Saturday, April 23rd, 2016

Assessment Tools

Teachers are always looking for ways to check for understanding. Assessment tools come in many shapes and sizes. They can be quick and light or more in-depth. In the end, assessment can happen anytime in any classroom. Many versatile and effective assessment tools can make their way into a teacher’s repertoire. That’s what the list below is meant to provide.
The student brain is a complex mystery we may never fully understand. So the assessment tools we use give us glimpses into that complexity. They’re meant to provide markers along any students’ learning pathway. It helps us to adjust our approaches and methodologies accordingly. In doing so, we reach all students better.
The following 7 assessment tools are quick and easy tools for anytime/anywhere assessment. Use them to get useful information for instruction planning and lesson building.
1. Quick Summaries
Students can be asked to summarize important lessons or concepts. You can even add a summary challenge using social media. Have them Tweet their summaries, for example. The challenge there is that the limit is 140 characters. Students must be concise and brief with their entries.
2. Open-Ended Questions
These are content questions that really get students thinking about what they’ve learned. They


can chat about or write their responses. Try not to use closed questions like “did this make sense to you?” The answer will usually be Yes, even if it isn’t true. Instead, give students a chance to really think about the learning that took place. Use the free Essential Questions Guide to help you form the right questions.
3. Student Interviews
This is similar to Think-Pair-Share. It happens at the end of the class. It’s meant to be a casual discussion of the learning that happened in that period. Groups of 2 or 3 students take a few minutes at the end of class to discuss what they’ve learned. Each student takes a turn interviewing the other.
You can give them guiding questions for this exercise. Get them asking each other things like:
What was the most useful thing you learned?
What did you struggle most with?
What will you ask for help with next class?
What can you do to help somebody else learn better?
What’s your learning goal for next class?
4. Daily Learning Journals
This is a daily brief reflection exercise. It lets students privatize their experiences in their own words on a personal level. As far as assessment tools go, this is one that some students may resist. Some may not enjoy writing daily reflections. If so, offer up some alternatives.
They could do it using screen casting or simple audio recoding if they wish. Younger students can create vision boards or collages, relating imagery to what they’ve learned. They may also choose to share their excerpts on a class blog or web page. This is a great classroom community-building exercise.
5. Peer Teaching
Assessment tools used by other students are a great way to check for understanding. You know students have truly learned a concept when they can teach it to other students. This can be done in groups of 2 or 3, but that’s a recommended limit. Bigger groups require the kind of attention-wrangling skills students don’t yet possess. Keep it smaller and more effective.
6. Quick-Draw Showdown
This one is a fun competitive exercise. Square two students off against each other. Their goal is to quickly write down a sentence or draw a quick sketch about a learning concept. It works better if they are both using the same thing. When you say “Go!” the fun begins. The first one to finish wins the quick draw.
7. Self-Grading
Students can use this one to grade their own progress. Have them give themselves a grade on the material covered. They must then explain why they feel they’ve earned that grade.

Saturday, March 5th, 2016

Childhood Trauma

With grief, sadness is obvious. With trauma, the symptoms can go largely unrecognized because it shows up looking like other problems: frustration, acting out, difficulty concentrating, following directions or working in a group. Often students are misdiagnosed with anxiety, behavior disorders or attention disorders, rather than understanding the trauma that’s driving those symptoms and reactions.

For children who have experienced trauma, learning can be a big struggle. But once trauma is identified as the root of the behavior, we can adapt our approach to help children cope when they’re at school.

  1. Children who have experienced trauma aren’t trying to push your buttons.
    If a child is having trouble with transitions or turning in a folder at the beginning of the day, remember that children may be distracted because of a situation at home that is causing them to worry. Instead of reprimanding children for being late or forgetting homework, be affirming and accommodating by establishing a visual cue or verbal reminder to help that child. “Switch your mind-set and remember the child who has experienced trauma is not trying to push your buttons,” says Soma.
  2. Children who have been through trauma worry about what’s going to happen next.A daily routine in the classroom can be calming, so try to provide structure and predictability whenever possible. Since words may not sink in for children who go through trauma, they need other sensory cues, says Soma. Besides explaining how the day will unfold, have signs or a storyboard that show which activity—math, reading, lunch breaks, etc.—the class will do when.
  3. Even if the situation doesn’t seem that bad to you, it’s how the child feels that matters.Try not to judge the trauma. As caring teachers, we may unintentionally project that a situation isn’t really that bad, but how the child feels about the stress is what matters most. “We have to remember it’s the perception of the child … the situation is something they have no control over, feeling that their life or safety is at risk,” says Soma. It may not even be just one event, but the culmination of chronic stress—for example, a child who lives in poverty may worry about the family being able to pay rent on time, keep their jobs or have enough food. Those ongoing stressors can cause trauma. “Anything that keeps our nervous system activated for longer than four to six weeks is defined as post-traumatic stress,” says Soma.
  4. Trauma isn’t always associated with violence.Trauma is often associated with violence, but children also can suffer trauma from a variety of situations—like divorce, a move, or being overscheduled or bullied. “All children,especially in this day and age, experience extreme stress from time to time,” says Soma. “It is more common than we think.”
  5. You don’t need to know exactly what caused the trauma to be able to help.Instead of focusing on the specifics of a traumatic situation, concentrate on the support you can give children who are suffering. “Stick with what you are seeing now—the hurt, the anger, the worry,” Soma says, rather than getting every detail of the child’s story. Privacy is a big issue in working with students suffering from trauma, and schools often have a confidentiality protocol that teachers follow. You don’t have to dig deep into the trauma to be able to effectively respond with empathy and flexibility.
  6. Children o who experience trauma need to feel they’re good at something and can influence the world.Find opportunities that allow children to set and achieve goals, and they’ll feel a sense of mastery and control, suggests Soma. Assign them jobs in the classroom that they can do well or let them be a peer helper to someone else. “It is very empowering,” says Soma. “Set them up to succeed and keep that bar in the zone where you know they are able to accomplish it and move forward.” Rather than saying a student is good at math, find experiences to let him or her feel it. Because trauma is such a sensory experience, children need more than encouragement—they need to feel their worth through concrete tasks.
  7. There’s a direct connection between stress and learning.When children are stressed, it’s tough for them to learn. Create a safe, accepting environment in your classroom by letting children know you understand their situation and support them. “Children who have experienced trauma have difficulty learning unless they feel safe and supported,” says Soma. “The more the teacher can do to make the child less anxious and have the child focus on the task at hand, the better the performance you are going to see out of that child. There is a direct connection between lowering stress and academic outcomes.”
  8. Self-regulation can be a major challenge for students suffering from trauma.Some children with trauma are growing up with emotionally unavailable parents and haven’t learned to self-soothe, so they may develop distracting behaviors and have trouble staying focused for long periods. To help them cope, schedule regular brain breaks. Tell the class at the beginning of the day when there will be breaks—for free time, to play a game or to stretch. “If you build it in before the behavior gets out of whack, you set the child up for success,” says Soma. A child may be able to make it through a 20-minute block of work if it’s understood there will be a break to recharge before the next task.
  9. It’s OK to ask children point-blank what you can do to help them make it through the day.For all students with trauma, you can ask them directly what you can do to help. They may ask to listen to music with headphones or put their head on their desk for a few minutes. Soma says, “We have to step back and ask them, ‘How can I help? Is there something I can do to make you feel even a little bit better?’”
  10. You can support children with trauma even when they’re outside your classroom.Loop in the larger school. Share trauma-informed strategies with all staff, from bus drivers to parent volunteers to crossing guards. Remind everyone: “The child is not their behavior,” says Soma. “Typically there is something underneath that driving that to happen, so be sensitive. Ask yourself, ‘I wonder what’s going on with that child?’ rather than saying, ‘What’s wrong with the child?’ That’s a huge shift in the way we view children.”

