Our KDSL Global Intern recently had the opportunity to interview Ashley Green, the first ASCD Emerging Leader based in the Middle East. Currently, Green is in the United Arab Emirates and passionate about teaching, learning, and ensuring autonomy and student interest are central in working with studets. She also serves as a Senior Associate with KDSL Global.
Tell us about the ASCD Emerging Leaders program.
Educators selected for the Emerging Leaders program have been in the education profession for 5–15 years; demonstrate a passion for learning, teaching, and leading; come from a diverse range of positions, locations, cultural backgrounds, and perspectives; hold promise as leaders; and are committed to ASCD’s beliefs and to pursuing leadership opportunities. Following the nomination process, this year’s leaders were chosen by an advisory panel composed of ASCD staff, education thought leaders, and emerging leader alumni.
For 75 years, ASCD has been at the forefront of education issues that affect learning, teaching, and leading. Since the launch of Educational Leadership magazine in 1943, ASCD has developed trustworthy, research-based, and up-to-date information that shapes the international conversation on best practices to support the success of each learner.
Throughout history, ASCD’s members, authors, and expert cadres have read like a “Who’s Who” in education. ASCD has been the birthplace of transformative ideas such as the Understanding by Design® framework, the ASCD Whole Child approach, and capacity-building professional learning.
As an Emerging Leader (EL) in the MENA region, how will you contribute to the growth of ASCD?
As an EL in the MENA region, I hope to contribute by raising awareness and highlighting the goals and initiatives of ASCD. In October, I will assist with the Teach to Lead summit in Dubai. Teach to Lead is a partnership of the U.S. Department of Education, ASCD and Teach Plus. I am looking forward to working alongside teacher leaders and amplifying their voice and work in this field. It is essential to bridge relationships with community stakeholders and the Teach to Lead summit will provide educational leaders with the platform needed to foster relationships beyond their organizations.
If you could change anything about today’s education system, what would you change and why?
If I could change anything about the educational system, it would be the way differentiation is viewed. This is a term that several educators hold near to their hearts. Educators believe that if they are differentiating, they are working towards meeting the needs of children. For some differentiation can seem like a three ring circus. Others may struggle with seeing the value of changing instruction when assessments are the same, motivation is low, and behavior is out of control. To be very clear, I do not think differentiation should not be included in the current educational process, but I believe as educators, we have to visit a different concept first.
A concept that has the student’s at the core. A concept that educator’s want, but may possibly struggle with giving; autonomy. Autonomy simply put is the right or condition of self-government. A classroom that is autonomous will benefit from differentiation. Autonomy starts with the students (I want to learn more about…. or I need help with….). Differentiation begins with the teachers (Based on the data, the student needs this….). In an autonomous classroom students have stake in their learning goals. In a differentiated classroom, most teachers are using data to drive the teaching and learning. Teachers then select the activities or assessments that they think will help the students based on the data. Autonomous classrooms make the process of differentiation easier, while supporting the students and maximizing motivation and effort. Educators may be wondering, what does an autonomous classroom look like or how can I achieve that when the classes are all the same and I have to meet certain guidelines. Getting started can be achieved in three easy steps.
Getting to know the students
If you’ve ever had parent teacher conferences in the fall, then you know how difficult it was to speak about a student that you barely know. We make general blanket statements while smiling and nodding most of the time. In a classroom that honors autonomy, the teachers will sit down with every single student in the beginning and learn their story. Children are naturally inquisitive, so this will also give them an opportunity to ask questions. Both the student and teacher should walk away feeling like they’ve gotten to know one another.
Analyze their data story
Whether a student is in 1st grade or 12th, there’s a data story. Talk about the data. Analyze it. Ask questions and explain what the data means. If there was a year where scores dropped or spiked, ask the students what was taking place. Get to know the person behind the numbers.
After getting to know the students as individuals and analyzing the data with them, set goals. To honor autonomy, the goals should be student driven. If there is a certain benchmark that has to be met, make that clear to the student and then create attainable goals. Explain what the process will look like and ensure the student that you will help them along the way.
The three easy steps above will show the students that you care. With autonomy at the forefront, teachers can then use differentiation to help execute their plans and assist the students in achieving their goals. For example, if a student realizes that he/she has not been meeting the reading benchmark based on the data, when a teacher gives an assignment, she/he can make it very clear that this assignment will help you reach your goal. The teacher can also state, by mastering this skill, you will be one step closer to the goal you set. Autonomy starts with the student. Differentiation begins with the teacher. In order to maximize instruction, we have to transform our thinking. Autonomy is driving the classroom, differentiation is simply the navigation system.
To learn more about the ASCD Emerging Leaders Program visit http://www.ascd.org/programs/Emerging-Leaders/Emerging-Leaders.aspx
To learn more about Ashley Green selected as the first ASCD Emerging Leader based in the Middle East visit https://kdslglobal.wordpress.com/2018/07/07/ascd-selects-the-first-emerging-leader-based-in-the-middle-east/
Ashley Green’s passion for global education has led to her teaching in classrooms and collaborating with teachers from all over the world. Her desire to become a global educator began when she taught students in England, and had the chance to make connections between the International Baccalaureate (IB) Program and Common Core standards. Since then, she’s honed those skills in Dubai; in both Elementary and Middle school settings as a full-time classroom practitioner.
Ashley is a lifelong learner and believes that while she is an educator; she will always be striving to improve her own practice. She’s currently employed as a Global Teacher Leader in the United Arab Emirates. She is also the Director of Operations for Hayward’s Hands, a nonprofit organization that specializes in community service and enrichment programs.
Ashley holds a Master of Education in Curriculum and Instruction and has developed and written curriculums for English, Language Arts and Mathematics for grades 3-8. She obtained a Gifted Endorsement in 2015 and also served as an ambassador for Gifted and Talented Education in Georgia, USA. Ashley was selected in 2018 as the first ASCD Emerging Leader based in the Middle East.