Reflections on a Great Day of Learning

For the 2nd straight year, John D’Auria of Teachers21 shared his insight, experience, and humor with our faculty team.  This full day of learning centered on the important ideas of how to enhance student outcomes through “Developing a Shared Understanding of Effective Teaching & Teaming.”  As always John has a keen ability to make both the discourse and the methods used in discourse educational for all in attendance.


Connection between adult and student environment

John put forth the idea that a school system is the same as a fractal (A curve or geometric figure, each part of which has the same statistical character as the whole) in that what is occurring in the classroom mimics what is occurring with the faculty.  As such it is vital for the social, emotional, and learning needs of the teachers to be met and developed in order to ensure that same care is happening with our students.  This idea ties perfectly with our core value of Kehilla – (community)

“kehillah is more than just a group of people who share a common space. It is a group of people who share a common vision, common values, common hopes, common language, and common expectations of one another. We don’t sacrifice our individuality to be part of a kehillah. Instead we understand that our diverse and unique qualities and attributes make our kehillah vibrant (Rabbi Lapidus @rabbispen).”

And is supported by John Hattie’s Research which is detailed in his incredible book Visible Learning for Teachers.

“School leaders and teachers need to create schools, staffrooms, and classroom environments in which error is welcomed as a learning opportunity, in which discarding incorrect knowledge and understanding is welcomed, and in which teachers can feel safe to learn, re-learn, and explore knowledge and understanding (John Hattie, 2012).”

If all parties in a school community are not expected to learn and grow, how can we be modeling this for students?

7 behaviors that demonstrate effective learning

John then posed to each team (we were grouped in cross divisional random groupings) to list the behaviors that we would see inside the classroom of an effective teacher.  After much discussion and pairing down our lists to a final 7, groups shared their results (a few tweeted lists below:)


The opportunity to engage in this discussion about what each of us feel are the essential qualities of good teaching and learning continues to build on both a common vocabulary as well as trust amongst the entire team.

A lens for looking at effective learning

John next put forth a lens for all of us to look at and discuss learning with and important shift:


Effective learning has to be measured through student’s investment and the degree to which the learning is relevant to the student as opposed to the actions of the teacher.  It is our job and goal to facilitate lessons on learning outcomes that are relevant and important to the students that garner their investment.  We then watched a series of clips of teacher’s lessons and discussed the student engagement and relevance.

How do the core values of the school align with this lens?

The method for assessing evidence of learning is the same tool that can and should be applied to assessing the permeation and realization of our values.

Davis Academy Core Values

kehillah – community

Tzedek – righteousness

Chochmah – wisdom

Kavod – Respect

Ruach – spirit


How are student invested in these values and how are they relevant to them not only inside the classroom but also in the lunch room, on the ball field, at home, and throughout their lives?  John challenged us to come up with pieces of evidence that we could share to support that these are more than words and actualized by our students.  The list of activities and traits that were quickly generated were wonderful to hear and left us excited to begin further implementation and lessons surrounding these ideas.

In Closing

In the end a wonderful day of mutual sharing learning was concluded and summed up best by our middle school math teacher, Cam Heyen, when he shared:


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