Classroom Leadership with Pivot Point International
For this webinar, we had a special guest Daniel Dunworth, a Learning Engagement & Development Manager from Pivot Point International, talk about classroom leadership and how to build a community within your classroom and be a more effective instructor.
You can watch the webinar replay or read the transcript down below!
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Presentation starts: 3:18
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Note: This is a direct transcript of the recorded webinar.
Well, we are just past the hour. I want to thank everybody for joining us. I’m super excited about this webinar as I am sure all of you are as well. Just to let you guys know Oozle Media, we do one to two webinars a month. We’re not always the ones doing them, we have guests that join us. Obviously today we have Daniel Dunworth with Pivot Point International.
Our last webinar we had our friends from Lightheart, Sanders, & Associates, some accountants, super nerdy guys, just kidding, awesome dudes, good friends of mine. They gave us a webinar and we talked about the 90/10 rule and the whole salon revenue and what’s happening with that with restrictions on salons. I feel a sneeze coming on, so if I sneeze I want to see some smiley faces and laughs in the comments. My eyes are watering.
So, last webinar was awesome. As always, we record every webinar, we transcribe every webinar and we put it up on our website for free replays. We’re doing that with this one. We’re going to record this and we’re going to put it on our website. We will email it out to everybody who wasn’t able to make it and just anybody who wants to catch the replay.
It will be on our website, I’ll email that to everybody probably end of week next week. And then webinars are fun. We’re glad that you all joined us. I think webinars are great if we have participation. And we want to not only see where you’re tuning in from, this has been great and fun, but we want to know your questions too.
So, during the webinar, if you have questions, please chat them. Daniel and myself, we’ll do our best to kind of monitor them. If we miss one, that doesn’t mean we don’t love you, it just means that we missed it, Daniel was in the zone. But we want to get to your questions. At the end of the webinar, we’re going to have time for Q&A.
But please do all of that through the chat, chat your questions. If you have a question, that means somebody else probably has the same question. So, it’s going to be helpful for you to ask it. If you have anything to add, please do that in the chat. We want this to be a really awesome environment for collaboration.
And then again, we’ll do our best to get to the questions.
So, we’re going to get into it. Today we have Daniel Dunworth from Pivot Point International. Daniel is a field educator and education coordinator. He is a licensed cosmetologist and cosmetology instructor. He’s had the privilege of sharing Pivot Point education globally, mixing technology with the classroom and seeing others find inspiration in the hair designs he creates fuels his passion as a field educator.
And Daniel has performed here onstage at ABS and has provided education in basically every state in this country. Having said that, we’re all super excited. Daniel, I’m going to turn it over to you, man. Take it away.
Great. Thank you, Chris. I appreciate it. And thank you again to everybody that’s joined us and letting us know where you’re tuning in from all across the country. Really excited to just share this information with you and talk about, of course, as you can see right here, the topic of Classroom Leadership.
And it seemed like there were many of you that were really interested to know and hear about this topic and our registration has filled up quite quickly. Before I even get started and go into this a little bit, I want to ask you all a question. And if you would, I’d love to just see some participation in the chat, I’ve got it open right up in front of me.
How would you describe, or how do you think others might describe your style of classroom leadership?
If you had to summarize it in, let’s say maybe between one and three words, what would you use or do you think others might use to describe your style of leadership? And even if you might be an individual that’s not necessarily in a classroom, a leadership honestly of course can go beyond different barriers.
It might be in the classroom, you might be a learning leader at an academy, or you might even have a sense of leadership beyond that, which honestly what we talk about will go beyond that.
So again, my question to you all, and using that chat, what words do you think would be used to describe your sense of leadership? And I see a couple of these responses coming in so I’m just going to shout them out as I see them in here.
I see fun and engaging, I see energetic, laid-backness, democracy, team effort, lead by example, structured, organized instruction. We’ve got structured coming up quite a bit now here. Friendly and fun. They’re starting to go pretty quick, participatory professionalism, some more structured, strong, collaborative, fun, and organized. Again, we’ve got some more structured coming in there. We’ve got inclusive, fun, informative, but serious. Fun, autocratic, sometimes participative. Team, fun, engaging.
And now they’re starting to really just fly through here. I’m going to try to read as many as I can, calling out some unique words. Forward thinking I see in there, flexibility, motivation. Again, I see structured coming up quite a bit again, engaging being pretty popular in here, so I really like this. Participatory, fun and structured.
Definitely seeing some common things. So, certainly please keep sharing those, I’d love to see what it is. And we’re going to really build off of some of those words that you all have even used to describe your sense of leadership.
As we look at leadership and of course going to really target today about classroom leadership, how do we really ensure that we’re setting the right stage, that we’re really building the right culture and community in our learning environment? Especially today with the classroom being quite a bit different than it has.
You might be in a very physical learning environment in a building, you might be doing some type of a hybrid learning environment, you might be full digital in your learning environment. There certainly are a number of ways which your classroom might be structured. What we’re really going to talk about is absolutely borderless. It doesn’t have to just remain within four walls of a physical building, this could go beyond that.
