Okay, I admit it. I am on my knees.
I love data.
Somehow that makes me feel like Winston Smith in 1984. But the truth of the matter is that, for teachers, some data is helpful.
This came about during our Professional Learning Community (PLC) meeting, when we were being instructed on what is expected on our upcoming “data chats.” Yes, just the term turns my stomach. But like every good teacher, I will twist this baby until it is to my liking. And that I have done.
I am blessed to say that I have now (and have had in the past) colleagues and administrators that “get” that students are more than one number. We had a wonderful discussion regarding the necessity for quantitative and qualitative analysis. I’m good with that. Everything is story, after all, so any numbers or observations we make do have narrative. I learned that from my statistics professor, Dr. Warren, at Edison Community College. He said statistics is for English Majors because it is about narrative. God bless him. I aced the class.
This morning while journaling, I thought about a case study I did for my Reading Practicum class that was part of my Masters program. I did a case study on a student. It was my second year teaching, and this student was a robotic reader (who loved to read out loud) but she had poor social skills. She was driving everyone in the class nuts, including me. I realized I needed to do my case study on her.
Focusing on helping her be successful as a reader and writer changed my image of her. It changed the image she had of herself. And most importantly, it changed the image the other students had of her. And it was simple, really. I assigned readings to her ahead of time so she could practice, then she would “wow” the class with smooth and expressive reading. Of course, I did more with her than just that, but that is what stands out the most. I collected data on her and wrote a narrative. It changed my view of teaching forever.
Today I decided it was time for another case study. I’m more sophisticated now. I have chosen six students, across my classes, across the demographics, across the reading Lexile, across the labels of ESE or not ESE. Today I start collecting numbers for the data chat. But not just numbers — observations and narrative. Because after all, if a teacher can’t find the proper story, then she might think she is that number, or that poorly written piece. I see it happening all of the time. But I know that isn’t the case.
One teacher’s attention to one student in a classroom can change the entire environment. My focus on these six students will benefit all my students.
I’ll have data to prove it! 😉
To read previous “Measure for Measure” click here https://helen5questions.wordpress.com/2015/01/04/4-thinking-out-loud-measure-for-measure/