out what is wrong and start to address it. Strategies to address the issue will of course vary from teacher to teacher. Sometimes it might be as simple as practicing a new breathing or mindfulness technique; sometimes a path for professional learning in behaviour management becomes clear.
With mme moe, not only can you monitor your emotions, you can identify specific areas of practice that you want to start to focus on and plan for improvement. The mme moe planning process connects you with resources and mentors or buddies to support your initial goals, one step at a time.
Beginning or early-career teachers are particularly vulnerable to their professional emotions. Schools can provide these teachers with mme moe's 'Reflect and grow' functionality to help. Giving new teachers the opportunity to see mme moe professional reflection and self-assessment signals in mme moe's 'Get the big picture' will make a difference. Teachers can check how well they are maintaining the reflection habit, view an overview of their capacity, and see how much growth they have made for the year so far. These are all activities that develop the teacher's growth mindset and affirm their professional persona.
A famous old African saying is ‘it takes a village….’ With mme moe, we build a community of professionals. - a community tends to look after each other. And that is a key reason why we make our moe functionality available to all users. We can all see how we are going. We can all celebrate when things are going well, and we can all pitch in and help if we find that some things are off kilter.
With change being probably the main thing we all deal with, isolating teachers in their classrooms just isn't good enough anymore. It would be good if teachers were cognizant of their own emotional and professional needs and those who have a duty of care for teachers should be alert to teachers' needs and address them quickly. Happily, you can use mme moe for exactly this.
Do you have professional learning expertise that you would like to share?
An early payoff for system-based users of mme moe is a real-time, ordered list of identified professional learning needs at your school site or jurisdiction.
Look at this top 6 list from one education system client:
1. Approaches to personalised learning.
2. Improvement in assessment practices, including enhanced use of data
3. Increasing knowledge of pedagogies for deeper learning
4. Strategies at the 'R'-end of the SAMR framework
5. Strategies to address personal daily energy renewal requirements
6. Upskilling in negotiation to better devise project based learning.
Here is a top 6 list from another school:
1. Student behaviour and classroom management skills
2 . Basic ICT skills for teachers
3. Increased efficiency with the school reporting system
4. Teaching students with special needs
5. Help with multicultural education
6. Strategies to integrate the curriculum.
Interestingly, they are quite different lists. Not every teacher at every school needs the top-down workshops in literacy and numeracy so so common in a one-sized-fits-all PD environment.
With mme moe, the first person to know their professional learning needs is the teacher. They can identify their own needs, then immediately plan to address them. And here is where another payoff for using mme moe really kicks in. While planning for their improvement, teachers can access resources and strategies designed to help them with their specific focus.
And as part of the mme moe community, your professional learning offering, preferably bite-sized and laser targeted, can be made available to teachers at their focus point. Do you have something that will help clarify personalised learning? Then your expertise can be made available to the school and to the teachers who want and need it.
Wouldn't you like to get on-demand professional learning resources from colleagues with expertise in their field? Being part of the mme moe community provides you the opportunity to access resources and expertise from others, and the opportunity to provide resources and expertise to others.
If you have something to offer, contact firstname.lastname@example.org
We all should be seriously engaged in the search to find better ways to meet the learning needs of students. We should be concerned by both the numbers of students who fail to achieve an international baseline proficiency level in reading or mathematics and the number who do reach baseline proficiency levels or better, but have no or little engagement in or agency over their learning.
Doing well at school is significantly dependent on how engaged students are. A common policy response to declining test rankings is to increase the frequency and stakes of tests and hold students, teachers and schools accountable for achieving higher standards. This, however, has resulted in a kind of performance stagflation, as shown in the improvement in Australian students’ average NAPLAN scores over the course of six years or so. There has been little or no average improvement. The response, to write more and more explicit standards and more and more explicit articulations of expectations of performance on standards, hasn’t worked. Performance has stagnated; engagement has plummeted.
The policy response above parallels the old blue joke about teaching: "You are going to do it again and again and again til you get it right!" The policy response merely intensifies existing practice - more of the same. It has been the wrong target,conceptually and practically. Walking in to many classrooms today feels much like it has walking into a classroom at any time over the last five decades. Students are grouped into year levels by age, and are often doing the same thing, in the same way, at the same time as the rest of their group. Many teachers continue to ‘deliver the curriculum’ for the year level they teach, and students are assessed and graded on how well they perform on that curriculum.
Engagement, personalization and differentiation are observed more in the rhetoric than the practice. In most school systems there are data imperatives, cultural imperatives, performance imperatives and new pedagogical imperatives. Less common are policy strategies that help teachers learn how to better engage students, learn how to better personalise the learning, better diagnose learner needs, better use data to support decisions around student activity, and better use inquiry-based, project methodologies. This is the policy deficiency in many jurisdictions.
