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Buenos días. Good morning everyone I want to thank the Embassy for the tremendous honor of allowing me to be here to participate. It’s already been an inspiring day and I was inspired yesterday as well by the CSR conversations. And in thinking about CSR, it made me realize that education and companies that think about their social responsibility are about impact. And so it reminded me of a story that I read about a teacher, who I think is having a radical impact. this is a story that I read on Monday as I was traveling here.
(Thank you). This is a story of a teacher in Oklahoma, so it’s not a wealthy community where this teacher worked. She was a science teacher and through giving her children in her classrooms over 20 years: Voice, choice and agency in their learning, she helped them to do project-base learning. So: Choice, they chose projects in science that they wanted to learn with. Voice: They went out into the community and worked on those projects in ways that would benefit their community. Agency: Was having that impact. Overtime, those students won awards internationally for their research in science, they’ve had tremendous impact on their communities and now they’re scientists themselves.
Her premise, what I think is the radical piece of her approach is: for a scientist doing science is not about the scientist, it’s about the impact on the world. So for her children learning science was not about them as students, it was about their impact on the world.
So those three features: Voice, choice and agency. I think our key is to our teachers can shift and think about their practice in broader ways in the digital world. (Technical lesson).
So the reason that we’re interested ⏤at Microsoft⏤ in this issues is we have a mission of empowering every student and school, every organization on the planet to achieve more. More doesn’t just mean ⏤thinking about the minister’s comments a moment ago⏤ learning measured academic skills. More means: what’s meaningful to that person, what’s meaningful to that community and what will help those people to be most successful and happy in their lives.
So a few months ago I left my 36 years as an educator and joined Microsoft as a researcher in education to help and understanding the relationships between these broad skills and learnings and changes that can happen in schools, in ways that technology can enable them. For us technology is a lever for humanity, it’s a lever for becoming more human, more creative, more collaborative, more connected.
So what I’ll share in the next few minutes are some examples of where we see that happening through external research. So these are stories and data of where we see shifts in teaching practice that enable broader learning, deeper skills, more connection, more community; and how we can start to think more broadly about those measures. So I think a role in education is to illuminate and celebrate those radical educators who are thinking holistically about their children and to advocate for policies that will broaden the measures, will broaden the ways that we think about what education is for and how we are accountable in education.
So as I was thinking about education in the digital age and the role of teachers in instilling human values, I was lucky to find a speech that Dalai Lama did last week on that topic. So he says that we do need to think ⏤as the speakers have alluded to this morning⏤ about the emotional state of children, about their mindset, about their mental health. Schools should be doing this because it’s as important, if not more important than their academic growth and their intellectual health, but that’s a new way of thinking for schools. I think educators are passionate, they want to do this, but there are not a lot of models and examples of how that can happen. So that’s what I would like for us to take a look at today.
So the first piece of data that I’ll refer to is a report that’s new, just came out a few weeks ago and I’ll show you where you can find it. I’ll just highlight briefly some of the data points that relate to the role of the teacher and instilling human values in the digital age, and you can get more details in the full report.
But the report was a global survey of leaders, students and teachers. Thousands of people were interviewed about what is it that schools and teachers should be doing in their classrooms, so that our children who enter school today will be prepared for a changing world in the year 2030 when they leave school. What will help them be successful, happy members of society. So that’s what we’ll look at.
What it came down to was it’s the social and emotional skills that learning in school, life outside of school and work are profoundly social and we haven’t actually explicitly brought social learning and emotional learning into education as broadly as we can. Some schools are beginning to have social and emotional learning as part of their curriculum. Some schools are starting to measure social and emotional learning, and report on those measures and make that part of their continuous improvement. But we’re just beginning to understand this.
So what does that look like? Those who were interviewed said that emotional and social learning are twice as important, twice as predictive of success as the academic learning. Employers agreed that it’s the social and emotional skills that they look for because they can train, they can help their employees learn the knowledge and the skills, the specifics of their job, but it’s much more difficult to teach the social and emotional skills. More jobs will require them. So education needs to think about how we catch up with that need.
