Nadine's Notes on... Intentional Interruption: Breaking Down Learning Barriers to Transform Professional Practice with Dr. Steven Katz

Friday, January 19, 2018


Intentional Interruption:  Breaking Down Learning Barriers to Transform Professional Practice with Dr. Steven Katz

Workshop notes graciously provided by Nadine Trumbley, MB ASCD Professional Learning Committee member


  • Biggest driver of student achievement is the quality of classroom practice – nothing matters more – so don’t underestimate the influence of a teacher - Principal leadership is the 2nd most important predictor to student success
  • Students need to know what success looks like – co-constructing success criteria – even though teachers say this strategy works, how many are actually doing it?
  • Our work is a balance of informed prescription based on research and evidence-based practice AND informed professional judgment based on cycles of knowledge-building and inquiry
  • To add value to school improvement journey – we are caught between district level forces (top-down) and practitioners (bottom-up) – pressure from above and blame from below; top down and bottom up don’t have to be oppositional and incompatible
  • LEARNING – causes PERMANENT CHANGE in knowledge or behavior; means that you have achieved a new “status quo” of thinking and practice
  • Reference to the child’s shape sorter – make the disturbance long enough -creates the conditions for new learning – consolidate the learning
  • Reflect on a time when you thought you learned something but maybe not have – not permanent change & Reflect on a time when there was push back on your thinking in a way that felt uncomfortable but ultimately resulted in new understanding
  • Walkthroughs – we often don’t have access to the WHY when we are in classrooms (purple exercise ball story…)
  • PLC’s – the rhetoric has outpaced the research - the PLC as it was intended is not happening & not having a strong influence
  • Power of the PLC is: members of the group engage together in challenges of practices so their understanding grows deeper – can’t change the practices without challenging the foundational understanding
  • In a PLC – proposed solutions emerge and are tested to see if they work – we don’t know if we will come up with the BEST practice, but we decide what we are going to try next; in order to see what happens we have to define some success criteria, then repeat the process…and the practice becomes more sophisticated & impactful
  • Katz believes the order is LEARNING & TEACHING instead of TEACHING & LEARNING – the learning comes first!
  • What PD experiences have been transformative (put what you learned into practice)?
  • School improvement decision - going shallow & wide/narrow & deep
  • Link student learning need to teacher learning need linking to leader learning need
  • We struggle to monitor – it’s the hard part – b/c we are collecting evidence of implementation – it’s VERY BIG
  • The most impactful leaders:

1. Establish goals and expectations   

2. Resource strategically   

3. Plan, coordinate and evaluate teaching and the curriculum   

4. Promote and participate in teacher learning and development   

5. Ensure an orderly and supportive environment

  • Check out Ontario Ministry of Ed. Website – Principals as Co-Learners
  • Lead Learner vs. Lead Knower – need to know what it looks like & feel like to learn – must say I DON’T KNOW with your teachers
  • Engage with a lot of things you don’t like b/c we tend to pay too much attention to the things that are affirming; use 2 colours of hi-liters – what you agree with / what is contradictory (ideas that challenge you)
  • If we feel we will be judged for saying, I Don’t Know – b/c you think you will be judged for saying I Don’t Know – then you will not learn – b/c you need to admit you don’t know!
  • Can you think of a time when you have fallen prey to the confirmation bias in your work? What were the implications of this? What is the culture around mistakes in your school or in the schools that you work with? What is your own view on making mistakes?
  • Think of mistakes as MIS-TAKES – compared to Take 1, Take 2 – in movie making – need direction to make it better – try it again with some changes – more potential to learn from something that we failed than from something that went well



Posted by Meghan Burns at 2:33 PM – 0 Comments