Posts

“At the Forefront of Innovation: Educational Consultants and the AI Revolution” Or “Teaching the Teachers: When AI Goes to School”

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“At the Forefront of Innovation: Educational Consultants and the AI Revolution” Or  “Teaching the Teachers: When AI Goes to School” "Stepping into the future of education means embracing AI—not as a distant future, but as a present partner. Let's not just adapt to change; let's lead it!" As I look back on the late 90s and early 00s, I remember the  impact the internet had on education and in my schools. Now, we're on the edge of another revolutionary innovation: AI. AI promises to reshape education in ways we can't even fully grasp yet. This is a pivotal moment for independent educational consultants and coaches. We must embrace the rapid pace of AI development or risk becoming obsolete. The old adage rings true: "If you are not seated at the dinner table, you are probably on the menu." It's necessary that we plan, innovate and grow alongside AI advancements to remain relevant and effective in our roles. The future is bright, but only if we are a

Breaking News: Silver Bullets for Student Learning Found! (Spoiler: They're Actually All Glitter)

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  Breaking News: Silver Bullets for Student Learning Found! (Spoiler: They're Actually All Glitter) Or Marketing vs Research: How Do Educators Make PL&D Decisions? Or Why We Need to Rethink How We Support Professional Learning for Schools and Educators Part One! “When all is said and done, more is usually said than done.” -Lou Holtz Part of the “Barriers to Professional Learning & Doing” series… In my almost three decades in education and with the many schools I’ve worked with, it’s obvious that almost every education organization out there is seeking the “Silver Bullet” to support increased student learning. We seem to be enamored by the “newest thing” in education, usually some type of curriculum or approach that promises big returns. These “Silver Bullets” tend to be 1) flashy (or glittery!) or 2) have deep marketing budgets (hello big publishers!). Unfortunately, the marketing and excitement often overshadows the research and effectiveness behind the newest thing.  We o

"Research on Small Group Effectiveness" (OR "The Power of Few: Reflecting on the Impact of Small Group Instruction""

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  "Small group instruction: where learning is personal, engagement deepens, and understanding grows." I am working on organizing my thoughts around Small Group Instruction. But I wanted to post this summary of three research-based finding of small groups.  Research used in Small Group post above (D isclaimer: Summaries written with AI) 1. National Institute for Literacy (2008) : This comprehensive report, "Developing Early Literacy: Report of the National Early Literacy Panel," highlights the effectiveness of systematic, small group instruction for improving key early literacy skills, including phonemic awareness, alphabet knowledge, and the development of early reading skills. The research suggests that small group settings allow for tailored instruction that meets the unique needs of each student, significantly boosting early literacy outcomes compared to whole-class instruction.    Reference: National Institute for Literacy. (2008). Developing Early Literacy: Rep

"Embracing Change in Education: Overcoming Contraction Bias” Or "Future-Proofing the Flock: When Sheep in Educator's Clothing Resist the New Wool"

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  "In the classroom, the only constant is change, but our brains might be playing tricks on us, convincing us that new teaching strategies are just old wine in new bottles. Let's debunk this myth and dive into the curious world of contraction bias—where progress may be more than we think." Part of the “Barriers to Professional Learning & Doing” series… First, my introduction to the Contraction Bias (CB) Support Group:   Me: “Hello, my name is Robb and I have CB”   You: “Hello, Robb”   What the heck is CB? It stands for “Contraction Bias” and it’s one of the reasons why we aren’t making headway in education reform in our districts and schools. I’m worried that I may have been part of the problem! [Enter sad face here!]   Let’s talk about this for a second…   What is Contraction Bias?   According to ScienceDirect, “One commonly observed perceptual distortion is the contraction bias - the tendency of observers to underestimate stimuli that are larger than expectations an

Why Schools and Teachers Need to Grow Together (or Growth Spurts Aren’t Just for Teenagers: The School System Edition)

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“Growing together isn’t just a strategy; it’s a school’s superpower. When teachers learn and systems evolve, we don’t just teach lessons—we transform futures.” Part of the “Barriers to Professional Learning & Doing” series… Ever noticed how teacher training can sometimes feel like it’s happening in a bubble? Teachers get all this new knowledge and then, without the right support from the system, it just… fizzles out. It’s not just a hunch—research shows that for teacher training to stick, the whole school environment needs to evolve alongside our educators.   One key study by Timperley et al. (2007) drives this point home. It found that effective professional development isn’t just about learning new strategies; it’s about the whole school system—policies, resources, culture—adapting to support these strategies.   And it’s not just about systems. Leaders playing an active role in this learning matters a ton. A study by Darling-Hammond, Hyler, and Gardner (2017) showed that when adm

Teaching, Persuading, Healing: The Triple Art of Educational Consulting

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  “Straddling the line between a physician’s care and a salesman’s zeal, educational consultants wield the dual tools of empathy and persuasion to navigate the complex world of education.” I’m climbing towards 30 years of service in education.    I’ve worked directly with Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment and educational consulting for the last 12 or 13 years. I’ve learned that those of us serving educators as an internal or external consultant are placed in a unique position. We bring with us lots of knowledge and experience; which causes me to feel like a physician. We observe, diagnose, and provide a prescription.    On the flip side, we are faced with the idea that we have very little “mandate power.”      We can encourage and support educator development, but we can’t force it. In this respect, I feel more like a salesman, peddling curriculum and strategies like they are the cure for all the ills in education.  An Educational Consultant as a Physician My first thought is alw