So, again, we look at voice and agency, how we can help students to hear their voice, be heard, have agency and action, and make an impact when they’re learning. And how can we do that equitatively? Students, if you think about the Gallup Student Poll, which is a global measure, it’s that sense of belonging that’s most important for a child in school. That’s the one factor that most keeps the student engaged in school and is most predictive of completion of school. To feel ‘belonging’ one must feel heard and valued, and be able to contribute to that community. So schools are shifting to be thinking more about communities of learning, which means teachers are shifting to be engaged more in communities of practice. So it’s fantastic to hear the minister talk about teacher development and teacher capacity this morning.
If we have new expectations of teachers we need to have different ways of preparing and developing teachers. So more systems in schools are changing to not individual teacher learning or learning in a setting like this, but teachers engaged in communities focused on developing their practice. We’ll see what that can look like.
So, the digital world, as I mentioned, the digital world provides us opportunities to help equity and access to education as well as to help students with voice and choice in their learning. Specifically what that can look like and where that seems strongest in classrooms and schools is in ‘collaboratively learning’. Students should have practiced collaborating with others and having different roles in a group that works collaboratively within their classroom and more broadly. Technology plays an important role in bringing students into collaborative learning environments. In the same way, teachers need opportunities to engage in those collaboratively learning environments. So professional learning is an opportunity as well, where the digital world can support. And then the data and the analytics shows us to what extent we’re having that impact. It helps us to see what’s working, where we have opportunities, to guide those cycles of continuous improvement.
So this is a link where you can find the report, it was conducted by Pearson and McKenzie as I mentioned, it’s called “Class of 2030”, so if you need to search for it that would be the way to locate that report and we can make sure that we have that information available to you later on as well. So I’ll go into little bit of the data from that report, some of the details and some of the specific guidance that it provides for teachers. “Class of 2030.”
All right. So there’s a lot of text on some of these slides as I said I’ll make just one point from each of them and you can find the detail in the report.
From this one the guidance is: the role of a teacher is becoming broader. Teachers are now or increasingly expected to develop students academic learning as well as social and emotional learning. That’s a big change, it’s important, I think teachers are not shying away from it, but support is needed. Part of doing this is attending to each child individually, having a way to personalize a learning experience, having that balance between addressing a child’s individual needs and bringing that child into a community and a collaborative experience. Very new skills for teachers.
This chart shows the shift in careers toward more social skills. Those jobs at the bottom of the chart are the ones that require more technical, specific knowledge and skills, more of the traditional skills. Those at the top are those that are requiring more social skills and there’s definitely a move up toward the top of that chart. So if you look at “job ad’s”, if you look up postings for jobs, more and more they are requiring teamwork and management and self regulation, skills related to understanding the self and understanding and being able to work with others; being listed more and more. Again schools are working on this and teachers are working on this.
So there’s some learning science behind this, it’s not just a survey that’s saying social skills matter and emotional learning matters. There’s learning science behind the academic benefits that students get in their learning from having social learning. Those students who learn more of those social and emotional skills also learn more academic skills, there’s a direct relationship. So there’s thinking that the more students develop those social and emotional skills the farther they’re able to go in education, the more their capability when they think about the jobs that are open to them.
However the students who were surveyed didn’t feel they were getting much instructional guidance or support in developing those social and emotional skills in school. This is the gap that we have right now. There’s recognition of the need, but there’s a gap in understanding, there’s a gap in curriculums and there’s a gap in practice. So I think it’s an important part of our role and roles of education leaders to you think about how we [CORTE] teachers, how we help teachers and leaders bring more of the social and emotional learning into their schools.
Relationships matter. Again you have to be valued, you have to feel heard, you have to feel you belong, and relationships in school are some of the most predictive factors of success and general satisfaction. Students also say there is a gap, they’re not feeling that they have those strong relationships in schools as much as their teachers think they do. So again that’s an area, an opportunity to help teachers see what those strong supportive relationships can look like in school.
So this is a summary of some of the skills. What does it actually look like if we think about voice, choice, agency, the social emotional skills from a curriculum perspective. The skills at the top of the list are the ones that have been included in many school curriculum. Already there are measures of literacy, numeracy, communication, critical thinking, problem solving these are being measured by PISA, so they’re established as skills in school. It’s the ones on the bottom that are the core social and emotional skills that measures and curricula are just beginning to be used for.