Such a basic policy deficiency should occur at state and national levels. Imagine, for example, if spending on high stakes tests to find out what we already know was allocated instead to help teachers learn more practical and successful strategies to engage students in the learning? Classrooms might look and operate differently. Some education policy-makers have made a classic athlete’s error of watching the scoreboard instead of concentrating on executing skills to the best of your ability.
Too often in schools, the learning needs of students are well met. In most classrooms, if a whole class methodology is the general practice, then up to 60% or more of the students will not be getting their learning needs met in terms of intent, content, focus or activity. The challenge is for teachers to not only meet all students at their points of need or want with learning opportunities that stretch and extend them, but to provide students with some agency over their own learning. Competence without agency is only useful for tests, and even then, not that useful.
At mme moe, we are providing practical and contemporary pathways and functionality to assist teachers to meet this challenge. The only ones who seem to think, despite the evidence, that testing improves learning are thoe with a commercial or sentimental interest in testing or publications designed to prepare students for testing. With innovations like mme moe, we support community-based growth culture, enabling teachers and those who support them to reclaim the teaching profession.
For teachers to best get an idea of how to gather and use information about where students are in their long-term progress as part of the process of planning learning, mme moe offers this process as a self-assessment activity for teachers to model themselves. Teachers are able to self-assess against a teacher competency framework and make informed decisions about what, when and how they will go about improving their practice. Knowing that they can do this for themselves puts teachers in the position of knowing and having the confidence that they can undertake the same process with their students. So, instead of relying on age or grade based drivers for the planning of learning and teaching, they will be in a position to truly plan using a student competence, interest, need, and recognition of prior learning basis.
The importance of data of this sort is the increasing expectation that students will access a more personalised learning context. However, to expect people who have been taught in a non-personalised manner, in primary, secondary, tertiary and employment settings, to then be able to work in a personalised way in their own classroom is probably setting them up for failure. Personalisation in learning and teaching is not just one more incremental change tactic, it is a fundamental change strategy, and as such should be thought of in systemic terms.
So at mme moe, we’ve set up a community so that teachers can access functionality, a contemporary competency framework, people and resources fot support and mentoring. Our functionality helps teachers reflect on their practice and make the targeted changes they have identified as integral to their personal learning journey - and it is a journey, not an event. Although there is an event and a decision to be made.
Teachers can’t just wake up one day and be expert in the personalised learning space. There are careers’ worth of acculturation of practices to be dealt with. But teachers can wake up and have the mindset and make the decision that that is the pathway they want to take.
Teachers can become more reflective, immediately. It will be more beneficial for a teacher to be reflective and provide themselves with some meta-analysis than it will be for them to study for the coming teachers’ test.Teachers can defendably self-assess. In fact, self-assessing for the purpose of identifying your own needs and your own professional learning pathway is arguably more defendable than what currently passes for performance management in most schools.
Teachers can and want to work in learning communities, where they can both be mentored and do some mentoring, and both receive and provide support. Any other configuration of this places the teacher into a situation where their expertise, mostly hard won, is discounted and minimally valued and used.
Significant student underachievement, disengagement and disenchantment with school and with learning is a cultural problem. It is not a problem that is best addressed with systemic testing and top-down accountability. Tests perform a function when dispensed in moderation, so do management reviews, but they are not solutions for accountability or academic excellence as many imply. The solutions required include developing in-school, cross-school, perhaps cross-jurisdictional communities of improvement consisting of reflective teachers who are on their own learning journey to work in a more personalised, inquiry-based, project-oriented way.
As a nation, it is disappointing to see no improvement in NAPLAN scores and no improvement in the engagement in learning of students. Other countries have their own 'NAPLAN; testing stories. Education solutions do not lie in more testing. They lie in a mindset of developing more flexible ways of managing learning and teaching to better address individuals’ current levels of performance and their learning wants and needs. Is anyone arguing that our teachers are good at this? We need to find ways of getting better at it.
"Finally", we hear bureaucrats say, "something we can test!"
In a recent review, mme moe users reported a significant increase in the agency they have over their professional learning. They used their agency to get on-demand access to learning resources and they could see the impact of their learning over time. Here are 10 ways they reported:
1. Reflection becomes a habit
Users report that developing a habit of continuous self and professional reflection is a real positive. They use mme moe's emotionality dial regularly, mostly daily. They say having a good handle on their emotionality really helps them with their energy for teaching.