So with it, what I really want to talk about today are two very popular styles of leadership to start out with. And these certainly can build off of some of the words that many of you have already put out so far today.
When we look at leadership, especially in the classroom, we do have a tendency to see that there’s two, not necessarily very different, but certainly different approaches to leadership that are commonly taken.
And a lot of it comes down to a very different style of approach of the environment that we have been brought up in, what it is that we feel we have a sense of style to lean toward, our own personal preferences and so many other things in between. But with classroom leadership jumping right into it, it’s very common to see two senses of leadership that are used in our learning environment.
And even beyond that, sometimes just our work environments. And these include control and community. And that’s what we’re going to talk a little bit about today, is really getting an idea of what sense of leadership do you have and what sense of leadership can serve you better.
So when we break these down, we’re going to talk a little bit about what is it like to have that strong, controlled, maybe very structured learning environment.
So those are some of the words that you might’ve chosen, you might have a relationship with this style of leadership. When we talk about things like that inclusiveness, flexible, engaging, you may find an even stronger relationship to this community sense of leadership. And again, this may even be the sense of leadership that you even have at home, or again, other environments, but we’re going to keep talking about this relationship to learners.
So let’s just jump in. I’m going to step off camera for just a moment as we introduce this first sense of leadership: control. What is it that really makes this style of leadership what it is, what is it about control that does have more of this structure to it, that does have a little bit more of this, not necessarily rigidness, but very set, strong influence within it?
When we see leaders that go toward this sense of control, you’ll typically find that their learning environments are built upon discipline.
So I would ask you, for everybody that’s here on this meeting, and again, using this chat, have you ever used, in this sense of discipline, to encourage a task to be completed? No matter how you described your sense of leadership, have you ever used that type of “you need to complete this or else” type of leadership?
If you don’t participate in this activity, you may need to clock out and go home. Well, if you don’t study for this test, you may fail this test. There’s almost that sense of that discipline that really guides the way. If you’ve ever used that, and I would be one to absolutely, I’ll get right back on camera here and say, I would put my hand out. If I’m going to ask you to throw yourself under the bus, I’m going to be the first person to step in front of it.
So yes, absolutely, I can tell you that I used to use this sense of “do this or else this may happen.” It’s very much built on discipline. And with that, we see that that discipline really comes down to that sense of that almost power or control aspect to it. So again, we want to be mindful of that. Let’s talk about a few of these other points though.
In this control style of leadership and in this environment, it’s very much focused on the management. And I would almost even say more so, not just management, but even a sense of micromanagement. The leading leaders, these learning leaders that are in there in these environments, they have a tendency to really want to control what an individual, and that’s again, in our case for the classroom, our learners, what they do and do not do in the classroom.
It’s really about making sure that the learners are given a very set parameter, maybe a very set timeframe, and a very specific number of tasks that they must complete during that time. That management really makes them feel like they have again, that authority and that control over the environment, that by doing so they have this belief that nothing will go wrong.
And many times what you’ll even find in that management situation is it’s even discouraged for learners to go beyond those tasks. Once you complete that activity, you again, as a classroom leader may have said, go ahead and just put your head down, go ahead and just sit quietly, just go ahead and wait patiently while everyone else finishes. There’s no additional tasks.
There’s nothing that really drives or moved that forward learner simply because this leader, this educator needs to manage that behavior. And again, in their mentality, if they have too many learners that might be doing different things, that becomes more difficult to manage and is more difficult to control. You also find that many of these types of leaders that lean towards control are very rigid in their processes, they have what we kind of consider to be a fixed mindset.
They don’t always open up to new experiments or new opportunities. They don’t try too many new things when it comes to how they might present or teach the lessons that they go with. Or if there may be another type of leader in an academy or business, that they have pretty much run their ship the same way for a long time.
And this will be, I guess, just another question for all of the educators. And I would ask you yet again, and I’ll put my hand up because I will tell you before I even say the question, I’ve absolutely been there, done that, ask me how I know. Have you ever gone into a classroom situation or a lesson where you’ve looked at what you need to do today and you say, “I’ve already taught this a thousand times, I already know what I need to do” so you don’t spend as much time doing classroom preparation?
You might look and you go, “I’ve done that before, I can teach that with my eyes closed. I really don’t need to reference a book, I know it like the back of my hand.” Have you ever thought or even gone about that method of teaching before? And if you have, not saying it’s a bad thing, but what that might tell you is that you have been a little bit more rigid in your process. You haven’t really mixed things up very often.
And the question I would ask is why don’t you mix things up? Is it because you might have this sense of, you might not have control over it, you can’t control the results, you won’t know whether or not it works or doesn’t? And if you’ve ever avoided something for those types of reasons, again, it might hint that you do operate on a little bit more of a control basis when it comes to leading your environment.
How about these last two items here: routine learning. What does that really mean? Does your routine learning pretty much look the same? Do you run on a relatively similar schedule day in and day out? And for me, I almost immediately think of Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, right? There is that the educator, the teacher being at the front of the classroom, Bueller, Bueller. And it’s almost like you could tell that there definitely is this routine that that educator follows.