Sunday, February 21st, 2016

A warning to parents.

 

Sad but True:

A teacher after her dinner started checking homework done by the students. Her husband is strolling around with a smart phone playing his favourite game ‘Candy Crush Saga’.

When reading the last note, the wife starts crying with silent tears.

Her husband saw this and asked, ‘Why are you crying dear?

What happened?’

Wife: ‘Yesterday I gave homework to my 1st Standard students, to write something on topic -My Wish-.

’Husband: ‘OK, but why are you crying?

’Wife: ‘Today while checking the last note, it makes me crying.

’Husband curiously: ‘What’s written in the note that makes you crying?

’Wife: ‘Listen’

My wish is to become a smart phone.

My parents love smart phone very much.

They care smart phone so much that sometimes they forget to care me.When my father comes from office tired, he has time for smart phone but not for me.

When my parents are doing some important work and smart phone is ringing, within single ring they attend the phone, but not me even…even if I am crying.

They play games on their smart phones not with me.When they are talking to someone on their smart phone, they never listen to me even if I am telling something important.

So, My wish is to become a smart phone.

After listening the note husband got emotional and asked the wife, ‘who wrote this?’.

Wife: ‘Our son’.

Gadgets are beneficial, but they are for our ease not to cease the love amongst family and loved ones.

Children see and feel everything what happens with & around them. Things get imprinted on their mind with an everlasting effect. Let’s take due care, so that they do not grow with any false impressions.

Sunday, February 7th, 2016

Nine ideas for lent.

These 9 ideas for Lent are for you & your family.

WHAT IS LENT:
‘Lent is a time of repentance, fasting and preparation for the coming of Easter. It is a time of self-examination and reflection. In the early church, Lent was a time to prepare new converts for baptism. Today, Christians focus on their relationship with God, often choosing to give up something or volunteering and giving of themselves for others. The forty days represents the time Jesus spent in the wilderness, enduring the temptation of Satan.

It begins on Ash Wednesday and ends on Holy Saturday, the day before Easter.

WHAT IS ASH WEDNESDAY:
The distribution of ashes reminds us of our own mortality and calls us to repentance. In the early Church, Ash Wednesday was the day on which those who had sinned, and who wished to be readmitted to the Church, would begin their public penance. Now, the ashes that we receive are a reminder of our own sinfulness, and many people that receive them will leave them on their foreheads all day as a sign of humility.We also have to fast on Ash Wednesday & refrain from eating meat

Nine unique ideas for Lent

Don’t buy anything that you don’t NEED.

If you can live without it, you don’t need it. Put the money that you would have spent into a jar. You will be surprised at how quickly you build up your savings.
Be sure to look at how much you saved after the 40 days & put some into savings, but donate the rest.

Throw Away 40 things for 40 days

Every day, you walk around your house and collect 40 things to donate or throw away… every day. (Try donating, because you are helping others).

No gossiping

None! If someone says something negative about another person, either say something nice or don’t say anything at all. You would think this is going to be SO easy, but when you can’t say anything negative about anyone else, you realize how often it happens, sadly.

No eating after dinner

This one is hard for me, so it really makes me think about Lent because I can see just a glimpse of how Jesus struggled when he was hungry. I eat most of my snacks in the evening, when I am watching TV.

No soda

This one is easy & not really out-of-the-box, but it is my struggle,

Say 3 nice things to your spouse and kids every day.

You may think this is easy, but try to say things that aren’t the normal “Thanks” or “You look nice.” or “Good job.” Try to do 3 out-of-the-box things: “I love how you always help the kids.” or “I love how you work hard on your homework, even when it is tough tonight. You are a hard worker” ps- here is why playing with your kids is SO important and what you can do during these 40 days!

