Posts Tagged professional development

Flexibility in Today’s Hectic World

Learning-FlexibilityHere at Quantum Learning, the 8 Keys of Excellence are at the core of everything we do.  Today, we are going to focus on Flexibility.  What does flexibility mean to you? How can being flexible help in the classroom, with co-workers, and in your personal life? We had our own discussion on Flexibility last week, and wanted to share some thoughts with you.

The Science
How do you feel when you get a right answer?  Do you feel excited? The answer is more than likely yes.  This is due to the fact that when we are right, our brain sends out dopamine.  This makes us feel happy, and a craving to feel that emotion again—so we want to be right as often as we can.  The more dopamine your brain sends out, the more you want to feel the emotion again.  In a sense, you get addicted. But can you get this “high” being flexible?

We define Flexibility as:
Be willing to do things differently. Recognize what’s not working and be willing to change what you’re doing to achieve your goal.

What Now?

  1. Take a Step Back
    Sometimes you just need to take a step back and re-evaluate the situation.  Does the situation mean more to the person you are arguing with than yourself? Take a step back and ask yourself, “Do I have to get my way?” If on a scale of 1-10 (10 being extremely important) if this situation is a 3 to you, and the person you are talking to feels it is a 10, then maybe they should get their way.
  2. Compromise
    We learn at a young age to play well with others. Are you doing this? We all know we can’t always get our own way, but this doesn’t mean you wouldn’t mind if you did. Compromising is a great way to practice flexibility, and help move everyone involved forward.
  3. Assessing the Situation
    The definition many use for insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.  For example, if you set your alarm clock for the same time every morning but you still don’t get up—how can you be more flexible? How about moving your alarm clock to the other side of the room.  This will make you get up to turn the alarm off.

In the classroom, flexibility comes from both the teacher and students.  As the teacher, it’s important to be viewed as the authority figure, but building flexibility into your teaching strategy can lead to greater student engagement, better overall communication, and, ultimately, more flexibility on your students’ part as you model this very important Key each day.

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Quantum Learning for Teachers Summer 2011 Public Workshops

At the QLN Campus in Oceanside, California

Quantum Learning helps bring passion and fun back to teaching. It works because QL-trained teachers learn the how and the why from top facilitators who model effective QL classroom methods throughout the workshop.Teachers leave our programs with tools they understand and know how to use in their classrooms. As a result,students with QL teachers attain higher achievement levels and gain improved attitudes toward learning.

Choose between two 5-day public workshops (click on either date for the informational flyer and registration form)

June 27 – July 1, 2011
QLN Campus – Oceanside, CA

July 25-29, 2011
QLN Campus – Oceanside, CA

 

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What Makes a Great Teacher — It’s about the HOW

“Student achievement flows from great teaching,” states Vicki Phillips, Director of Education for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

We believe great teachers know how to create meaningful, engaging learning environments that challenge students to do their best. Unfortunately, the majority of time that’s spent on developing teachers is too focused on the “what” and the “why” but not the “how” of creating successful learning environments.

Teachers know what they want their classrooms to look like and how they want their students to be, yet often they don’t know how to make it happen. Over our 20 years of experience working with schools on professional staff development, we’ve seen many good teachers become great — once they learn how to change the dynamics of their classroom.

Specifically, great teachers know how to:

  • Connect with students
  • Make content meaningful and relevant
  • Orchestrate positive interactions
  • Build a classroom environment of respect and high expectations
  • Inspire students to do their best
  • Stimulate positive student behavior
  • Teach to all types of learners
  • Engage students in learning from bell to bell
  • Great teachers know how to create a community of learners who are engaged and excited to learn!

When teachers are empowered and know how to make this happen in the classroom — when they have practical, transferable skills and techniques to create a learning environment that works — the desired outcomes follow: improved behavior, attendance, grades, test scores and graduation rates.

Vicki Phillips continues to say, “Great teaching is advanced by great professional development.” Effective teacher training takes time and commitment. Success in the classroom is not achieved with drive-by workshops that lecture teachers on the what without the how. Effective programs put the “how” first and ensure that teachers can successfully apply it in their classrooms.

When teachers acquire the necessary “how” skills and practice and personalize them in their classrooms, the result is a highly effective learning environment that produces positive outcomes for their students.

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POWER WHOOSH!

Below you can see a video of Kelli Myers’ Quantum Learning 5th grade class doing a “power whoosh.” A “Power Whoosh” is when on cue, everyone claps their hands three times in unison, then sends all of their positive energy to a designated person. It is a part of Quantum Learning’s “If It’s Worth Learning, It’s Worth Celebrating.” Celebration builds the desire for success. So celebrate often!

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Recharging classroom joy with techniques from Quantum Learning

Teachers need techniques. There is no shame in a new teacher adopting a great lesson plan from a generous master teacher. The sharing of “best practices” is a common activity at staff meetings. As so many veteran teachers will admit, some of their best ideas were “borrowed” from colleagues. It’s what teachers do – brag about a great unit they just taught, helpfully hint at a classroom management strategy that a colleague might need, and refresh their dwindling enthusiasm at the pool of shared experience and creativity.

