By Jon Konen
The Daily 5 learning structure has changed the way best practices are implemented. Instead of paying for a program that is marketed as being “failsafe,” we now focus on research-based instructional strategies and structures that we can use for all instructional areas. Successful implementation, however, requires principals to be reflective and see the process from the teacher’s perspective. Principals need to understand what might cause resistance, anticipate the hurdles, and be ready to answer questions as they arise.
As Alisa Simeral and Pete Hall (2008) say in their book, Building Teachers’ Capacity for Success: A Collaborative Approach for Coaches and School Leaders, teachers are in one of four stages when it comes to change (implementation): unaware, conscious, action, and refinement. We can use this information to understand our next steps as instructional leaders.
Teachers Who Are Unaware of Daily 5
Principals working with teachers in the Unaware Stage must first compliment the good work the teachers are already doing and recognize their potential. A teacher who has been successfully doing the same thing for years might question the need for change, so it’s important to build trust with the teacher. We also must be confident in what we know about Daily 5 (and best practices in learning in general) so we can explain to teachers how Daily 5 can further improve their instruction. At this stage, we are not forming questions to lead them down this pathway; we are telling them facts about the learning structure and why we need everyone to implement it. Goal setting can then begin.
Teachers Who Are Conscious of the Daily 5 Possibilities
Principals working with teachers in the Conscious Stage begin with praising them for specific aspects of their instruction that already match the Daily 5 philosophy. Though these teachers may possess only a conceptual understanding of Daily 5, they need to know what implementing it looks like. Connecting these teachers to others at this stage is important, so that they won’t feel like they are alone. They need to be confident that they’re not placing their students’ learning at risk. The use of modeling by another teacher, instructional coach, or even a principal is powerful at this stage. It supports the transfer of knowledge from conceptual to concrete. Goal setting is the next step.
Teachers Who Are Putting Daily 5 into Action
Principals working with teachers in the Action Stage must continue to praise the work they are doing and model open-mindedness with the implementation of Daily 5. We need to provide resources, as well as access to other teachers at the same stage, so they don’t feel alone in putting pieces of Daily 5 into action. Likewise, we need to connect these teachers with people who are in the Refinement Stage of Daily 5 implementation. This pushes them to see where they are headed, and they then can set goals for further refinement of the Daily 5.
Teachers Who Are Refining Their Practice
Principals working with teachers in the Refinement Stage must give specific praise for what they are doing with Daily 5. These teachers should be connected with others across the school district, state, or nation who are at this same stage. We can use social media to more easily connect them to other teachers in the Refinement Stage, even across the country. We need to also build their capacity for leading and spreading their work within the school. We continue to set goals with them, but do it differently from how we do it at any other level, by framing our questions around how they can continue to support our school with further implementation of Daily 5.