This is the predicted impact. If more social and emotional learning was infused in school there would be increases up to a million in the U.S., of graduates from high school because they would be very prepared and they would have a stronger academic learning. This survey is right now being completed in Mexico and a number of other countries. So in addition to that “Class of 2030” report that I mentioned to you there’ll be new versions of that that include more countries, so we’ll see some of this data for other places as well.
So I want to bring this to life a little bit and move from kind of the numbers and the charts to what social and emotional learning, what voice, choice and agency can look like in classrooms, in a school system. This is a story of a school system in the U.S., it’s a city in the central area of California, it’s a low socio-economic city that traditionally had only about 50 percent of its students graduating from high school. They knew they needed to change, they knew they needed to think more broadly about skills, they started a program two years ago; they partnered with us as research partners. So we helped them with the data analysis to help them to see where the success was happening, if the success was happening and then a report was released last week from Digital Promise, who were the researchers who did the work. So you can find a report on Fresno from Digital Promise to get more of the details on the story.
So I’ll point out what was happening with the teachers, what happened with the students and what the data showed were the impacts of this new initiative.
So in short, the school system decided that it wanted to give teachers skills to personalize instruction in their classrooms, how could they reach each individual student and understand their needs more specifically; how could they help students to use their voice, choice and agency; how could they ensure that these approaches were affecting all students, every different group of students even the most disadvantaged; and what would that look like if they succeeded; how would they help teachers to developed these skills.
So they started looking at equity as a core premise, they wanted to make sure they were reaching all students. This couldn’t just work for those students who were already academically performing. They wanted to make sure that this worked across their grade levels and that students were learning academically as well as developing their social and emotional skills.
So the additional skills that they began to infuse in their curriculum and in their pedagogy included: collaboration, decision-making, problem-solving, creativity, adaptation. So they started out at the beginning bringing in a group of teachers to help them to add those pedagogies into their classrooms. They had the same accountabilities, they had the same traditional academic measures that were required, but then they wanted to measure more, they wanted to broaden those measures and have a more holistic understanding of how children were developing and thriving.
So one year ago they did this program with the first group of students. So 12,000 students, which is a lot of students, but a small percentage of the students in the district because they wanted to work to see that this program could succeed. They didn’t want to be too big they wanted to be big enough to understand its impacts and then they wanted to be able to improve and expand the program. Last year they went up to 17,000 students involved and this year they just began the new school year and they’ve nearly doubled. So based on what they learned and cycles of continuous improvement informed by the data, they’re building this program wider.
You can see that the percentage of low income of the students who participated in this program. So they were some of the students who were struggling to complete school.
So to get a holistic understanding of child development they needed to collect a lot of data. And this was a challenge. They knew they needed a broad understanding, they needed to look for many different perspectives at students, but they also needed to then analyze all of that data and understand what was happening. So that was where we helped with the analysis of the big data. So social emotional skills were measured as well as collaboration, communication and agency. So I’ll share with you a little bit of the findings and again there’s more in the report.
So the first year they wanted to know: Is this program working? We brought teachers together in new communities to work together in thinking, rethinking their lessons, in redesigning their classroom practices, in enhancing voice and choice. Was this working? Were students still learning literacy and numeracy? The chart shows you for language arts on one side and math on the other side, from grades 3 through 8, the students with the blue bars were those students who participated in the program. So across both subject areas in every grade level the students who were in this personalized learning program performed more, and they were the same statistical controls the we would expect to see in an education statistic.
The stars show you those grade levels where the students in this initiative significantly outperformed the others. That was pretty amazing after one year, that was not expected. It was expected that the students in the initiative would learn at least as well and develop a broader range of skills, but not that they would significantly outperform. So that was important.
The next question was: Is this happening for all of our sub-groups, for all of our populations that we care about? So the data where we analyze for the, sort of five demographic or ethnic groups that the school system looks at. And they again found that for each of those groups the students participating in the program were learning more and in many cases significantly more. That was really all the evidence that leaders needed to say: “Yes, this seems to be working for learning. Yes, this seems to be working for all students, helping us with our equity goal. That’s enough that we want to invest and grow this program another year, and see if we can maintain that quality as we scale larger. That’s always the challenge. Can we scale and maintain an impact?”
