In This Episode:
Welcome to Episode 83 of Dyslexia Devoted and today we’re talking about the importance of coaching up our teachers to help them be even more amazing.
Show notes: parnelloeducation.com/episode84
This Episode's Topics:
- Why Educators Need More Training
- Training vs. Certification
- Coaching vs. Teacher Evaluations
Resources Mentioned in this Episode:
Connect with Lisa Parnello:
Hello and welcome to dyslexia devoted the podcast dedicated to building awareness, understanding and strategies to help those with dyslexia. I'm your host, Lisa Parnello, dyslexia therapist and founder of Parnello education services. Join me as we dive into today's episode of dyslexia devoted. Hello friends, and welcome to another episode of dyslexia devoted. I'm so glad you are joining me today. And I think I have some extra new listeners lately. So welcome. If you haven't joined us before in the first episode, I'm so glad you're here. If there's any specific topics you ever want to hear about, please let me know. And in fact, I'm planning to do some workshops in either February and or March for some live training. So
if you are interested in any of those I would love if you let me know some of the things you might be interested in learning more about. So some of the ideas off the top of my head is helping your kids with reading at home, or possibly a workshop on helping kids with writing. And a few other ideas are kind of bustling around in my head. But if there's anything you would really love to learn more about with dyslexia, and learning differences, I would love to hear it. And speaking of learning that is actually the theme of this week's episode. Welcome to Episode 84, of dyslexia devoted where we are talking all about educating our educators. This episode was inspired by a couple different things this week. One is that I am presenting at the totally free sped summit for special education teachers. And the other reason is that I was watching videos of a teacher who I've been trading these past couple years. And she's finishing her level two of Wilson certification that I've been training her for. And it was just so amazing to watch her teaching her lessons in a pre recorded session where I'm not there helping her anything. And I could see just how far she has come just by getting additional training in helping her be a better instructor for kids with dyslexia. So let's talk about why training such as getting a practicum to get special training in helping kids with dyslexia is so important. The first is that so many teacher training programs don't teach educators how to help kids with dyslexia. I went through an undergrad in elementary education and a master's in special education. And neither one of those programs taught me the way that I teach kids now. And part of it could have been that I know that there was some instruction on phonics and things like that in my college prep program. And maybe it was just because it was also theoretical, it didn't really seem to apply to the things I was doing at the moment. And maybe I could have taken a little bit more out of it. But a lot of it just really wasn't taught like I had no idea that syllable types were a thing. And there are so many things that help kids with dyslexia, that educators just don't know exist, educators are working their tails off. It has been a rough couple of years in the world of education, between the pandemic and the behavioral struggles that come with kids after missing so much school and so much socialization, time, and a lot of other, you know, social things going on in recent years. But the biggest thing is that teachers are the most successful when they're the most prepared and the most supported. And unfortunately, there's not been nearly enough proper preparation, and not nearly enough support for our educators. And so this week really showed to me what can happen when a teacher does have really great support, and how far an educator can come when they just have somebody coaching and mentoring them. So now let's take a minute to think about what does that look like? A lot of times, we go through our teacher education and our teacher prep programs. And then we have some ongoing PD or professional development if you're not an educator who's listening. But the thing is, all this development is a lot of times very superficial. A lot of times it is something that you're doing for like a day or two in the end of summer, right when you should be preparing your classroom and getting ready for kids enter the room, because you didn't even know how many kids were in your class till that morning. So it's not like you could have prepared much, you know, before kids come back to school, it doesn't really go in depth. And there's also a lot of times no feedback. A lot of teacher professional development is often teachers sitting in a room being lectured and bored out of their mind without any actual application. Nobody is having them practice how to do something, nobody is going in and watching them teach and giving them helpful feedback. They give them critical feedback, like professional walkthroughs and criticizing things. But it's not necessarily ones where it's like a coaching situation where somebody's coaching you up. A lot of times the observation teachers get are tearing them down. And so when I talk about teacher education, I mean real supportive education. I love the way you talk this this way. Here's one way you can make your life easier. Here's a strategy you can use that would help that child in this situation if it ever happens again. And we need so much more of that in our educational