Don’t eat out

Try to make easy crockpot meals,

Replace 30 minutes of TV time with 30 extra minutes of devotion/prayer time.

Read a devotional or bible story with your family and have a discussion about it. Even young kids can get involved in this.

Do not complain.

We often complain and whine about things, but we need to try to have a positive outlook on things. I tried this one year and it was VERY hard. You don’t realize how much you complain until you give it up… “Do everything without arguing or complaining.

Sunday, January 31st, 2016

The Teacher Curse No One Wants to Talk About

Knowledge is a curse.
 Knowing things isn’t bad itself, but it causes unhealthy assumptions — such as forgetting how hard it was to learn those things in the first place. It’s called the Curse of Knowledge.

We will look at how the Curse of Knowledge affects educators. Then we’ll outline seven ways to alleviate the curse. The ultimate goal is to improve instruction.

The Curse of Knowledge
The Curse of Knowledge has been variously described in articles by Chip and Dan Heath, Carmen Nobel, and Steven Pinker, and also in books such as The Sense of Style and Made to Stick. It has been applied to a variety of domains: child development, economics, and technology are just a few.

All of the resources describe the same phenomena — that a strong base of content knowledge makes us blind to the lengthy process of acquiring it. This curse has implications for all teachers:

We do not remember what it is like to not know what we are trying to teach.
We cannot relive the difficult and lengthy process that learning our content originally took.
As a result, we end up assuming that our lesson’s content is easy, clear, and straightforward. We assume that connections are apparent and will be made effortlessly. Assumptions are the root cause of poor instruction. And acknowledgment is the first step to recovery.

Lifting the Curse
Here are seven ways to make learning easier for your students.

1. Emotion
Barbara Fredrickson, a champion in the field of positive psychology, has studied the effects of mild positive emotions on desired cognitive traits like attentiveness and ability to creatively solve problems. In what she coined the broaden-and-build theory, Fredrickson found that pleasant and mild emotional arousal before experiencing content leads to greater retention. A quick joke or humorous movie can serve as the positive emotional stimulant. So learning is easier and the Curse of Knowledge is potentially circumnavigated when injecting a bit of emotion into your lesson.

2. Multi-Sensory Lessons
Though Howard Gardner’s influential work states that we each have a preferred learning modality, new research highlights the fact that effective lessons need not be unisensory (only kinesthetic, only auditory, etc.) but multi-sensory. Multi-sensory experiences activate and ignite more of the brain, leading to greater retention. So use a multisensory approach in your lessons to make learning easier.

3. Spacing
Blocked practice is ancient and is no longer considered best practice. An example of blocked practice is cramming. Though it feels like learning, blocked practice results in learning that is shallow, and the connections quickly fade. The preferred alternative is the opposite of blocked practice: spaced practice.

Exposing yourself to content and requiring your brain to recall previously learned concepts at spaced intervals (hours, days, weeks, or months) makes the content sticky and results in deeper retention with solid neural connections. As spaced practice is the way that you learned the content you teach, it makes sense to employ the same technique with your students. So thinking of your content as a cycle that is frequently revisited makes learning easier for your students while helping alleviate the curse.

For more information on spacing content, check out Make It Stick or 3 Things Experts Say Make A Perfect Study Session.

4. Narratives
Everyone loves a great story because our ancestral past was full of them. Stories were the dominant medium to transmit information. They rely on our innate narcissistic self to be effective learning tools — we enjoy stories because we immediately inject ourselves into the story, considering our own actions and behavior when placed in the situations being described. This is how we mentally make connections, and if students are listening to a story interlaced with content, they’re more likely to connect with the ideas. So connecting with content through a story is at the heart of learning and can help alleviate the stress associated with the Curse of Knowledge.

5. Analogies and Examples
An analogy is a comparison of different things that are governed by the same underlying principles. If understanding a process is what we’re after, looking at the result of the process proves informative. An analogy compares two unlike things by investigating a similar process that produces both. Said differently, an analogy highlights a connection, and forming connections is at the core of learning.

Whereas an analogy compares similar processes that result in different products, an example highlights different processes that result in similar products. Copious use of examples forces the brain to scan its knowledge inventory, making desirable connections as it scans. So learning is easier when analogies and examples are used to facilitate mental connections.

6. Novelty
New challenges ignite the risk-reward dopamine system in our brains. Novel activities are interesting because dopamine makes us feel accomplished after succeeding. Something that is novel is interesting, and something interesting is learned more easily because it is attended to. So emphasis on the new and exciting aspects of your content could trip the risk-reward system and facilitate learning.

7. Teach Facts
Conceptual knowledge in the form of facts is the scaffolding for the synthesis of new ideas. In other words, you cannot make new ideas with out having old ideas. Disseminating facts as the only means to educate your students is wrong and not encouraged. However, awareness that background knowledge is important to the creation of new ideas is vital for improving instruction. Prior knowledge acts as anchors for new incoming stimuli. When reflecting on the ability of analogies and examples to facilitate connections, it is important to remember that the connections need to be made to already existing knowledge. So providing your students with background knowledge is a prerequisite in forming connections and can make their learning easier.

Making It Easier
The Curse of Knowledge places all of our students at a disadvantage. As educators, it’s not enough to simply recognize that we are unable to remember the struggle of learning. We need to act. By incorporating facts, highlighting novelty, liberally utilizing examples and analogies, cycling our content, telling content-related stories, making our lesson multi-sensory, and harnessing the power of emotion, we can make learning easier for our students.

 

Friday, November 13th, 2015

Baseline assessment providers face ‘robustness’ check

Providers of the new baseline tests for reception children are to be subject to an independent study to ensure their “robustness”.
The Standards and Testing Agency, who oversee assessment on behalf of the government, commissioned the study to check the new tests are “of a consistent and high quality”.