And when looking at that, do you have the same schedule day in and day out, regardless of what the topic is, or do you have some flexibility in there? Do you move your classroom around? Do you rearrange seating? Do you again try different types of learning and with that presentation? Or are you someone who kind of day in and day out can always depend on seeing the same type of PowerPoint presentation that’s being facilitated?
For those of us that have had to move to Zoom, we’ve been on Zoom for so long, several months now, and I’ve been there right with you. I’ve probably spent more time on Zoom than almost any other type of digital platform nowadays. And working with it, have you opened yourself up to experimenting with what you could do with Zoom?
So what does your pretty standard approach to education look like? Is it a little bit more routine because you have more control over that?
The other aspect here, that out of all of this, when you think that we describe and talk about control and having that sense of management over it, one unique thing that we find in classrooms, and again, this is all across the world, we see that many leaders that go with a sense of control are challenged by learner behavior more than they actually have control over it.
So that’s something that you’d think that, hey, if you’re leading through control, you’ve got discipline on your side, you’re managing or micromanaging that behavior and those different procedures that are taking place, you’ve been teaching the same way day in and day out, so you pretty much have it down to a rhythm and a sign. You’d think that you’d have really good control over your environment. Quite honestly, the opposite.
I can generally walk into one of those learning environments and see that there really is a sense of loss there, that that leader is naturally looked at as that person who’s really spearheading the charge. So we find that leaning toward this, you may have a little bit more of a learner behavior challenge. And again, I’d ask that question to you, and I think any educator would say, have you ever had behavioral issues in your classroom?
And I don’t know an educator that would ever say no to that. Everybody’s had something arise. And if it just becomes something a little bit more frequent, is that maybe because of the type of leadership that you’ve gone with in your learning environment? So control doesn’t sound to be the best option, right? If being strong and rigid and really having that sense of management to it, what would be a great option for us to consider when it comes to leadership?
And that would be more this sense of building a community. Again, I’m going to step out of the way for this one here. But when looking at going away from control, the other option I love to encourage educators to really try to lean for is community.
And when it comes to community, what is that all about? Learning environments that truly establish a community are built on a belief.
Those learners that come into our environment believe that their educator is there to support them through every bit of challenge and success. The learners believe in what they’re there to achieve and accomplish. They truly understand and actually wholeheartedly support the systems that are placed because they know it’s there for their benefit, not necessarily there to control them, right?
So they truly believe in what’s taking place. In that sense of community, we as those leaders really focus more on the momentum. And momentum is a little bit different than motivation. Motivation is something that might get you started, but momentum is what carries you forward. So while I might be able to build some motivation, offering maybe a small tangible reward, I really need to actually put more energy in creating and sustaining momentum.
Really this force that drives my learners forward, it’s continuous recognition. It’s outward public praise for completion and really taking on a few different challenges. And we’ll talk about these in a moment. But building momentum is something that takes time. Motivation, for example, would be asking someone to do a chore and say, “Well, I’ll pay you for this chore.” Or maybe a student that says, “Hey, would you mind cleaning up that shampoo bowl? I’ll give you a reward for it.”
There is that quick instant motivation to it. But when it comes to momentum, it’s built over time and it’s built over this constant reinforcement of what’s really being completed and accomplished. So this community, it’s not always something that’s built immediately, it does take a bit of time. But once you build momentum, it’s almost impossible to stop, especially from that leadership style.
When you’ve got the momentum of your learners going with you, you can really take on a lot in your environment. So let’s take a look at this next aspect right here. A leader who focuses on community really stays flexible in their processes because they know that day in and day out their community is going to be a bit different.
Everybody on this call right now, let me ask you the question, have you ever felt like from one day to another, you’ve got the same students, but from one day to another, they almost feel like an entirely different group?
Have you ever experienced that before? Give me a yes in chat if you ever had. I’m seeing those yeses come through, yes. With all the yeses coming through, we’ve got some occasional, some sometimes, you’ve experienced that, right? It doesn’t happen every day, but we do.
We have these learners that day in and day out come to us sometimes just a little bit different than they were before. And this is what’s so great about going with a sense of community.
In a sense of community, we know and we believe in each other, right? That’s one of the first points here. It’s built on belief. And I know that day in and day out, I have to remain flexible with my learner so I can get the most out of them. And even there might be a single day where you feel the learners I started with in the morning are entirely different than the learners I have in the afternoon, right?
If they didn’t have their coffee yet, they’re not awake yet, cool. Sometimes they can have a couple of grumpy guts in the morning, but after lunch, after getting going, after that kind of second wave hits them, I can have the perkiest, most excited group around.
So we know that learners, they themselves are flexible in their behaviors, in their mental approach and ideas and thoughts that they have, to the energy that they can have and how just generally good or negative they may feel throughout the day.
A leader who builds the sense of community understands that. They understand the needs of their group and their individuals. And they can remain flexible to ensure that they’re doing what they can to make the most and get the most out of every situation.