In San Diego County, educators, schools, and students have the good fortune to be located near the home office of a dynamic education company that offers its own well of energetic, inspired ideas: Quantum Learning. This is not an advertisement; this is a testimony. Quantum Learning uses brain research to inform its instructional methodology. They also offer brain-based methods for learners via summer camps. But that sounds so dry. Really, the impact of what Quantum Learning delivers in its teacher workshops and camps can best be conveyed by a description of a Quantum Learning-infused classroom.

Imagine a classroom filled with color and light – a cozy lamp, a bright tablecloth – and posters displaying positive messages such as “Today became great when YOU arrived.” Listen – there is music playing, upbeat as you enter the room and soothing as you work. There’s a teacher who gets the class up and moving at frequent intervals, using body motions, choral response, and visual cues to engage kids and help them remember concepts. Notes are taken in color with picture drawing encouraged, and students whose brains don’t work in a linear mode are taught mind-mapping instead of traditional notes. Life skills are imparted along with academics – keys such as “Failure leads to success” encourage kids to see their efforts as building blocks towards success when they struggle. Kids start class charged up and ready for learning and leave class with concrete knowledge about what they know and don’t know and how to move forward.

It is difficult to share the techniques with a colleague who has never “been to the well” – to outsiders, it seems gimmicky, perhaps even cultish. But teachers who have attended a Quantum Learning workshop and tried the strategies in their own classroom know how powerful they can be. These days, with tight budgets limiting the acquisition of expensive toys like smart boards and individual student laptops, our schools are more in need than ever of good strategies that help kids learn, make school a positive, energetic, attractive place, and infuse joy back into the teachers’ efforts.

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Two For One

Thank you Teacher World for your flattering post!

I have shared with you that I spend time in the mornings reading positive, uplifting, and motivational materials that help jumpstart my day, and I am going to pick the best of these that can be applied to education in some way and share them with you on a regular basis. I hope that these bring some laughter, some deep thought, some happiness, and some positive reaction from all of you. These aren’t very deep, but they are fun. So, without further ado, here is another great saying.

* “It is okay to try and fail and try and fail again, but it isn’t okay to try and fail, and fail to try again!”

Oh, I love that, don’t you? Isn’t this a perfect message for students about not giving up until they get it right? For that matter, isn’t it a great message for teachers, too? I loved this quote from the moment I heard it, and I proudly display it in my classroom and talk about it at the beginning of every year.

I can’t take credit for this wonderful quote, so where did I get it? About six years ago my school system sent several teachers to the best training program I have ever had the opportunity to attend. It is called Quantum Learning, and I would highly recommend this program to all teachers. What is the premise behind this training? According to its website, “Quantum Learning for Teachers programs empower educators to create joyous, engaging and successful learning – turning their classrooms into optimal learning environments”. We learned countless teaching strategies and moves that are based on brain research. One of the best techniques I learned, circuit learning, is a technique that incorporates repeated exposure to facts in a manner that moves information from your short term to your long term memory without memorization. It works, and I use it every year!

So, today you got a two-for-one; a great saying and a little commercial for a great teacher’s program you and your school system might want to consider taking. Enjoy!

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Congratulations to Principal Bob Callahan

DHS Principal Honored

Congratulations to Bob Callahan for being chosen as Region 16 Principal of the Year by the Texas Association of Secondary School Principals (TASSP).  Mr. Callahan is in his 20th year as principal of Dumas High School and his 33rd year with Dumas ISD.  His prior positions with the district include five years as a biology teacher and assistant coach and eight years as the assistant principal all at DHS.  He had six years of teaching experience before coming to Dumas.  Mr. Callahan will be recognized at the upcoming TASSP State Conference.

Bob will present with Quantum Learning at a session entitled “Light the Fire of Loving Learning in EVERY Student!” at the Texas School Improvement Conference in October in Austin.

“Quantum Learning is the most powerful program for improving teacher effectiveness, enthusiasm and excitement for teaching that we’ve ever had in this district.  It has become contagious! I remember hearing one of the QL instructors who is also a teacher talk about a new teacher who would come by his class every day because every student in the grade level he taught in wanted to be in his class, and the new teacher wanted to know why.  The same thing has happened at my school.  Students want to be in classes where teachers are using Quantum Learning methods to teach. They want to come to school and can’t wait to get there.  You know, new teachers who step into a classroom and suddenly have to get everything done are just overwhelmed at first.  There is so much more that they are responsible for than they ever imagined. And then they have a diverse classroom and all kinds of situations to deal with. That is where Quantum Learning comes in. It equips teachers to be the best they could ever want to be. If they are a parent, it equips them to be the kind of teacher they’d want their own children to have.  I can see it in how my teachers carry themselves. They’re confident and their excited to be at school every morning. It’s been a real transformation in our school since we began Quantum Learning.”

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