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MIFGASHIM  July 2009

MIFGASHIM July 2009

Subject:

Mifgashim Volume 8 Issue 82

From:

Lee Buckman <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

[log in to unmask]

Date:

Mon, 6 Jul 2009 16:06:25 +0300

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

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Mifgashim Volume 8 Issue 82


Contents:

1.	Lookstein Podcast:  Establishing Routines

2.	Book Review:  Lencioni’s Death by Meeting 

3.	Education in the News:  How to Help Students Like School

4.	Marshall Memo: How to Make Professional Development Stick 


~~~~~~~~~


1.	Lookstein Podcast:  Establishing Routines


While surprises are fun, both teachers and students need routines in order for class to run 
smoothly. 

Mark Smilowitz’s Classroom Teaching presents some ideas about the importance of 
building a variety of routines in your teaching and offers practical suggestions about how 
to use them. 

Listen to this week's episode or subscribe at www.lookstein.org/podcasts/.


~~~~~~~~~


2.	Book Review:  Lencioni’s Death by Meeting (Buckman)


Staff meetings have the potential to be powerful communication tools in a school.  Yet, 
those who attend complain that often little is accomplished.  Meetings lack focus, passion, 
and purpose, and real decisions and discussion take place elsewhere.  What can be done 
about this?

Coming from the business world, Patrick Lencioni in Death by Meeting uses the analogy of 
film-making to identify the ingredients of a worthwhile meeting:  All effective meetings 
need a hook, conflict, and a singular purpose.  Otherwise, they will be “the birthplace of 
low morale.”

First, like a good movie, an effective meeting hooks participants from the beginning. The 
leader needs to jolt participants in the first 10 minutes of the meeting so that they 
understand what is at stake and why the meeting matters.  

Second, a meeting will be engaging and interactive if healthy conflict and debate are 
permitted. Too many meeting leaders avoid and even discourage conflict. Instead, we 
should encourage active debate.

Finally, Lencioni observes that one reason staff meetings are often unproductive is that 
they tend to include too many different types of issues.  Instead of combining a meeting 
on logistics with professional development or a discussion of a substantive problem and 
accomplishing nothing of value in any of these realms, Lencioni advises that we first 
clarify the purpose of the meeting and then narrow the agenda.  

In other words, each of these purposes (logistics, problem-solving, professional 
development) requires a different meeting structure.  Those that focus on logistics may 
require a brief daily check-in where attendees do not even sit down.  Others that deal 
with tactical issues may require a longer weekly meeting.  Meetings that discuss strategic 
issues or are devoted to professional development require more time to be effective.  
Mixing purposes can be deadly.  

The book is structured as a fable and ends with an executive summary for those who 
want to skip the “fiction” part of the book.  Lencioni’s insights are worth taking seriously 
as is the book.

Lee Buckman
[log in to unmask]


~~~~~~~~~

 
3.	Education in the News:  How to Help Students Like School

People are naturally curious, so why is school such a chore for so many kids?  University 
of Virginia cognitive scientist Daniel Willingham set out to learn why in his new book, 
“Why Don’t Students Like School?”

Part of the answer, he finds, is that thinking can be just plain hard.  Unless conditions are 
right, a person will actually try to avoid the process of thinking.  A teacher’s challenge, 
the author says, is to “maximize the likelihood that students will get the pleasurable rush 
that comes from successful thought.”  

To read an interview with the author, where he discusses ways in which teachers can 
present material so that it is memorable (view teaching in terms of a story structure 
which inspires students to think about the meaning and central point well after the 
lesson), the notion that students have different learning styles (he argues there is no 
evidence to suggest such differences exist; rather, people differ in their interests and 
abilities), and how to get smart (turn off the television and engage in intellectual 
activities), see today’s print edition of USA Today.


~~~~~~~~~


4.	Marshall Memo: How to Make Professional Development Stick 
	
In this Educational Leadership article, author/consultant David Sousa draws on recent 
brain research to argue that four factors determine how likely a teacher is to remember 
and use what’s presented in a PD session:

• Emotions – “How we feel about a learning situation affects attention and memory more 
quickly than what we think about it,” says Sousa. Teachers who are annoyed at being 
ordered to attend PD or feel emotionally detached from what’s being presented may 
conceal their negative feelings, but they won’t get much out of it. To increase the chance 
that teachers will remember something and put it to use in their classrooms, those who 
organize and present PD should keep the following precepts in mind:
-	Offer learning experiences with some challenge, excitement, creativity, and joy.
-	Address problems and concerns that teachers have identified.
-	Get teachers excited about the initiative.
-	Include opportunities for hands-on participation and involve a variety of learning 
styles.
-	Provide opportunities for teachers to give feedback on the training. 
-	It helps if teachers are involved in planning the PD.

• Application and feedback – “The need to be valued is a potent emotional force,” says 
Sousa, “and positive feedback fills that need.” Participants in PD should have a chance to 
try out ideas and get comments and suggestions that are timely, specific, and build on 
strengths.

• Drawing on past experiences – If professional development links to previous PD 
experiences that made a positive difference, teachers are much more likely to tune in, 
says Sousa. The opposite is true of past PD experiences that were unhelpful.

• Meaning – “As a learning episode ends, the brain decides whether to encode the new 
learning into long-term memory or let it fade away,” explains Sousa. What are the 
criteria? First, does this make sense? Second, does it have meaning for me personally? 
When the answer to both questions is yes, there’s a strong likelihood that the learning will 
be stored in long-term memory. PD presenters maximize the chance of this happening 
when they:
-	Directly connect their content to teachers’ job-related goals.
-	Do more than a one-shot workshop; follow-up activities are vital.
-	Model strategies.
-	Have teachers apply them immediately.
-	Get participants involved in action research in which they personally assess the 
impact of the strategies they are learning.
-	Promote in-school study groups to share classroom experiences and explore why, 
and under what conditions, a new strategy is effective. 

“Francis Bacon said knowledge is power,” concludes Sousa. “But real power lies in 
applying knowledge. Ultimately, we hope teachers will not only retain what they learn in 
professional development encounters but also transfer that new knowledge into action.” 

“Brain-Friendly Learning for Teachers” by David Sousa in Educational Leadership, June 
2009 (Vol. 66 #9, online only) 
http://www.ascd.org/publications/educational_leadership.aspx 


The Marshall Memo is a weekly digest of important research in K-12 education. Individual 
subscriptions are $50 for the school year at http://www.marshallmemo.com.

__________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________

The Mifgashim List is a project of
The Lookstein Center for Jewish Education in the Diaspora,
The School of Education, Bar Ilan University

The Center encourages you to become a paid member and
benefit for the wide variety of programming offered by the Center.
For information see http://www.lookstein.org/joinus/.

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You can search the archives at http://listserv.biu.ac.il/archives/mifgashim.html.

Check out online educational materials and information on other
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The e-community is supported by generous grants from Evelyn and Shmuel Katz, Bal Harbour, Fl.

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