The study will be carried out by the Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) this term on 1,000 pupils across a sample of schools. Pupils will take one assessment by the provider previously chosen by the school and the SQA will assign the other.

A Department for Education (DfE) spokesperson said: “As part of our work to ensure the reception baselines produced by each provider are of a consistent and high quality we are undertaking a comparability study later this year.”

The assessments need to be comparable to ensure they provide a “robust basis for measuring school progress”, the spokesperson added.

From next September, primary schools will need to use the reception baseline assessments if they want to be assessed on pupil progress at key stage 2, as opposed to attainment.

Three approved baseline assessment providers – Early Excellence, Centre for Evaluation and Monitoring (CEM) at Durham University and the National Foundation for Educational Research (NFER) – were announced in July and began rolling out their assessments at the beginning of this term.

Early Excellence, whose model involves observations rather than formal tests, was chosen by 70 per cent of schools and has now trained more than 15,000 teachers.

The DfE said the study would not be used for “passing or failing” providers, but to consider whether “equivalence of scores” could be established between the different baselines. It did not say what would happen if the measures were found not to be robust.

Criteria published in May 2014 stated that the assessments would be reviewed when pupils reached year 2, and if there was a “poor relationship” with other tests taken by those pupils, test providers could face having their assessments removed.

The DfE said this process was separate to the current comparability test, still due to take place.

National development manager for Early Excellence, Jan Dubiel (pictured), told Schools Week that he “can’t really see how the assessments will be compared because they are so different from each other.

“One of the big differences is that with NFER and CEM we don’t know how many schools they have got, they won’t make that information public. We have 12,000 schools, so in some ways, it is a question of who compares with whom.”

But he said Early Excellence was “absolutely confident” of providing accurate results.

“In terms of the training we have done, the moderation process we carried out and the samples we have taken, we are confident about the results our baseline will produce.”

Education secretary Nicky Morgan recently announced a review of primary school assessments, with a focus on more externally marked tests to help to overcome teacher bias.

Commenting on whether the announcement could spell the end of the baseline assessments, Mr Dubiel said it would be difficult to draw any conclusions from Ms Morgan’s speech.

“She [Ms Morgan] didn’t make any mention of changes to baselines but I don’t know how her announcement would be used.”

Thursday, November 12th, 2015

about THAT kid…’

 

I know. You’re worried. Every day, your child comes home with a story about THAT kid. The one who is always hitting shoving pinching scratching maybe even biting other children. The one who always has to hold my hand in the hallway. The one who has a special spot at the carpet, and sometimes sits on a chair rather than the floor. The one who had to leave the block centre because blocks are not for throwing. The one who climbed over the playground fence right exactly as I was telling her to stop. The one who poured his neighbour’s milk onto the floor in a fit of anger. On purpose. While I was watching. And then, when I asked him to clean it up, emptied the ENTIRE paper towel dispenser. On purpose. While I was watching. The one who dropped the REAL ACTUAL F-word in gym class.
You’re worried that THAT child is detracting from your child’s learning experience. You’re worried that he takes up too much of my time and energy, and that your child won’t get his fair share. You’re worried that she is really going to hurt someone some day. You’re worried that “someone” might be your child. You’re worried that your child is going to start using aggression to get what she wants. You’re worried your child is going to fall behind academically because I might not notice that he is struggling to hold a pencil. I know.

Your child, this year, in this classroom, at this age, is not THAT child. Your child is not perfect, but she generally follows rules. He is able to share toys peaceably. She does not throw furniture. He raises his hand to speak. She works when it is time to work, and plays when it is time to play. He can be trusted to go straight to the bathroom and straight back again with no shenanigans. She thinks that the S-word is “stupid” and the C-word is “crap.” I know.

I know, and I am worried, too.

You see, I worry all the time. About ALL of them. I worry about your child’s pencil grip, and another child’s letter sounds, and that little tiny one’s shyness, and that other one’s chronically empty lunchbox. I worry that Gavin’s coat is not warm enough, and that Talitha’s dad yells at her for printing the letter B backwards. Most of my car rides and showers are consumed with the worrying.

But I know, you want to talk about THAT child. Because Talitha’s backward Bs are not going to give your child a black eye.

I want to talk about THAT child, too, but there are so many things I can’t tell you.

I can’t tell you that she was adopted from an orphanage at 18 months.

I can’t tell you that he is on an elimination diet for possible food allergies, and that he is therefore hungry ALL. THE. TIME.

I can’t tell you that her parents are in the middle of a horrendous divorce, and she has been staying with her grandma.

I can’t tell you that I’m starting to worry that grandma drinks…

I can’t tell you that his asthma medication makes him agitated.

I can’t tell you that her mom is a single parent, and so she (the child) is at school from the moment before-care opens, until the moment after-care closes, and then the drive between home and school takes 40 minutes, and so she (the child) is getting less sleep than most adults.

I can’t tell you that he has been a witness to domestic violence.

That’s okay, you say. You understand I can’t share personal or family information. You just want to know what I am DOING about That Child’s behaviour.

I would love to tell you. But I can’t.

I can’t tell you that she receives speech-language services, that an assessment showed a severe language delay, and that the therapist feels the aggression is linked to frustration about being unable to communicate.

I can’t tell you that I meet with his parents EVERY week, and that both of them usually cry at those meetings.

I can’t tell you that the child and I have a secret hand signal to tell me when she needs to sit by herself for a while.

I can’t tell you that he spends rest time curled in my lap because “it makes me feel better to hear your heart, Teacher.”

I can’t tell you that I have been meticulously tracking her aggressive incidents for 3 months, and that she has dropped from 5 incidents a day, to 5 incidents a week.

I can’t tell you that the school secretary has agreed that I can send him to the office to “help” when I can tell he needs a change of scenery.