So a couple of more findings… (I need some professional development on the technology. Perfect. Thank you! Excellent).
So as we said collaboration and communication, that social aspect, students working together in their learning experience was a core of this program. For that to happen the district used a collaborative learning environment where students could chat with the teacher and each other, they could have conversations, they could work together on work that they were doing and they could bring in others into their learning experience. So they wanted to find out: Is this environment being used? Does this seem to be part of the impact that’s being found? Does this seem to be a contributor to the gains, the learning gains? And they found again with the blue those classrooms that were participating in this program were using far more this collaborative environment. So there might have been a relationship between being able to come together in a space designed for collaboration and the growth of skills. That’s an indicator it’s not a cause-and-effect, we need to ask other questions.
Another part of the program as I mentioned was investing in professional learning, bringing these teachers together in a community to re-think their pedagogy.
This school district spent about $10,000 each year per teacher for professional development. That’s a huge investment. They wanted to know what’s the relationship between professional development engagement and student learning. They’ve never before had the data to understand that relationship. So now what they’re seeing is that the darker bars on these charts are the teachers who participated in this program, the more of the professional learning experiences they participated in during the year the higher their students performed.
So for this group they see a direct relationship between students likelihood of achieving their measured standards and teachers engaging in this new community of practice and thinking deeply about their pedagogy. Again that show them that they should continue this investment, they should continue to support this program and look for ways to learn more, how to enhance it and how to make it better.
So what they wanted to do this year is to look at who are their outliers. They use the term ‘positive deviance’. Who are those teachers who are different from the rest where students are learning far more than is expected, far more than is average. Those are the green dots if you can see them on the chart, those are those teachers who students are far outperforming the others.
So now this is the qualitative dimension of improvement in helping pedagogy. They’ll be studying the practices of those teachers and working with those teachers to understand how to bring their practices into this community so that all teachers, all students can benefit from what’s working so well in those classrooms.
They did social emotional measures, they measured four dimensions of social and emotional learning, and found again significant increases for students who participated in this program across grade levels, in different classes, in different schools. So based on what they found what was shown to them through the data, they have some understanding of what’s working, whether it’s working; but there are a lot more questions that need to be answered about under what conditions is this program working, what are the specific conditions of the classroom, what are the specific factors of students that will help them benefit most; and that’s the goal of next year. Now that they’ve got 600 teachers, over 20,000 students participating they can answer those much more specific questions and understand of the classroom level and at the student level. How teachers are engaging students, what’s happening with their completion rates, what’s happening with their growth and their learning, what is it look like when it works well.
One student was 10 years old and in fifth grade when this program started. He was a foster child and he had lived with many families in the community, and he had not done well academically and his teachers said he struggled to be part of the classroom and to know how to… What to do, to know what to do as a learner, to know what to do as a student. Last year after participating in this program he got up on a stage like this and he presented to his school boards ⏤so the leaders of his whole school system⏤ what was happening for him and he helps others in the classroom, he’s a leader in his school. And actually yesterday he was presenting at a national conference to share his experience in this personalized learning initiative.
So those stories matter, what happens for individuals. We don’t necessarily know those stories for 20,000 students, but we do have the data for teachers and students. So by putting those stories together with the data we’ve got a good picture of how a shift in practice, a shift in professional learning and broadening our view of academic skills using the tools of digital that amplify our humanity can help students become more prepared as learners in life and for work.
So this is a link where you can find that report if you’d like to learn more. And there will be some videos and some other information about that district’s story. They’re not the only ones that are doing things like this. They happen to be the one that we’ve got deep data for, the kind of detailed understanding over multiple years.
I think an important part of the story is: Change is not instant. We can see impacts quickly, but change at a scale takes time, commitment and the vision of leaders. So it’s not just enabling teachers and building teacher capacity, it’s also the organizational culture in the leadership to do this broadly.
So, back to the beginning. I think our lesson for the role of the teacher in instilling human values in the digital age is using technology in ways that help provide equity and access and engagement in education, increase students voice in their learning and beyond their classroom; their choice and how they learn and how they show what they’ve learned; and their agency, their ability to make change in their world.
Look forward to learning from you the rest of the day.
access_time Wed, 10/03/2018 - 09:30