system is that supportive feedback. And the other thing we need is correct. golems that teachers can teach well, and teach with fidelity and know how to use them, and how to use them well, and also be given curriculum that actually teaches children to read. I know when I was teaching back in Arizona a long time ago, I bet some of you didn't even know I used to teach in Arizona. I just got back from there this weekend. And I spent some lovely time with my best friend and went to the zoo where I used to take kids on field trips to because she has kids. And so we took them to the zoo, and I got to Reno remember all my years of teaching out in Arizona. And one of the things I remember is we would have to do these running records of listening to the kids read. And we had all worked out a system of just skip letter, I don't know I think was like D, and jump straight to E or like skip letter E and then go straight to F. Because kids would inevitably fail that one book, because the leveled readers are not actually leveled based on their Phonetic Skills. They're based on sentence complexity, and student's ability to guess based on the pictures. And I was teaching English language learners that had no concept of any of the vocabulary or topics in one of the books. And they always failed that book, even if they could typically read. And the other thing that happened is that leveled readers are often kind of skewed, sometimes one level is actually harder than the one that theoretically comes after it. But this also taught me now that I have a lot more experience being a reading instructor that how badly those kids were being taught to read in certain ways. And I did work really hard. I tried to teach them, you know, on sets and rhymes and you know, blends and things like that. But I wasn't doing nearly as good of a job as I do now, because I've had so much training and support over the years, and it has made a massive difference. I realize now that those leveled readers are not really a good measurement of a student's progress. If they make it from one level to the next. Sometimes it's kind of a lucky guess. Sometimes it's a topic they've heard of before. Sometimes it's one with really good illustrations, so they can guess it a lot better. And I now know better on how do I measure Phonetic Skills? Where if there are no pictures, how can the students still read those words? And if I have a student reading a book, Can They read it again three days later? Or was it just kind of lucky guests that day, because somebody warned them what the topic was going to be about. And they had some minutes to think about it before they started reading, that they can apply some context clues. And I know I definitely never taught any my kids how to read nonsense words, why on earth would you teach your children nonsense? I saw them on the dibbles assessment, which I think is called maybe acadiens. Now, I can't remember it has a new name. I'm blanking at the moment because it is still kind of early today. I never really understood why the nonsense words was a thing. And then I started teaching kids with dyslexia. I have a few kids that if they see something, even one time, they will remember it. Versus if I give them a nonsense word, there's no way they've ever seen that word anywhere else. So they have to use their actual decoding skills to sound it out. So it shows me what they will do if they encounter an unfamiliar word. But I never would have known this without some additional instruction. As an educator, I also have gotten to see over the years the difference between teachers who were trained and teachers who were certified. So if you are not familiar with these terminologies, if a teacher is learning how to use a new curriculum, such as an Orton Gillingham approach, there's usually more than one way to get trained. Some of them are ones where they just sit there and listen kind of in a lecture hall kind of situation for a couple of days and get a basic overview of what the program is. And then there's another level of training called a practicum. And getting a full certification, in which case, a teacher watches you teach, or trainer watches you teach, and then gives you constructive feedback on how you could teach even better. And I can't even begin to describe the level of difference between teachers who are certified and those who are not. And it just seems like a lot of work. And it doesn't seem like you're getting as much out of it as you could. But then if you are the trainer on the other end, to watch this teacher that I saw last week, and the very first videos she sent to me a year and a half ago when she started. And the videos I saw last week, there was a remarkable difference. She knew so much more about how to help those kids. She was doing so many things that she would not have done a few years ago, because her training was working. And I think that's another feature of it is that the training was more of a coaching supportive role. I wasn't her boss, I wasn't in charge of her pay raises. I wasn't in charge of her teaching contract getting renewed nothing. And not that we actually had teaching contracts at the law school that worked out it was like an at will kind of places is a private school, but it makes a really big difference. And so we need to think of more ways that we can educate our educators. And I don't mean lecture them or tell them all the things they're doing wrong. Because sometimes it's educators don't have a choice. There are so many schools where the educator has zero choice in what curriculum they're using in their classroom. I know I've gotten