I can’t tell you that I have stood up in a staff meeting and, with tears in my eyes, BEGGED my colleagues to keep an extra close eye on her, to be kind to her even when they are frustrated that she just punched someone AGAIN, and this time, RIGHT IN FRONT OF A TEACHER.

The thing is, there are SO MANY THINGS I can’t tell you about That Child. I can’t even tell you the good stuff.

I can’t tell you that his classroom job is to water the plants, and that he cried with heartbreak when one of the plants died over winter break.

I can’t tell you that she kisses her baby sister goodbye every morning, and whispers “You are my sunshine” before mom pushes the stroller away.

I can’t tell you that he knows more about thunderstorms than most meteorologists.

I can’t tell you that she often asks to help sharpen the pencils during playtime.

I can’t tell you that she strokes her best friend’s hair at rest time.

I can’t tell you that when a classmate is crying, he rushes over with his favourite stuffy from the story corner.

The thing is, dear parent, that I can only talk to you about YOUR child. So, what I can tell you is this:

If ever, at any point, YOUR child, or any of your children, becomes THAT child…

I will not share your personal family business with other parents in the classroom.

I will communicate with you frequently, clearly, and kindly.

I will make sure there are tissues nearby at all our meetings, and if you let me, I will hold your hand when you cry.

I will advocate for your child and family to receive the highest quality of specialist services, and I will cooperate with those professionals to the fullest possible extent.

I will make sure your child gets extra love and affection when she needs it most.

I will be a voice for your child in our school community.

I will, no matter what happens, continue to look for, and to find, the good, amazing, special, and wonderful things about your child.

I will remind him and YOU of those good amazing special wonderful things, over and over again.

And when another parent comes to me, with concerns about YOUR child…

I will tell them all of this, all over again.

With so much love;

Teacher.

Saturday, November 7th, 2015

Johari Window Model

Ingham and Luft’s Johari Window model diagrams and examples – for self-awareness, personal development, group development and understanding relationships

The Johari Window model is a simple and useful tool for illustrating and improving self-awareness, and mutual understanding between individuals within a group. The Johari Window model can also be used to assess and improve a group’s relationship with other groups. The Johari Window model was devised by American psychologists Joseph Luft and Harry Ingham in 1955, while researching group dynamics at the University of California Los Angeles. The model was first published in the Proceedings of the Western Training Laboratory in Group Development by UCLA Extension Office in 1955, and was later expanded by Joseph Luft. Today the Johari Window model is especially relevant due to modern emphasis on, and influence of, ‘soft’ skills, behaviour, empathy, cooperation, inter-group development and interpersonal development.

The Johari Window concept is particularly helpful to understanding employee/employer relationships within the Psychological Contract.

Over the years, alternative Johari Window terminology has been developed and adapted by other people – particularly leading to different descriptions of the four regions, hence the use of different terms in this explanation. Don’t let it all confuse you – the Johari Window model is really very simple indeed.

Luft and Ingham called their Johari Window model ‘Johari’ after combining their first names, Joe and Harry. In early publications the word appears as ‘JoHari’. The Johari Window soon became a widely used model for understanding and training self-awareness, personal development, improving communications, interpersonal relationships, group dynamics, team development and inter-group relationships.

The Johari Window model is also referred to as a ‘disclosure/feedback model of self awareness’, and by some people an ‘information processing tool’. The Johari Window actually represents information – feelings, experience, views, attitudes, skills, intentions, motivation, etc – within or about a person – in relation to their group, from four perspectives, which are described below. The Johari Window model can also be used to represent the same information for a group in relation to other groups. Johari Window terminology refers to ‘self’ and ‘others’: ‘self’ means oneself, ie, the person subject to the Johari Window analysis. ‘Others’ means other people in the person’s group or team.

N.B. When the Johari Window model is used to assess and develop groups in relation to other groups, the ‘self’ would be the group, and ‘others’ would be other groups. However, for ease of explanation and understanding of the Johari Window and examples in this article, think of the model applying to an individual within a group, rather than a group relating to other groups.

The four Johari Window perspectives are called ‘regions’ or ‘areas’ or ‘quadrants’. Each of these regions contains and represents the information – feelings, motivation, etc – known about the person, in terms of whether the information is known or unknown by the person, and whether the information is known or unknown by others in the group.

The Johari Window’s four regions, (areas, quadrants, or perspectives) are as follows, showing the quadrant numbers and commonly used names:

johari window four regions
what is known by the person about him/herself and is also known by others – open area, open self, free area, free self, or ‘the arena’
what is unknown by the person about him/herself but which others know – blind area, blind self, or ‘blindspot’
what the person knows about him/herself that others do not know – hidden area, hidden self, avoided area, avoided self or ‘facade’
what is unknown by the person about him/herself and is also unknown by others – unknown area or unknown self.
Like some other behavioural models (eg, Tuckman, Hersey/Blanchard), the Johari Window is based on a four-square grid – the Johari Window is like a window with four ‘panes’.

The Johari Window ‘panes’ can be changed in size to reflect the relevant proportions of each type of ‘knowledge’ of/about a particular person in a given group or team situation.

As the team member becomes better established and known, so the size of the team member’s open free area quadrant increases. See the Johari

Johari region 1 is also known as the ‘area of free activity’. This is the information about the person – behaviour, attitude, feelings, emotion, knowledge, experience, skills, views, etc – known by the person (‘the self’) and known by the group (‘others’).

The aim in any group should always be to develop the ‘open area’ for every person, because when we work in this area with others we are at our most effective and productive, and the group is at its most productive too. The open free area, or ‘the arena’, can be seen as the space where good communications and cooperation occur, free from distractions, mistrust, confusion, conflict and misunderstanding.

