Today was a significant day for new learning, during which the ideas we had established in the morning session, had dramatically changed by lunch time.
Following the morning session, in which the Principal of the BART Public Charter School, Ben Klompus, presented us with a case study outlining how his school completed each step of the Data Wise process. This also included their ongoing reflections and evolving understandings throughout the inquiry process. Much of what Ben raised, caused us to reflect upon our own Data Wise work at EPS, and seek greater clarity around how we were engaging with each step of the process. We now understand that our initial dilemma will be around which of our improvement strategies we should implement first; a dilemma also faced by the BART team.
The afternoon session involved intensive data analysis of students test scores, during which we all entered the ‘Zone of Confusion’ (the ZOC) as we tried to understand the foreign data sets, terminology and data graphics. Reflecting now upon this experience, we came away with two understandings. Firstly, we are grateful for the opportunity to experience the cognitive dissonance associated with being in the ZOC, after all, there are times when, as teachers, assign tasks which may lead students to have this same experience. Hence it was a unique opportunity to experience the anxiety and sense of being overwhelmed ourselves as adult learners, and in so doing, be more empathetic to students as they experience this themselves. Secondly, we realised that the work we have completed thus far as a team (e.g. completing the online Data Wise course and authoring the ‘Data Inventory’ publication) has significantly developed our data analysis skills especially in the way in which we graphically represent present student data to teachers.
However, our reflections were that that some of our colleagues might feel as we did during the data task today, if we do not take the time to explain what is being displayed and provide guidance on how to interpret what is being shown.
This series of posts are being written by three teachers Erin, Jess and Sarah and Penny the Assistant Principal who are all attending or part of the teaching team at the Harvard University Data Wise Institute.
Did You Know?: That it wasn’t until 1999 that female students were officially recognised as Harvard graduates. Prior to this their graduation certificate was co-signed by the Dean of Harvard and of Radcliffe House. Radcliffe was the female campus until World War Two. Current News