lucky over the years because I've been at private schools where they are like, Well, you're the only teacher that teaches this screen, pick whatever curriculum you think will work for you, because you don't have to, like make it match anybody else. It's just you. And so I got to pick what I wanted. But that's actually really not normal at all. And thankfully, it was pretty good at picking curriculum. But so many places, teachers have to teach what the district has approved, even if the district approved curriculum is terrible. And that is what's really unfortunate. I've actually even seen some teachers learn more about the science of reading and how important it is to teach phonics and morphology, and you know how to better understand reading comprehension and things like that. And then actually want to quit school districts because they refuse to keep teaching the terrible bad way that doesn't work, and encourages kids to start guessing on words, because they start to have a moral impasse of I just cannot support this anymore. But the first step in getting good curriculum is getting teachers trained on how to teach kids effectively. And there's a lot of different ways that teachers can get education. And so there's, you know, online summits, there are reading conferences, there's the reading League, there's the International Dyslexia Association, there are various Orton Gillingham training programs. So there's Orton Gillingham, the original, and Slingerland, and Wilson and a few others. So there's actually a lot and then letters training was really good. I did that one as well on top of my Wilson stuff, because there's always something more to learn. The big key to the success of every child is to have teachers who truly understand what reading is all about, and how to help kids become better readers, teaching them about phonemic awareness, teaching them how to sound out words, teaching them to not rely on the pictures, teaching students how to monitor their reading to make sure that they're really understanding. And they don't just keep reading when they don't know what happened on the page, being able to teach students about morphology so that if they encounter a word they've never heard of before, they can use the little roots inside of them from Greek and Latin and things like that, to figure out a basic idea what that word probably means. There are so many things our teachers are not being taught in their teacher prep programs. And it's totally not their fault. And what curriculum they're using probably isn't their choice in their classrooms either. So it is important that we validate how hard teachers are working. But we also give them the right support and the right curriculum choices and the right training, and help them through that process. I think that's why I really liked being a part of the sped summit that I'm doing this week, because it is totally free for educators to learn. I'll put a link to that inside the show notes. Because this bedtime, I think allows you access I think for this whole month starting yesterday. So I'll go ahead and put the link in there. So you guys can register and see the presentations. If you miss them. It is so important that we help teachers learn and educate. But unfortunately, a lot of schools are underfunded. So free events like this this week are really important. So to wrap up our session today, let's talk about a few things. The first is that teachers are trying their best, but a lot of things they were never taught in their teacher prep programs. Another thing is that there's a difference between training a teacher and having teacher who's certified in something, you get a lot more out of those full certifications where it comes with that educator coaching process than you do out of a teacher being lectured in the middle of the end of their summer when all they want to do is work in their classroom. And they're just listening to someone talk at them. They're not actually applying the things that they're learning. And sometimes it's not even done in a way that is easy to apply. Because I know I've been into some professional developments where it's one professional development for kindergarten through eighth grade. And I can sure as heck tell you, the kindergarten teacher does not care about the same thing the eighth grade teacher cares about. So we need to make sure teachers are given opportunities for training that is really helpful applicable to what they are teaching, we need to make sure teachers are getting valuable feedback that they can apply to their teaching in a zero consequences kind of way more of a coaching program, rather than an evaluation that judges a teacher by how good or bad they're doing. And then that has to do with you know, their teaching contracts and raises and things like that. Instead, we just need supportive coaching that just helps teachers become even better than they already are. Without those fear of consequences when somebody walks into a room on the super crazy chaotic day when everything could possibly go wrong because every teacher knows that's when your unexpected walkthrough always happens. All right, as we are closing out don't forget shoot me a message Parnell education on Facebook or Instagram or Lisa at Parnell education if there are any training topics that you would love to learn more about, as I am designing some workshops for February and March of 2024. That's all for today. I'll see you next time.
Thanks for tuning into today's episode. If you want to learn even more about dyslexia, check out Parnello education.com forward slash courses. See you next time