In recent discussions and surveys within the education community, one quote has sparked a firestorm of conversations: "If you have 800 students in tier two, you don't have an intervention problem; you have a tier one problem." The reaction to this statement highlighted the urgency of the issue and raised questions about the state of tier one instruction in our educational system. This blog post recaps my most viewed episode on YouTube and delves into the reasons behind the collapse of tier one instruction and explores how a lack of clarity might be at its core.
Defining Tiered Instruction:
Before jumping straight into the problems surrounding tier one instruction, it's important to establish a common understanding of what tiered instruction really is. Tier one instruction, often referred to as core instruction, should meet specific criteria: it should be research-based, implemented with integrity, aligned with grade-level standards, explicitly taught, differentiated, include flexible grouping, and encourage active student engagement. With this definition in mind, we can better assess the issues plaguing tier one instruction.
And the Survey Says:
To gain insight into the challenges surrounding tier one instruction, an anonymous survey was conducted among educators, primarily administrators and instructional leaders. The survey aimed to identify whether respondents believed tier one instruction was lacking or missing and what they considered the most significant contributors to this problem.
While these survey results offer insights into the challenges educators face, they also underscore a more profound issue: a lack of clarity. This lack of clarity revolves around what teachers should know, what tier one instruction should encompass, and how to address the diverse needs of students effectively.
Clarity Precedes Capacity:
To address the tier one instruction crisis, we must recognize that clarity precedes capacity. Without clarity on what teachers need to know and how to provide it, efforts to improve tier one instruction will be ineffective. Building clarity requires change, not just in programs or curricula, but in people. To bring about this change, we need to establish a clear vision and focus on building capacity in educators.
A Human-Centered Approach:
As Rachel Gabriel aptly put it in her podcast episode with Jennifer Serravallo, "A human will outlast any material you buy, but only if you invest in them and build their capacity." Instead of relying on external solutions, invest in your educators' knowledge and understanding to address the tier one instruction problem effectively.
The Clarity Cycle:
To build clarity and capacity simultaneously, consider implementing a six-step Clarity Cycle:
But this is more than just a framework. It's more than just a process. It's more than just a set of steps. The Clarity Cycle is a series of habits and mindsets that you can hone as an instructional leader that will benefit you and the people you serve for years to come. It is a cycle that can be used to address any challenge that arises.
Tier one instruction is one such challenge. The path to improvement lies in bringing clarity to educators. And the same is true for so many other challenges we may face. Remember, clarity precedes capacity, and it's the key to lasting change in our schools.
In the world of education, stress can be an ever-present companion. From educators to administrators, the pressures of the profession can sometimes take a toll on individuals and teams alike. In this blog post, I'm recapping what Naomi Hall, founder of The Recovering Educator, shared in our fascinating conversation about recognizing and managing stress in educational teams, as well as addressing negativity within the group.
Recognizing Stress in Educators
Educators are no strangers to stress, and it's essential to understand the signs that manifest when someone is experiencing it. As discussed in the conversation, here are some common indicators of stress in educators:
Listening to Your Body
One essential aspect Naomi shared is the importance of listening to one's body. When you notice early signs of stress, it's essential to address them promptly. As an educator, taking stock of your well-being and making necessary adjustments to your mindset, health, nutrition, fitness, and sleep can prevent long-term health issues.
Educators often have a tendency to push through challenges, but ignoring the whispers of your body can lead to catastrophic consequences. Remember that self-care is not selfish; it's essential for your well-being and effectiveness as an educator.
Team Dynamics and Stress
Educational teams, whether they work together on a daily basis or collaborate in periodic meetings, are not immune to stress. In fact, stress within a team can be highly contagious. Here are some signs Naomi shared of a stressed team and how to address them:
Addressing Negativity within Teams
Negativity within a team can quickly derail productivity and create a toxic environment. To combat this, Naomi suggests that team members prepare themselves with strategies for addressing negativity constructively. Here are some fantastic tips she shared:
I had a blast visiting with Naomi during this episode! She has SO much to share with the world and I want to be sure you know exactly how to connect with her, so I've left her details below:
Calm in the Chaos Course
You can't stop all the chaos, but you don't have to feel chaotic. I'll take you through my three pillars of stress management and help you find your balance again. In this 6 week, self-paced course, you will start to build the habits that lay the foundation of effective stress management. You will receive a certificate of completion at the end of the course.
Welcome! I am Casey Watts- Collaborative Leader and Culture Changer!