This is what we also really think about as a growth mindset. A growth mindset is someone who’s always looking to take on new challenges, someone who’s always looking to just kind of change a little bit of what they do, and yet again, grow and improve.
So when we look at that, there are many educators out there that I’ve had the pleasure of meeting that are always seeking out new activities, new ideas. They’re always looking for ways to improve, ways to change and really try new things. They’re not afraid of failure. It’s okay if it doesn’t work, where the person that was maybe in the control environment, if it doesn’t work, then that looks like they don’t know what they’re doing.
So again, they’re going to stay away from it. But in control, right? They’re never really going to open up for it. In community, they’re going to say, “Hey, let’s try this. If it doesn’t work, I’ve got another plan. I’ve got another option, but I really want to try something new out.”
And with this sense of community they build, you’ll see that their learners, even if an activity doesn’t go well, they’re not upset about it, they’re not disappointed.
They’ll look at and be like, “Hey, this seemed like a great idea. We’re totally… we’ll do this again if you can work out the kinks to it.” They’re not disappointed. They don’t get disgruntled. They don’t get upset because they’ve now wasted time in class. That’s not what someone with a sense of community would really build.
And I thought if I did already see somebody here earlier, and then this is the total perfect growth mindset someone posted and it already has flown by in the chat, but they said, please share all the Zoom tips, right? I want to know more. That’s the perfect growth mentality. There’s so much you can do.
What else can we expect and look at it from this sense of community? Again, I’m going to just step out for a moment. But we know that as a leader here in a community style sense of leadership, they can also really engage learner thinking. They have the ability to apply more critical thinking and to also challenge learner thinking. And what do I really mean by that?
Critical thinking is taking an opportunity to get your learners to think about their thinking.
You’re not going to just give them an answer that they need to know. You’re going to ask them, what do you think you need to know? What stands out as important to you? Do you believe this is something that will maybe appear a little bit later on in your journey? Not just focusing on, “Well, this is on the test and that’s going to be on the test and you need to know this for state board.”
I’m going to be very honest. Someone that might go through a sense of control would focus on that type of information. You need to know this because it’s on the test. I’m going to control that you will be successful. I’m going to control that you know what’s on the test because I can control the test question, right? You see how that kind of alignment takes place?
In community, I’m going to really look at my individuals and say, what do you think? What do you think is important? Do you believe that that’ll be a great tip to remember in the future? How do you think that you’ll use that on your own personal career path?
And that is what community is all about, truly having a sense of what can drive and fuel that forward thinking, that engagement with your learners. Community brings it all together.
It’s not just a matter of spelling out the answers and the information. So, how can we go about it?
I think I’ve probably tried to make this pretty evident that community definitely has more benefits than the sense of control leadership does. So the next question you might be thinking is, “Daniel, how do I build a sense of community? How do I go about that style of community leadership in my learning environment?”
And I want to share a few different tips and ideas with you, really try to break it down to a few things that you can consider and keep in mind day in and day out. So I like to start out with these two tips here when it comes to classroom leadership.
First and foremost, leadership, and this sense of community leadership, is built and thrives off of authentic and caring relationships with the individuals in that community, whether this be even you yourself and other peers, but of course speaking very directly to the classroom, between the educators and the learners.
We need to have authentic, caring relationships. I have to, as the educational leader, I have to be passionate about my learner success. And from one educator to another, I can’t remember if it was shared, I know that it was shared that I myself am a cosmetology instructor, and I’ve been doing this now for going on almost 18 years as a cosmetology instructor.
And I have always, truly believed this and I hope that you do too, that my level of success as an educator is more dependent and truly is based off of the level of success of my learners. That is my gauge.
If I’m doing a halfway decent job, right, if I’m doing the best I really can, then I know my success is really seeing my learners become more successful, to accomplish things that I never have and maybe never will. And that’s how I know that I’m really making sure that they’re getting the tools that are necessary to them. By building these authentic and caring relationships, I can make sure that I’m connecting the information with my learners in the most personal way that resonates.
All right. So let’s talk about tip number two. I’m going to just get back out of the way for this one here. It is essential that we also maintain a positive outlook about our learners. And I want to share a little something with you. I’m just going to be very honest with you, just completely transparent.
As mentioned, I have been in classrooms all across the globe and in no matter what country it was when I’ve gone into these classrooms, there have been moments that I’ve experienced that honestly just pretty universal, North, East, West, or South, right?
There have been moments where I’ve stepped, kind of just been lingering, hanging out, maybe sometimes just in a back office or wherever it may be, kind of that “behind closed doors” and sometimes I’ve heard educators not always have a true positive outlook about their learners.
I have heard educators say things like, “They probably don’t have a shot at passing their state board,” right? Or they might say, “I don’t know, once they get into a salon, I don’t think that they’re really going to have what it takes.”
And there’s all different variations and versions of that comment, you may have heard it yourself, may have even been a part of those conversations yourself. And looking at it, that immediately will not set us up for success, especially in building a sense of community.