2. Building a mentor network
They report not seeing personalised learning as only an individual practice. They report using mme moe to build mentor and collegial networks to help guide and support their learning. Interestingly, they report some confidence in being providers, not just recipients, of support. Many did not expect this.
3. Self assessing creates focus
They feel that the capacity to self-assess is very empowering. They were able to use the data gathered to get an overview of their learning, which they found useful, a view on what was important to them to learn next, which they found focusing, and a view on how much they had improved over a specific time-frame which the found both empowering and motivating.
4. They set their own agenda
The data, they report, enables them to set their own agenda and identify reachable professional learning targets.
5. Breaking professional learning down into smaller chunks
They use the planning functionality enabled them to break down learning targets into fundamental objectives and identify what they needed to do to reach identified milestones.
6. My learning has purpose, therefore I stick with it
They report that the mme moe enables them to access and engage in learning with a clear purpose that was directly connected to their personal, identified needs and applicable to the classroom in which they were working.
7. I can author my own professional learning pathways
Teacher users report that authoring their own personal learning pathways increased their engagement. They were able to address their own different needs, strengths, and learning styles, as opposed to being receivers of a general approach at a conference, a lecture or even a workshop.
8. I am in charge of my learning
They report that the capacity to learn when it was best for them was extremely powerful. The capacity to access learning objects at their own pace, place, time and pathway gave them the feeling that they were in charge of their own learning. The environment enabled them to effectively use the time they had available to connect, collaborate and learn.
9. I can find and connect with others who are invested in developing the same competencies
They report that the capacity to engage with others who were also invested in solving similar problems and issues was very useful. It was almost as if they had their own workplace based mentor or coach.
10. Bite-sized, non-linear is better
They report that bite-sized, non-linear learning, supported by mme moe, reflect their authentic learning needs.
If you would like to get these sort of results from your individual or organisational professional learning process, please contact us to start the conversation. email@example.com
You go to workshops, attend professional development days, go to conferences; you do your best to keep up with your professional reading, Twitter, LinkedIn and the rest. If you are like most of us you put a fair bit of energy into improving professionally and maybe even personally.
Is it worth it? How do you know? How can you know? The plethora of professional development workshop attendance certificates that line your wall or keep your computer screen at the right height are sufficient evidence! Aren’t they?
At mme moe, we have developed a process that shows you the value your professional learning is providing you.
The voice least heard in most ‘teacher effectiveness’ research is, ironically, the voice of the teacher. However, in the context of improvement, what you say to yourself trumps what others tell you! mme moe gives prominence to your own your voice.
Contemporary teaching requires the application of a range of skills, knowledge and mindsets across a range of competencies. This is as true for the everyday teacher as it is for those who are Montessori, IB or Reggio inspired. mme moe makes these competencies (and support for them) transparent and operational and just as importantly provides you with a way of collecting data on your own performance. Because you record progress on any or each of the competencies, you record your improvement, and then mme moe can show you the picture of your professional learning journey.
It basically answers the question "How professionally competent am I now compared to how I was at <insert date>?"
With mme moe, you can see in one easy graph the impact of your professional learning on your professional competence, and be in a position to make decisions about where to act next.
While measuring teacher effectiveness is complicated, we know that if you are more professionally competent, you will be a better teacher and your students will be getting a better learning experience - that is the point.
We also believe that it doesn’t matter, really, how good you are, there is always some improvement that can be made, and in fact really good teachers are always looking to improve, in areas of strength, not just deficit.
If you would like to talk about the mme moe approach, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
In teaching, your current skill-set is important, but your ability to learn new knowledge, skills, and behaviours is vital. As the rate of change within the education sector increases, teachers and principals are constantly required to adapt. It is clear that learning agility has to be part of their repertoire.
Learning agility is the capacity for rapid, continuous learning from experience. Managing your professional learning journey by acquiring new skills in a targeted way is fundamental to learning agility and exactly the functionality we are producing with mme moe.
Teachers and principals need to be able to systematically reflect, target their professional learning and seek feedback. mme moe’s coaching functionality provides our clients with this agency. Mme moe enables you to share elements of your learning journey with a mentor or a colleague. You can maximize your learning from their feedback.
Developing learning agility involves learning to recognize and change routines and habits. A growing body of research shows that the habit of systematically reflecting on work experiences boosts learning significantly. Teachers and principals who demonstrate and encourage reflection not only learn more themselves, they also generate, through modelling, increased awareness and reflective practice in colleagues and students.