Established team members logically tend to have larger open areas than new team members. New team members start with relatively small open areas because relatively little knowledge about the new team member is shared. The size of the open area can be expanded horizontally into the blind space, by seeking and actively listening to feedback from other group members. This process is known as ‘feedback solicitation’. Also, other group members can help a team member expand their open area by offering feedback, sensitively of course. The size of the open area can also be expanded vertically downwards into the hidden or avoided space by the person’s disclosure of information, feelings, etc about him/herself to the group and group members. Also, group members can help a person expand their open area into the hidden area by asking the person about him/herself. Managers and team leaders can play an important role in facilitating feedback and disclosure among group members, and in directly giving feedback to individuals about their own blind areas. Leaders also have a big responsibility to promote a culture and expectation for open, honest, positive, helpful, constructive, sensitive communications, and the sharing of knowledge throughout their organization. Top performing groups, departments, companies and organizations always tend to have a culture of open positive communication, so encouraging the positive development of the ‘open area’ or ‘open self’ for everyone is a simple yet fundamental aspect of effective leadership.

johari quadrant 2 – ‘blind self’ or ‘blind area’ or ‘blindspot’

Johari region 2 is what is known about a person by others in the group, but is unknown by the person him/herself. By seeking or soliciting feedback from others, the aim should be to reduce this area and thereby to increase the open area (see the Johari Window diagram below), ie, to increase self-awareness. This blind area is not an effective or productive space for individuals or groups. This blind area could also be referred to as ignorance about oneself, or issues in which one is deluded. A blind area could also include issues that others are deliberately withholding from a person. We all know how difficult it is to work well when kept in the dark. No-one works well when subject to ‘mushroom management’. People who are ‘thick-skinned’ tend to have a large ‘blind area’.

Group members and managers can take some responsibility for helping an individual to reduce their blind area – in turn increasing the open area – by giving sensitive feedback and encouraging disclosure. Managers should promote a climate of non-judgemental feedback, and group response to individual disclosure, which reduces fear and therefore encourages both processes to happen. The extent to which an individual seeks feedback, and the issues on which feedback is sought, must always be at the individual’s own discretion. Some people are more resilient than others – care needs to be taken to avoid causing emotional upset. The process of soliciting serious and deep feedback relates to the process of ‘self-actualization’ described in Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs development and motivation model.

johari quadrant 3 – ‘hidden self’ or ‘hidden area’ or ‘avoided self/area’ or ‘facade’

Johari region 3 is what is known to ourselves but kept hidden from, and therefore unknown, to others. This hidden or avoided self represents information, feelings, etc, anything that a person knows about him/self, but which is not revealed or is kept hidden from others. The hidden area could also include sensitivities, fears, hidden agendas, manipulative intentions, secrets – anything that a person knows but does not reveal, for whatever reason. It’s natural for very personal and private information and feelings to remain hidden, indeed, certain information, feelings and experiences have no bearing on work, and so can and should remain hidden. However, typically, a lot of hidden information is not very personal, it is work- or performance-related, and so is better positioned in the open area.

Relevant hidden information and feelings, etc, should be moved into the open area through the process of ‘disclosure’. The aim should be to disclose and expose relevant information and feelings – hence the Johari Window terminology ‘self-disclosure’ and ‘exposure process’, thereby increasing the open area. By telling others how we feel and other information about ourselves we reduce the hidden area, and increase the open area, which enables better understanding, cooperation, trust, team-working effectiveness and productivity. Reducing hidden areas also reduces the potential for confusion, misunderstanding, poor communication, etc, which all distract from and undermine team effectiveness.

Organizational culture and working atmosphere have a major influence on group members’ preparedness to disclose their hidden selves. Most people fear judgement or vulnerability and therefore hold back hidden information and feelings, etc, that if moved into the open area, ie known by the group as well, would enhance mutual understanding, and thereby improve group awareness, enabling better individual performance and group effectiveness.

The extent to which an individual discloses personal feelings and information, and the issues which are disclosed, and to whom, must always be at the individual’s own discretion. Some people are more keen and able than others to disclose. People should disclose at a pace and depth that they find personally comfortable. As with feedback, some people are more resilient than others – care needs to be taken to avoid causing emotional upset. Also as with soliciting feedback, the process of serious disclosure relates to the process of ‘self-actualization’ described in Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs development and motivation model.

johari quadrant 4 – ‘unknown self’ or ‘area of unknown activity’ or ‘unknown area’

Johari region 4 contains information, feelings, latent abilities, aptitudes, experiences etc, that are unknown to the person him/herself and unknown to others in the group. These unknown issues take a variety of forms: they can be feelings, behaviours, attitudes, capabilities, aptitudes, which can be quite close to the surface, and which can be positive and useful, or they can be deeper aspects of a person’s personality, influencing his/her behaviour to various degrees. Large unknown areas would typically be expected in younger people, and people who lack experience or self-belief.

Examples of unknown factors are as follows, and the first example is particularly relevant and common, especially in typical organizations and teams:

an ability that is under-estimated or un-tried through lack of opportunity, encouragement, confidence or training
a natural ability or aptitude that a person doesn’t realise they possess
a fear or aversion that a person does not know they have
an unknown illness
repressed or subconscious feelings
conditioned behaviour or attitudes from childhood
The processes by which this information and knowledge can be uncovered are various, and can be prompted through self-discovery or observation by others, or in certain situations through collective or mutual discovery, of the sort of discovery experienced on outward bound courses or other deep or intensive group work. Counselling can also uncover unknown issues, but this would then be known to the person and by one other, rather than by a group.

Whether unknown ‘discovered’ knowledge moves into the hidden, blind or open area depends on who discovers it and what they do with the knowledge, notably whether it is then given as feedback, or disclosed. As with the processes of soliciting feedback and disclosure, striving to discover information and feelings in the unknown is relates to the process of ‘self-actualization’ described in Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs development and motivation model.