We have to be the ones that even on the darkest days for our learners, when they’re struggling believing in themselves, we have to be the ones that continue to believe in them.
That is how we’re going to build that strong community and be able to help lead my learners through just about anything else.
When they see that we believe in them even in their most struggling and challenging time, you better believe that they are going to just absolutely, what’s it like, ride or die with us on the best days. So looking at it, we’ve got to stay positive. We are the ones that have to, no matter what might get top, no matter the challenges you may have, we’ve got to be there with a positive mindset.
So, what are some things that even diving a little bit deeper into this, and I see Trina, thank you very much for that saying. Absolutely, right? Now, Cassie here said a little earlier, “Preach,” right? I truly believe in all my experience in the classroom that I’ve seen, these are the types of classroom leaders that have truly set themselves apart from others. And I’ll share one example.
You may have seen this previously. This is a video that went a little viral before. It was an educator. I think it might’ve been an English teacher or something. And I believe it was more like a middle school or maybe a high school, I forget the grade level, but it went viral a few years ago. He had a secret handshake for every student that entered his classroom. Has anyone ever seen that viral video before?
Each student, when they walked into the door, he had some type of secret handshake as they came in and then they went in the door. And it was unique and different for everybody, right? And guys were saying, yes, you loved it. It was an amazing… it was. It was truly a remarkable video, amazing memory on that educator’s behalf, keeping it. It’s fantastic.
If you’ve never seen it, definitely look it up, “Educator that has a secret handshake for the students”. I have no doubt that you’d probably be able to find it.
But here’s what I want you to think about. Of course, with current times, you may not be able to do a full handshake with everybody. I absolutely understand that. You may not even be in the physical building with them. But here is… And I love this right here, trying to see the name, Brianne here, make the experience personable.
That is exactly what is fantastic, is when you look at these authentic caring relationships, look for those opportunities that really help you ground that experience, ground this learning moments for your learners. We can no longer look at our classroom just as a class.
Well, this class did good and this class didn’t do well. My class struggled with this, my class succeeded with this. We really have to look at it more saying the individuals.
What are the individuals that truly are succeeding? And what are the ones that still have opportunities? What success have we had because those students, they want to absolutely hear about those success moments and the students that maybe they’re not at the same level as everyone else, they need to ensure we’re getting the right authentic support for them too.
So what are some ways that we can go about building this? And what we like to do here at Pivot Point is we’ve got this great little kind of acronym here for you to just keep in mind. I’m going to share with you here in just a moment. We call it the VCR. VCR is really a strategy in three sets here, strategies that we can use to help create that right sense of leadership and culture in our classroom.
And even before I dive into those, this is something that I would always encourage every educator to keep this mentality of right here. Day in and day out, you have to model what it means to be a learner. We have to be the ones that are willing to take that on and really take that type of approach to it. That if I do this every day, I might be at the front of the classroom, I might be the one leading the session, but I am always open to learning something new day in and day out.
And I can tell you that there have been absolute moments where I have learned more from a day with my learners than I felt that I might’ve ever even taught them, right? Working with it, we have to really model that sense of, at Pivot Point we always reference it and call it a lifelong learning. We have to remain open.
And I’ll just use an analogy here with it. We’ve probably heard some people, no matter what industry they’re in, they’ll say things like, “Oh trust me, I know what I’ve been doing. I’ve been doing it for X amount of years.” Yeah, I might’ve been doing it for X amount of years, but I’ve got so much more that I can still learn. I might have that experience to build off of, but there’s so many things day in and day out, things are different, things are changing.
So really look at that and how can we stay open and realize there’s always moments to learn. And again, these strategies here, this VCR, which stands for valuable, capable, and responsible is a really big part of what we can use to help create the culture.
How do we really show that we see our learners as valuable? How can we support them by ensuring that they are perceived and given this responsibility and in this sense of capability and responsibility?
How do we ensure that we let them have that responsibility? We’re not always trying to own the moment for them or control the moment. So with that, keeping in mind this VCR, not the ones of the days of past, where you had to be kind, rewind, but now think about when you want to build your community leadership and you need to build that culture that goes with it, just think of the VCR and what each of these mean.
Let’s jump in and talk a little bit about value and how do you support your learners as seeing them as valuable. So with this, I’m going to just step out of the way for a moment. I see a long comment that’s in the chat. I’m going to take a second just to read this from Cassie. You guys have an opportunity to see a little bit about “valuable” here.
Well, that’s great, Cassie, you said you’ve been doing distance learning for a bit and at the end of the first week, you took the opportunity and scheduled some individual meetings with those learners. And that’s fantastic. While you supported them as a class, you took the opportunities to engage and connect with them individually. And I think that is a really huge move, especially nowadays when we’re missing that face-to-face interaction.
So many people, they’re absolutely dying for face-to-face interaction, but we just can’t safely do it yet. You’re finding ways to still create those unique engagement moments. So, very awesome to see there, Cassie.
Let’s go ahead and come back V here, valuable. What are some things that you can do to help support this sense of value in your environments?
