Using the Performance Continuum Within the Teaching and Learning Cycle

The EFF Teaching and Learning Toolkit http://eff.cls.utk.edu/toolkit describes how practitioners can use the EFF teaching and learning cycle to plan and carry out instruction based on the EFF Standards. This section suggests key points within the teaching and learning cycle where teachers can use the performance continuum to guide planning and assessment based on the Resolve Conflict and Negotiate Standard.

Before Instruction: Assessing Prior Knowledge

In Steps 1 and 2 of the EFF Teaching and Learning Cycle, teachers and learners determine individual and then group goals and purposes and identify the standard that will help the group to achieve a shared goal. The Tools section of the Teaching and Learning Toolkit contains a number of tools and worksheets to help teachers work with students to determine their goals, select standards to work on, and interpret or adapt the language in the standards. The Supports section of the toolkit has tips for working with more than one standard during a single activity.

Once students have selected a standard to work on, teachers need to determine students' prior knowledge in relationship to the standard. Teachers also need to assess any subject area or content knowledge students have or need to have to accomplish their goal. The performance continuum can be an important tool at this stage. Below are some tips for using the performance continuum to assess prior knowledge.

Using the Performance Continuum to Assess Prior Knowledge

  1. Look over the performance continuum to familiarize yourself with what is required for proficient performance at each level.
  2. Review what you already know about your students, based on intake assessments you or your program may have conducted, standardized test data, student portfolios, and previous student work. Determine the performance levels that appear to best reflect your students' proficiency levels.
  3. Gather additional information you need by asking students to demonstrate and/or reflect on what they already know. Step 2 of the Teaching and Learning Toolkit has several tools you can use, such as a worksheet for a Learning List that helps students identify what they already know and what they need to learn. Tailor the questions you ask to fine-tune your understanding of the performance levels of your students.

This classroom example helps to illustrate how the Resolve Conflict and Negotiate performance continuum can be used with the teaching and learning cycle. This activity is an example of a "found" lesson that emerged one day when a group of adult basic education students entered their evening family literacy class upset and unhappy about an event that had occurred just before class. It soon became clear to Claire, their teacher, that most of the class was too agitated to focus on the lesson she had planned. So she began to ask questions to help understand the problem.

Claire learned that about two weeks ago elementary school-aged children of parents enrolled in the family literacy program had been allowed to attend the childcare center. The school bus dropped them off there after school. The pre-school and school aged children were picked up by their parents sometime between five and six PM. Several of the students in Claire's class had older children who participated in this new program. Two of the class members worked at the center as daycare providers. The conflict began when the older children started to take toys and sports equipment into the front room where children of all ages were picked up. The parents of the worst offenders picked their kids up right at 6:00, and rushed out without helping to clean up. The childcare workers (who were also paid only up to 6:00) were left to stay late and pick up after them. This afternoon a three year old had tripped over a skateboard. Although she was not badly hurt, she could have been. The two daycare providers were angry that the parents of the older children were not holding their kids accountable for this event but were blaming the daycare for not maintaining a safe environment for their kids.

Claire had been wondering for some time how she might work with her students on the Resolve Conflict and Negotiate Standard and she recognized that here was a good chance to do so. She wrote down the definition of the standard on the blackboard and asked students to consider whether working on the standard might help them to think of a way to understand and work toward resolving their conflict. Once they agreed that it would, Claire adapted some of the questions on gathering information on prior knowledge to find out how much students already knew about conflict resolution. Based on this information and what she already knew about her students she decided that the knowledge, skills and strategies described in Performance Level 2 best matched the level at which her students were working.

Gathering Information about Prior Knowledge
Tools
Examples from Resolve Conflict and Negotiate
Describing Your Experience What do you already know about conflict resolution and negotiation?

Can you think of times when you have dealt with conflict in the past, like the conflict between you and your peers, the students at childcare, and the daycare providers about responsibilities at the childcare center? What did you do? Could you find areas of agreement and disagreement between you and your peers, the students at the daycare, and the daycare providers?

How did you get information so that you could understand both sides of the conflict? What did you do with this information? Were you able to come up with a resolution to the conflict? Did both parties end up pleased with the resolution? If they weren't, what would you do differently to ensure that both parties were satisfied with the resolution?

What strategies did you use to help you negotiate with you and your peers, the students at the childcare, and the childcare providers?

How did you make sure that your negotiation and your resolution were effective and fair all of the parties involved? Did you ever have to change your approach?

What do you think would be most challenging for you in resolving the conflict between you and your peers, the students at the daycare, and the childcare providers about responsibilities at the childcare center? What steps/parts do you think would be easy (fluency)?

What kind of help do you think you would need in order to resolve this conflict between all of the parties involved (independence)?
Strategies Interview Form Name two or three strategies you use when you are trying to resolve a conflict or negotiate with other people.

After you have developed a resolution to your conflict, what are some things you can do to make sure it works?

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