Lifelong Learner & Reflective Practitioner

Lifelong Learner & Reflective Practitioner

Let's Transform Our Schools Into TRUE Professional Learning Communities

Let's Transform Our Schools Into TRUE Professional Learning Communities
In Your School- Do all stakeholders subscribe to the belief that EVERYONE has something to learn and EVERYONE has something to teach? This blog can help you gain insight on how to facilitate this transformative mindset with your faculty!

Mar 5, 2013

Clever Uses of Acronyms

I recently read an article about change readiness and how the number one reason that people resist change is because of fear. To illustrate this, the acronym F.E.A.R. was referred to as "False Evidence Appearing Real." I immediately thought of a number of ways that I could use this in professional development with my emphasize the fact that people often view things with suspicion during times of change- they allow their perceptions to get distorted and don't look at things objectively.

Then, I started thinking of some ways that I have used acronyms to make a point or lead professional growth of teachers throughout my career. I recalled several that I thought of to share...Some that I developed and some that others developed and I used. I'll make a list of them here, but please share your ideas as well by posting additional acronyms that you have seen used in edcuation and professional development:

G.R.O.W.- Goals, Reality, Options, Will
I think that this one is appropriate for using with teachers at the beginning of the school year- when we have those couple of professional development days before the students come back. You can develop an inspiring speech for that first day back after summer break and let the teachers know that this year, you want to see each and everyone of them develop professional goals and assess the reality of their situations (students' academic performance levels, amount of parent involvement, available resources, etc) and then objectively determine what options are available to truly make a positive impact, and next to mentally prepare to have the will and stamina to make it happen! Obviously, this is a very condensed version of how to use this...I would use it as a framework for a day-long professional development session geared around goal-setting.

P.R.I.D.E.- Personal Responsibility In Delivering Excellence
This one could be used in the same fashion as the one mentioned above. You could tell teachers (or teachers can tell students) that you want to see everyone take PRIDE in their work and then elaborate by utilizing this acronym to deeply explore the idea of "personal responsibility in delivering excellence."

A.B.C.D.- Above and Beyond the Call of Duty
This one is good for faculty recognition. If you do a weekly memo for your staff, you could have a section called "ABCD" and recognize anyone who had done something really great that week. You could also have an ABCD section in your parent newsletter for recognizing parents and community partners.

I.D.E.A.- Identify, Design, Execute, Augment

This one is effective to use with a grup of high achieving teachers- innovators- on your faculty to encourage them develop creative programs for student achievement.

B.E.E.R.- Behavior, Effect, Expectation, Results
This is a fun one. You could use it with your school discipline committee. Everybody who serves in an urban school knows that this committee works harder than any other. It can be very stressful as school safety and behavior management are both constant up-hill battles for many schools. One way to lighten up the work of the committee is to have a Friday Night BEER Club. After school, you can have some reflective and critical conversation about a specifically troublesome behavior that teachers are seeing among the students. They can determine the effect of this behavior and then work collaboratively to develop a plan of action to articulate and share the expectation related to this behavior. Finally, they can plan a way to formatively assess the results of the action taken.

A.L.F.- Always Listen First
We all have witnessed times when someone on our faculty, committee, or grade level team is defensive and not being a good listener. Remember that show ALF from the eighties? I see stuffed animal versions of him at thrift stores all the time. Purchse one of these to keep in a conference room (or library if that's where you have faculty meetings)and hold it up as a gentle reminder when a colleague is not being a good listener. It can really lighten things up during tense moments if you have developed some trust. If you can't find a stuffed animal, just use Google images and print off a colored picture of ALF and laminate it.

N.F.L.- Not For Long
All schools go through difficult periods. For example, a school may go on target or notice status from the state. Constantly being under the microscope can really take a toll on teachers. This is a good acronym to use when you are attempting to inspire your faculty to make it through, improve, and even come out of the situation better. You can use the whole NFL football theme as a way to let them know that this will pass....It's NOT FOR LONG! You can even talk about strategically planning (compare to football plays), recruiting the best players (teachers, students, parents), and the importance of teamwork, etc. You can set the stage for reaching ambitious goals, for example, you can use this to motivate teachers to envision the possibilities(like comparing getting all A's on the state report card to the Super Bowl, etc.).

Z.A.P.- Zeros Aren't Permitted
I knew a really good teacher that had a "ZAP" club. Failing grades- and especially 0's- were not even an option in her classroom. If a student did not complete or turn in an assignment, or if they did not make a C or higher on any assignment, she had them stay afterschool for the "ZAP CLUB." Once a week, she would stay afterschool and assist these students in completing/improving such assignments.

B.M.W.- Bitching, Moaning, Whining
I knew a principal who used to always tell his teachers to park their BMW's outside before entering the library for faculty meetings. He used this in a humorous way and told teachers that these meetings were all about staying positive and focused to make things better for kids. As such, there was no time for bitching, moaning, and whining!