Number one, treat learners as individuals. As I mentioned before, take opportunities to have these very kind of personal moments with your learners, take interest in what it is that they really want to accomplish. And what I’d asked you here is you’ve been in those moments, I know that you have, where you’re with someone and you kind of default to the very common talking point, “How is the weather?”
Or, if you end up in the room with a couple of sports fans that you ask, “Did you see the game?” There’s certain things that we have a tendency to come back to, weather is one of the most, “It’s been feeling pretty nice outside,” right? Weather is like that kind of standard default conversation piece.
When you have these moments with learners though, what can you really strike up with them in conversation that shows: A, that you absolutely are authentic and care about their goals, their accomplishments, what they want to achieve, and B, find ways to support them?
We have to really get to know them as the individuals, as part of a whole group, everybody that comes to my classes, as a cosmetology instructor, I know that they want to get their license. That is the obvious piece. That’s why they’re there.
But what did they plan on doing with this career choice, with this new option of a license once they have it, where do they plan on going from there? So, we really need to find out what is it that we can do to support them?
And, by having these meaningful conversations, things where we can really talk to them about their interests and what it is that they want to know, and they find out that we truly care about the goals they want, we start to get so much more out of them.
They see that I see them as valuable, and they also see the value that they can add to the class. And I’m going to give you an example of this one here, a moment that really kind of made this idea strike a nerve with me, this idea of taking a little bit more personal interest. I was teaching a class many years ago. This happened it has to be close to maybe 12 years ago, if not even a little longer.
So really with this, I was teaching a class and it was part of the business side of cosmetology. And I was talking about things like pre-booking, asking for referrals, selling retail, and how all of that can really help support your growth as a professional. And I was really just kind of driving it home with my class. I can remember this day so clearly I feel like I’m standing in that classroom again.
And I was talking to them all about the importance of that and how those can be key moments to their success. And I absolutely will never forget the conversation I had after that lesson with a student. A student actually in the middle of class kind of threw me off guard. They actually raised their hand and said none of this is really important to me. And I almost took offense to it.
And those early days education I kind of took offense to a few things. But I was like, “What do you mean? This is something that absolutely will benefit you. Your business will do better if you can pre-book, get referrals, sell retail, all these benefits.” And I kept driving this point home. And she just kind of let it go and stand back and let it happen.
And after class, she came back up to me and she said, “Daniel, I just really wanted to share with you I didn’t mean to say what you were teaching was pointless. So what I really want to let you know is that this is not something that’s going to support me really as directly as I think it might help everyone else.” And I said, “Well, why do you find that to be so true? What is it that you can’t benefit from this?”
I said, “This is some pretty standard things that work in the industry.” She said, “Well, I actually plan on working on the deceased. I want to do hair and makeup at funeral homes for anyone that’s lost a loved one. And so for me, selling retail to my guests, pre-booking my guests, asking my guests for referrals really doesn’t work the same way as in a salon or anything like that.”
She said, “The people I’m doing hair on probably aren’t going to buy the shampoo and conditioner I would have recommended or the hairspray. And I don’t necessarily want to ask the family, hey, next time someone passes away, go ahead and give me a call. I’m the first person you want to think of. And there’s no way I’m going to… if someone that’s on my table actually wants to book an appointment six weeks from now, I think I’m doing something wrong.” Right?
So, she made light of it and we had a little bit of fun with it, but it really taught me that moment right there that she was right.
What I didn’t understand that day was the individual interest that that student may have with that content and how it can support them. I looked at it as a class. Everybody can value from there. I needed to make sure I understood more of those interests.
So, really take moments, any moment you can find, a few minutes before class to have a conversation with the other students that are there early. Maybe while everyone’s breaking down and cleaning up at the end of the day, you may have a student that is there still cleaning up their supplies while you’re cleaning yours.
Can you have a little conversation with them about what’s taking place, or even better, set intentional time to just engage with your learners and really find out what is it that they’re going to get the most value from and what value can they add to the conversation?
Because that student, that student who said, this is my plan of who I want to work with, also even opened up the eyes for the rest of the class that there are other career options available, some that you might not naturally think of.
So, there was some really great value in the conversation I had that day and it’s been a lesson that’s really stuck with me. And I see a few comments come in up here in the chat. I love this one here. Again, I think that was Chris right there, “Nobody cares about what until they know that you care.” I love that. I think that’s an amazing statement and it really is so true.
And as a leader, it’s, I mean, just exponentially that much of a stronger effect for you. I see a few more here. Carlene, my students love that little one-on-one. “I try to do it every week to give time to talk and also to encourage them to do what they feel important for them, but they need that little push.” I agree with you, I learn a great deal from them as well. Awesome, awesome to see.
Samantha says, “Those are some of your favorite conversations that take place.” And Cassie, “Universe is literally talking to me and telling me I am on the right path.” “I talked to my class last night about a project we are doing on Saturday, what their professional goals are.” That is definitely a sense of alignment. I love it.
So again, look for the opportunity to get that value and give that value back to your learners. Your lessons don’t mean much if they’re not really adding value to those learners.