Again as with disclosure and soliciting feedback, the process of self discovery is a sensitive one. The extent and depth to which an individual is able to seek out discover their unknown feelings must always be at the individual’s own discretion. Some people are more keen and able than others to do this.

Uncovering ‘hidden talents’ – that is unknown aptitudes and skills, not to be confused with developing the Johari ‘hidden area’ – is another aspect of developing the unknown area, and is not so sensitive as unknown feelings. Providing people with the opportunity to try new things, with no great pressure to succeed, is often a useful way to discover unknown abilities, and thereby reduce the unknown area.

Managers and leaders can help by creating an environment that encourages self-discovery, and to promote the processes of self discovery, constructive observation and feedback among team members. It is a widely accepted industrial fact that the majority of staff in any organization are at any time working well within their potential. Creating a culture, climate and expectation for self-discovery helps people to fulfil more of their potential and thereby to achieve more, and to contribute more to organizational performance.

A note of caution about Johari region 4: The unknown area could also include repressed or subconscious feelings rooted in formative events and traumatic past experiences, which can stay unknown for a lifetime. In a work or organizational context the Johari Window should not be used to address issues of a clinical nature. Useful references are Arthur Janov’s seminal book The Primal Scream (read about the book here), and Transactional Analysis.

johari window example – increasing open area through feedback solicitation
johari window model diagram
This Johari Window model diagram is an example of increasing the open area, by reduction of the blind area, which would normally be achieved through the process of asking for and then receiving feedback.

Feedback develops the open area by reducing the blind area.

The open area can also be developed through the process of disclosure, which reduces the hidden area.

The unknown area can be reduced in different ways: by others’ observation (which increases the blind area); by self-discovery (which increases the hidden area), or by mutual enlightenment – typically via group experiences and discussion – which increases the open area as the unknown area reduces.

A team which understands itself – that is, each person having a strong mutual understanding with the team – is far more effective than a team which does not understand each other- that is, whose members have large hidden, blind, and/or unknown areas.

Team members – and leaders – should always be striving to increase their open free areas, and to reduce their blind, hidden and unknown areas.

A person represented by the Johari Window example below will not perform to their best potential, and the team will fail to make full use of the team’s potential and the person’s potential too. Effort should generally be made by the person to increase his/her open free area, by disclosing information about his/her feelings, experience, views, motivation, etc, which will reduce the size of the hidden area, and increase the open free area.

Seeking feedback about the blind area will reduce the blind area, and will increase the open free area. Discovery through sensitive communications, active listening and experience, will reduce the unknown area, transferring in part to the blind, hidden areas, depending on who knows what, or better still if known by the person and others, to the open free area.

johari window model – example for new team member or member within a new team
johari window model diagram
This Johari Window model diagram is an example of a member of a new team or a person who is new to an existing team.

The open free region is small because others know little about the new person.

Similarly the blind area is small because others know little about the new person.

The hidden or avoided issues and feelings are a relatively large area.

In this particular example the unknown area is the largest, which might be because the person is young, or lacking in self-knowledge or belief.
johari window example – established team member example
johari window model diagram
This Johari Window model diagram is an example of an established member of a team.

The open free region is large because others know a lot about the person that the person also knows.

Through the processes of disclosure and receiving feedback the open area has expanded and at the same time reduced the sizes of the hidden, blind and unknown areas.
It’s helpful to compare the Johari Window model to other four-quadrant behavioural models, notably Bruce Tuckman’s Forming, Storming Norming Performing team development model; also to a lesser but nonetheless interesting extent, The Hersey-Blanchard Situational Leadership team development and management styles model (See both here). The common principle is that as the team matures and communications improve, so performance improves too, as less energy is spent on internal issues and clarifying understanding, and more effort is devoted to external aims and productive output.

The Johari Window model also relates to emotional intelligence theory (EQ), and one’s awareness and development of emotional intelligence.

As already stated, the Johari Window relates also to Transactional Analysis (notably understanding deeper aspects of the ‘unknown’ area, region 4).

The Johari Window processes of serious feedback solicitation, disclosure, and striving to uncover one’s unknown area relate to Maslow’s ‘self-actualization’ ideas contained in the Hierarchy of Needs.

There are several exercises and activities for Johari Window awareness development among teams featured on the team building games section, for example the ring tones activity.

exploring more ideas for using ingham and luft’s johari window model in training, learning and development
The examples of exercises using the Johari Window theory on this website which might begin to open possibilities for you. The Johari Window obviously model provides useful background rationale and justification for most things that you might think to do with people relating to developing mutual and self-awareness, all of which links strongly to team effectiveness and harmony.

There are many ways to use the Johari model in learning and development – much as using any other theory such as Maslow’s, Tuckman’s, TA, NLP, etc. It very much depends on what you want to achieve, rather than approaching the subject from ‘what are all the possible uses?’ which would be a major investigation.

This being the case, it might help you to ask yourself first what you want to achieve in your training and development activities? And what are your intended outputs and how will you measure that they have been achieved? And then think about how the Johari Window theory and principles can be used to assist this.

Researching academic papers (most typically published on university and learning institutions websites) written about theories such as Johari is a fertile method of exploring possibilities for concepts and models like Johari. This approach tends to improve your in-depth understanding, instead of simply using specific interpretations or applications ‘off-the-shelf’, which in themselves might provide good ideas for a one-off session, but don’t help you much with understanding how to use the thinking at a deeper level.

Also explore the original work of Ingham and Luft, and reviews of same, relating to the development and applications of the model.

Johari is a very elegant and potent model, and as with other powerful ideas, simply helping people to understand is the most effective way to optimise the value to people. Explaining the meaning of the Johari Window theory to people, so they can really properly understand it in their own terms, then empowers people to use the thinking in their own way, and to incorporate the underlying principles into their future thinking and behaviour.

