what I’m looking for when I observe in a classroom. I’m tuned in to how my student
is responding and interacting, and I’m always taking notes both mentally and in
my notebook. I can scan a piece of student writing and fairly quickly identify
the missing language structures that I need to target in my sessions, as well
as the ones my student has begun to carry over. I can look at my students’
responses on a test and know whether it was the content or the phrasing of the
question that threw them off. I notice either the hesitation or the confidence
when there’s an equipment malfunction and my student has to implement the
advocacy strategies we’ve practiced.
teachers and other professionals in the schools—with varying degrees of past success.
When the students I work with struggle academically or socially, teachers often
think that I can work some magic in my individual sessions and fix it.
exaggerating a problem because, “She’s
getting all As,” or “He never
complained to me about not being able to hear. I think it’s fine.”
that concept,” and “He just doesn’t
try. If he put in some effort he’d be able to do it,” are not uncommon
strategies and tools—visible. It’s no easy task to take what is in my head and
make it a physical, tangible item to share with other professionals! Rather
than just verbally communicating my observations, I’ve started to photocopy and
note directly on student work samples the clauses and structures which other
students are using independently that my student has omitted. Additionally, I’m
including writing samples from sessions where I’ve provided language frames or
models to show exactly how I’m teaching those structures. I’ve continued to
write directly on the tests that I administer when I rephrase a question, but now
go the extra step to also share the language activities that I’m using to
directly teach the language that my students struggle with in terms of test
question comprehension and response. I’m very specific about targets for
advocacy, giving “homework” for my student (e.g., asking for closed captions on
media, taking listening breaks as needed with agreed-upon strategies such as
getting a drink, etc.) and communicating this to the team, specifically asking
for feedback when I’m not there to observe.
increased sense of collaboration versus my work being separate from the life of
the classroom. I’m finding teachers are approaching me more often with
questions, asking for specific input, requesting feedback on organizers and seeking
instructional strategies. One English teacher even asked me if I’d be willing
to model what I meant during a discussion of organizing group dynamics to
support my student by leading a read-aloud! It was fantastic and she carried
over the techniques that I modeled!
include teachers in my work with students. This slight shift to sharing more of
what I do; what I see; and how I analyze has only served to increase that trust
and communication which in the end, can only have a positive impact on my
student’s academic, social and overall success!
do you make your work visible?