So with that, let’s talk about this other side. What is another thing that you can do for building this community? And that’s going to take us into the C of VCR. So V for Value and C for Capable.
Let me give you a moment to just kind of see what we’ve got here. We’re about to cover the ideas behind effort, improvement, and performance. If you want to build a community, you have to let your learners know that you see them as capable and give them these tasks and the support that shows that they are capable.
Some learners believe it and are waiting for the right moment, some learners don’t believe it and try to avoid the moment, but we’ve got to help support our learners as seeing them as capable.
And that starts out with opportunities to recognize effort. Recognize effort and praise the progress, right? Praise their process, praise the work that they put into it, praise where they’re going, not just when they get there.
I’m going to give you just a little story about effort and how powerful it can be. There was a research done many years ago with a class. And this class was given an assessment at the beginning of the year.
And at the beginning of the year, based on how they did on that assessment, they divided them into two groups, basically the ones that did really well and the ones that didn’t. Throughout the rest of the year, they were each given a different sense of recognition through the year. Those that performed really well were always praised for the results.
It was always a matter of, “Great job getting 100%, you did excellent work maintaining that 100%.” It was all about the results, did you get perfection? Right?
And the other learners that didn’t do so well at the very first assessment for the rest of the year, they were actually praised for their effort, “Great job, I know that you tried really hard, I know that you put all you had into it, look at the progress that you’re making, you’re getting better every day.” And that’s what they were given that kind of recognition for.
At the end of the year, both groups were given an assessment, but this time they had choice. They were given a choice to take an assessment that had questions that they had covered all year long in a format that they were very familiar with, or they were given the option to take on an assessment that was going to present them with some new and different challenges, right? It’s going to make them think a little bit harder.
Do you have a guess of which group chose which type of assessment? Not trying to give it away too fast here. But the group that was always praised for the results, they went and played it safe. They took the assessment that they would have known the questions and information on. And the student that was praised for their effort that they had been putting in all year long, they took on the challenge.
More of them went for the, “I’m going to try something new and different and see if I can take it on.” Because mentally they were prepared for the, “I’m not getting it perfect, but I’m getting better at what I’m doing.” And that is the power behind effort.
Effort will motivate and give us that momentum to keep pushing forward and to have the resilience to overcome the different challenges.
So, when given the chance, focus and give some praise to those with efforts. They might not be your 100% academic learners, they might not be your 100% attendance students, but if they’re giving it their all and they’re trying hard, they definitely deserve recognition.
So really think about that, how you can use that effort as such a more powerful, motivating, and momentum building device rather than just 100%, 100% focus. So think about that.
Let’s talk about a couple of the other aspects here when it comes to capable.
Look for opportunities for improvement and see your learners as capable of improving, it’s a big piece to it.
To be again honest with you, sometimes I’ve seen educators avoid giving feedback of how someone can improve because they’re more afraid of how they might take it. Or the educator themselves believe that the learner might not be able to accomplish what it is that they want to give them feedback on.
They’ll say, “Oh, that learner there, they’ve been struggling with this. If I tell them that they can really improve here a little bit, they might really not go for it. That actually might kind of push them away a little bit.” If your learners believe that they’re capable and you support them in that way, through the recognition of effort, you should have no challenges giving them that feedback of where they can make progress.
And take a look at an opportunity for their performance, point out skills that they are mastering and how it will benefit them in the real world. And I would even say better yet, ask them questions about that.
Your learners will know what their goals are, ask them. And I ask my learners all the time when they share and they learn something new, I ask them, how are you going to use that? What are you going to do with this new found power and information that you have? What can you do with it? Where will you take this and how will you use it in the future?
I have an activity that I do pretty much every day in my classroom with my learners, and it’s just journaling. At the end of every day I always like to save around five to 15 minutes to journal. And I ask my learners the same two questions every time.
And the first question is, what’s one thing you’ve learned today? Say we’ve spent however much time together, four hours, six hours, eight hours, tell me one thing you’ve learned today. And after that, the second part is, tell me how you’re going to use this in the future. Where do you think this fits in your long-term career plan? That’s what I ask them.
And you can word it any way you want it, I just gave you a couple of ways in which I could ask the same question. But really take that and get them to look at those opportunities of what you’re learning, where will you use it? Because there’s something really interesting about when a learner tells themselves what’s important, it’s called PDAWTOD.
And what PDAWTOD, P-D-A-W-T-O-D stands for is “people don’t argue with their own data,” PDAWTOD, “people don’t argue with their own data.” What that means is when I tell myself that this is important, I’m not going to argue the fact that this is important, it’s going to stick with me and really stay with me more long-term.
So, look for those opportunities to help your learners identify ways that they can improve their performance and that you yourself are giving them the right feedback.
Sorry, I misclicked on my background there. I’m trying to scroll here a little. So let’s move into this third strategy here with building that right culture for community leadership, and this is seeing your learners and supporting them as responsible community members. So with this, again, just looking at these three aspects here.