Wednesday, November 4th, 2015

Education

The government is planning to send 1,500 elite teachers into under-performing schools as part of measures to tackle pockets of failure in education.

As an incentive for committing to a two-year secondment, teachers will be offered a higher salary, relocation costs and future leadership roles. They will be sent to schools in coastal areas and elsewhere which struggle to recruit and retain staff.

Details of the new National Teaching Service (NTS) will be revealed by the education secretary, Nicky Morgan, in a speech on Tuesday to announce the next phase of the government’s education reform programme.
She will also announce a consultation on government plans for an expansion of its favoured English baccalaureate – or Ebacc – suite of subjects, under which 90% of pupils will be expected to study English, maths, science, a language and either history or geography at GCSE. Currently 39% of pupils study the Ebacc, up from 22% in 2010.

In a speech to the Policy Exchange thinktank, Morgan will also announce plans for the proportion of pupils entering and achieving the Ebacc to become a headline measure used to hold schools to account through Ofsted.

It has already emerged that ministers are considering more rigorous assessments for seven-year-olds in England and Wales, including the reintroduction of national tests, a measure which is likely attract widespread criticism from the teaching profession.

Announcing the changes, Morgan said: “Over the past five years we’ve extended opportunity to thousands of young people, through raised standards, heightened expectations and a rigour revolution

“But for all we’ve achieved, too many young people aren’t being given a fair shot to succeed because of where they live. That’s why today I’m announcing the creation of a National Teaching Service – sending some of our best teachers to schools in struggling areas.

“At the same time we’re taking further steps to ensure that every pupil masters the three Rs in primary school and studies the core academic subjects in secondary school – ensuring that every young person gets the best start in life.”

The Department for Education said: “More rigorous Sats are already being introduced at the end of primary school, and the new ‘reception baseline’ assessment has been introduced in primary schools this year.

“But to be really confident that students are progressing well through primary school, the government will be looking at the tests for pupils at age seven – to make sure they provide a firm basis for calculating progress to key stage 2.”

The government claims that a million more pupils are in schools rated good or outstanding by Ofsted compared with 2010. Yet according to the latest figures, there are still more than 20 local authorities where the majority of pupils are unable to secure the government’s benchmark of five Cs or above in their GCSEs.

In Knowsley, near Liverpool, almost two in every three young people fail to get five good GCSEs. In Salford, results have fallen by three per cent since 2010, while in Rochdale, Greater Manchester, results fell four per cent to 47.6%, according to the Department for Education.

The shadow education secretary, Lucy Powell, said: “For all their talk of standards, the Tories’ record is poor. Nothing is more important in education than having excellent teachers in all our schools, but this government has created chronic shortages, with the highest number now quitting the profession since records began and missed recruitment targets year on year.

“Rather than drive up standards, they have created a schools policy that has allowed the attainment gap between poorer children and their peers to widen, teacher shortages particularly in subjects that are key to our country’s competitiveness such as English and maths, and pushed post-16 education to a cliff edge, limiting opportunities for the next generation.”

Mary Bousted, general secretary of the Association of Teachers and Lecturers, welcomed the NTS, but on Ebacc expansion she urged the government to acknowledge the importance of vocational subjects as well as academic ones.

On testing seven-year-olds, she said: “Primary schools are already under immense pressure from having to introduce an untried baseline assessment scheme this year alongside a new primary curriculum, and new tests at the end of key stage 2. Yet more changes to testing will not improve children’s English or maths.”

Kevin Courtney, deputy general secretary of the National Union of Teachers, said: “It is quite staggering the degree to which the government is unable to understand how their approach to the measurement of the performance of schools, and the system as a whole, is turning schools into exam factories. Time and again the government’s accountability agenda mistakes extra testing for better learning.

Brian Lightman, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, expressed concern about the government’s Ebacc plans. He said: “It is our view that the choice of subjects should be more flexible to allow schools to have greater freedom in how they tailor the curriculum to the individual needs of each pupil.

“We are also concerned about the extremely difficult situation regarding teacher recruitment shortages and how this will impact on these plans.”

Lightman welcomed efforts to get the best teachers into the most challenging schools, but said the government should work closely with the profession on identifying, recruiting and supporting teachers.

An intial NTS pilot, based on the Teach First model, is being launched on Tuesday in the north west to recruit up to 100 teachers to start work in schools in 2016. The aim is to build to 1,500 teachers by 2020. Schools can request help, and teachers who take part in the scheme will be fast tracked.

Brett Wigdortz, founder of Teach First, said: “We know great teaching and leadership are among the most powerful forces for social change, and for improving children’s life chances.

“Yet challenges persist for pupils from low-income communities, especially in coastal and dispersed areas. We therefore warmly welcome the NTS and hope it will have a clear focus on attracting and developing talented teachers and leaders in areas where there are the greatest challenges; enabling young people from low-income backgrounds to realise their full potential.”

Morgan will also use her speech to announce the details of five academy sponsors – including the Tauheedul Education Trust and Bright Tribe – which have been awarded grants totalling £5m and told to improve pupil performance in schools in the north where where historically performance has lagged behind.


 

Monday, October 12th, 2015

The 3 Most Powerful Questions in Education

Question 1. What do you think …? (Open ended questions require children to develop self confidence & independence)

Question 2. Why do you think that? (The questions ‘Why’ – Requires children to think about the formula used to get to the answer as opposed to ‘just knowing the answer’)

3. Can you Prove it to me? (Backing it up with evidence, a demonstration or clear facts further instills independence and is a skill that children will use throughout their lives to make a valid contribution to society.)

To further extend learning, pupils teachers may wish to delve deeper by asking an additional questions such as:

a. When would that apply / Where would that work?

Next Page »