Getting students to pay attention is the first step toward getting them to learn, says author and educational consultant Mary Kim Schreck. Ms. Schreck is passionate about teaching educators, and she has conducted active research into how to engage those students who are difficult to reach.
She discusses a success story where she worked with a class with an 8% proficiency rate, and after three months of working and helping their teachers develop the so-called “soft” skills, the students tested at 58% proficiency.
Her work focuses on helping teachers develop the skills to get and retain student attention, which leads to greater student achievement. For example, good teachers get to know their students’ “golden coins”: the passions and interests they have outside the classroom. Once teachers know their students in this way, they can begin to work together toward educational goals.
Soft skills aren’t necessarily measurable by hard data, which sometimes makes them less respected. However, Ms. Schreck claims that teachers can learn to measure and change their own use of these skills. They can, for example, start moving around the room to use proximity research in their favor. Students, who are adept at reading body language, will respond when they know that their teachers know them and are really observing them in the classroom. Teachers can learn to develop these soft skills through regular peer observations.
Use your PD 360 login and password to access part 1 of the 4-part interview. If you do not have a login, you can follow the same link to sign up. To learn more about the School Improvement Network content theme for April, Student Achievement Best Practices: How to Help Your Students Reach Their Potential, visit www.schoolimprovement.com/resources.
View School Improvement Network's White Paper "6 Questions Administrators Must Ask about Online PD."