Agile learners value the process of learning. The ability to remain open to new ways of thinking and to continuously learn new skills is vital. You can use mme moe as a springboard to become an agile learner.
mme moe user feedback
This month we interviewed twenty mme moe users. They ranged from pre-service teachers using mme moe as a personal professional development tool during their professional experience, to very experienced teachers. Here is a precis of their views:
A finely tuned focus generates a greater sense of purpose
The interviewees reported that mme moe enabled them to access and engage in learning with a clear purpose that was directly connected to their personal identified needs and applicable to the classroom in which they were working. They were able to identify a clear purpose for professional learning that they felt was productive and valuable. This was in stark contrast to what they heard anecdotally in the staff room about teachers’ professional learning experiences.
Personal learning pathways increase engagement
They reported that they were able to address their own different needs, strengths, and learning styles, as opposed to being receivers at a conference, a lecture or even a workshop. To focus and support learning goals, they liked the access to their teacher competency framework, and the capacity to self reflect and and develop their own personal professional learning plan. If they found a learning object that didn’t engage them, they quickly left it behind and found another, and were able to keep looking until they found something that engaged them in the way they needed. In particular they looked for learning objects which modelled how they wanted to manage learning in their own classrooms.
Time, Time, Time
They reported that the capacity to learn when it was best for them was extremely powerful. The capacity to access learning objects at their own pace, place, time and path gave them the feeling that they were in charge of their own learning. As teachers they value professional learning, but often couldn’t make time for it when and where it was offered. Mme moe enabled them to effectively use the time they had to connect, collaborate and learn. Happily they also reported that time used on the daily habit of reflection, and for some, journalling, wasn’t an issue at all.
Loneliness, Collaboration and Coaching
They reported that they were hungrily looking forward to mme moe’s collaboration functionality (the beginning of which has just been released). Some reported that they felt the need to engage with others who are invested in solving similar problems and issues. We look forward to providing this functionality asap. A number of the students particularly, identified that it would be very useful if they had had a mme moe mentor (almost a teacher coach) throughout the experience.
At mme moe we were impressed by the thought that the interviewees gave the process and we thank them very much. Like them, we are learners!
Professional learning habits
At mme moe, our mission is to work out the habits of effective learners, and then see how we can operationalise those habits into functionality that everyone can use. We have worked with and interviewed business people, sportstars, teachers and principals to find out how they got to be as good as they are, and this is what we have found so far!
Reflect and Grow
They have a habit of continuous reflection. Effective people have a habit of having a good, hard look at themselves. They are serious about getting better because their professional lives depend upon it. They use this reflection to be continually aware and mindful. Many of them, including high performing athletes, keep a diary of their reflections. You can use mme moe's dial and the journal to develop this habit.
Connect and Network
They have a habit of connecting with people who can be useful to them or with people for whom they can be useful. The stereotype of the successful loner turns out to be not the case. Perhaps surprisingly, for effective people it is not all about them. Effective people have almost a service mentality and want to help other people. mme moe's plan sharing and feedback tools enable connecting.
Effective people leave no stone unturned to know their competence. If they are going to spend time and resources improving, they tend to work very hard to know their baseline competence – what they are good at and what they could be better at. mme moe's Know your competence tool enables teachers and principals to do this.
Use the data
Tracking competence is one thing: using the data proactively is another. Effective people can see the big picture and can identify their rate of improvement. They see things through a holistic lens that gives them an insight into the general trajectory of their improvement process. mme moe now enables you to check your big picture - check your reflective habit development; see the extent of your self-assessment of your competencies, and see how well you are doing over time.
Set reachable priorities
They strictly prioritise. They know that there is always a lot to improve on. It doesn’t matter how good they are, there are always things they know they can improve, but they also know that trying to improve on everything at the same time means that they don’t end up improving anything. They know the most important things they have to get better at, and they know the most urgent things they have to get better at. mme moe enables you to plan your improvement in one or two specific areas at a time.
Make good plans
They don’t leave improvement to chance. They plan to improve. They break down fundamental objectives to specific targets, and they know when they need to reach identified milestones. They know they can improve in bite size chunks, and that they don't have to take a course. mme moe has great functionality for this, including the option of sharing your plans with a mentor or colleague, and getting great feedback from them.
Access great resources
Effective people know that they can’t improve significantly without the support of their community. So they make sure they resource themselves by connecting to targeted material and people. mme moe's resource functionality delivers resources specific to your prioritized area for development.
And finally, they learn what they need to learn when they need to learn it. They use their agency to get on-demand access to learning resources. They can see their improvement over time. Well, that is mme moe in a nutshell!
Paul is the Chief Learning Coach at mme moe. mme moe is the culmination of years of experience and expertise in assisting people to get better at what they do.