Three Steps to Creating Powerful Change — Using Rubrics for Teacher Development

What changes do you want to bring to your setting?

How will you know whether your staff has the skills to actually do things differently?

How will you help them identify and develop the new skills they might need?

At the ARJE Gathering last month in Washington, D.C. over two dozen educators gathered to consider how rubrics can help us implement change in our settings, and to begin the process of creating together a rubric of skills for teaching and learning in the Jewish educational space.

If we want to teach differently, we need to make sure we and our staff have a way to identify, articulate, and then develop the new skills that will help everyone grow professionally and become reflective practitioners.

At a workshop led by Kim Bodemer, Senior Director of Education and Youth Engagement, and Vicki Weber, Partner at Behrman House, participants worked in pairs and small groups to articulate the specific skills that help teachers excel in areas such as content knowledge, classroom management, inclusive focus, family communication, work with madrichim, community building, and collaboration with colleagues. In short, we created a rubrics of teaching competencies.

A competency rubric is a tool to help staff make changes. It articulates the specific skills needed, helps staff see where they are strong and which of their skills need work. A rubric not only sets out standards to assess progress, it also provides standards to evaluate potential hires.

You can develop a rubric of staff competencies specifically for your setting in three fairly simple steps:

1)            Decide categories of competence that are important in your setting

2)            Name specific, demonstrable skills that show what competence looks like each category

3)            Articulate differences among excellent, acceptable, and unacceptable skill levels for each category.

A rubric is especially powerful if you want to make a specific change—perhaps creating a greater sense of community, or a more inclusive environment. By articulating just what that means in your setting, you provide a clear roadmap for you and your staff.

Want to try competency rubrics in your setting? Click here for Sample Rubrics for Teacher Development. You can download a sample rubric developed by workshop participants, and also an organizer you can use to create additional modules.

Want to gain support among your staff? Hold your own staff development mini-workshop using the organizer to develop rubrics specifically for your school.


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