First, we’re going to go with this goal of setting clear expectations, helping our learners and our community members identify how they contribute to our community, and supporting my community members through this direction of self-correcting behavior. I’m going to give you a moment just to take a look at this and get out of the way of the text myself.
I see a comment here from April, “Great point asking if you have any questions is too vague and most likely will not get much conversation going,” right? Absolutely. Give them a little bit of that direction too.
So, coming here and with “Responsible,” talking about each one of these, what does it mean to set clear expectations? As the leader, it really is up to you to establish the behavior expectations, right?
Even though you’re a leader leading through community, that community needs the model. What’s the expectation? What are the guidelines? And this was one thing I’ll give you a tip that I always like to do.
Day one that I work with a brand new client, and it doesn’t matter if it’s day one of school or day 101, and they’re just changing phases and coming to my classroom for the first time.
The day that I have a brand new group of learners in my community, the first thing I do is set expectations.
We take time and we divide into groups depending on the size of my class, or sometimes we’ll just do it all together and we’ll talk about what we expect from each other while we are together in our community.
A school handbook and catalog gives me the rules I need to follow, I know that. I know I need to come prepared to class, I know that I need to clock in and out, I know I need to come back on time from break, but what about our behavior?
How do we create this sense of respect and responsibility in our learning environment? So with this, what expectations do we have? And I love to do this, in a physical classroom, I’ll just hand out flip chart papers and I’ll actually write at the very top of it, just a statement that says, “in this class, we…” and I ask learners to outline what types of behaviors do we expect from each other?
If we are on a Zoom class, I’ll divide them up into groups, those breakout groups, and I’ll ask them to come up with a list together. And when we join back together, then we’ll share them as a whole group. But we, the actual members of my community, my learners for that day, that week, the next 500 hours, whatever it might be, however long I’ll have them for, we set our own behavior expectations.
I let them know what I expect of them, they get to say what they expect of each other and what they expect from me. And it creates this really great grounded relationship of how we all serve a part in creating the strongest community we can.
When it comes to contribute, look for ways that your individuals in your community can all play a role, give them a responsibility.
This is something that I’ve actually learned from my own children in elementary school. Every day that they were in class, they all had a certain role. And that role would last for a week or a month, however often that educator would change it. And what they did is they all had a responsibility, not just like your daily sanitation type of duty that you might have according to the state laws and rules, but what is a responsibility that you can actually do to help other individuals out?
Maybe someone’s just really good at time management, so they’re there to help each other with that. When it comes to ongoing classroom responsibility, maybe if you’re in a workshop and you see someone struggling, anyone that notices it, their responsibility is to just try to help out.
Maybe it might be somebody that just they’re again, really good at organization, so their responsibility is to help give tips and ideas of how to most appropriately pack their bag.
You can even use seniors to support your newer learners that enter the school and say, “Hey, here’s some great tips for packing your bag or packing your locker,” things like that. Do you have a learner who is amazing at technology and can even share some tips and tricks for making the most of devices?
Think of these different types of moments where learners can support, and it’s not just cleaning up their stations or helping to clean an area around them.
Also acknowledge what we like to call the ABCD. What does ABCD stand for? Means “above and beyond the call of duty.” When you see a learner, someone in your community going above and beyond the call of duty, praise them publicly, give them acknowledgement, stop what you’re doing and make sure you say thank you.
Maybe if you have a morning huddle in school every day, you’re on Zoom, you give shout outs to the people that you’ve spotted or anyone else spotted going above and beyond the call of duty.
I’ve seen educators do things like high-fives where other students can kind of commend other learners for maybe helping them out or being there when they needed it. But it was something that when I was a director of a school, we always loved doing these shout outs at the very… we had a morning huddle every day in school, and we’d give shout outs to people that we saw doing something great the day before.
However, we didn’t wait until the morning. We would say something in the moment, but then we would also still give them public recognition the next morning. So it was kind of a double whammy.
Praise the good stuff when it happens because more people will follow that rather than always saying, “Oh, well, everyone, we’re going to talk dress code today because three people violated dress code yesterday.” No one wants to follow that.
They want to follow up, let’s say, “Listen, I really want to give a shout out to Chris. Chris came dressed yesterday. I let him know this yesterday, but I want to give him a shout out. He just came dressed impeccably, super professional. Everything was really clean and spot on point with dress code. I want to go and give Chris a shout out today. I think he’s got some great tips for anyone that might be looking to find the right dress code item.” That’s some great ways in which learners contribute to the culture.
And the very last thing, self-correcting. Hold learners accountable for their behavior, and I’m going to give you one tip on this. When it comes to learner behavior, don’t ask why, ask how.
When you ask why, you’re looking for excuses. When you ask how, you’re looking for solutions. If a student has an outburst in class, don’t ask, why did you do that? Ask, how can we avoid doing that in the future? How can we control our tempers? How can we make sure we don’t throw our mannequins across the room? How can we set better examples for some of the newer learners in our community?
Don’t ask why, ask how. And that will help learners self-correct their behavior challenges that inevitably you may experience. So that’s just one other tip I’d love to give there. I do see this here, Carla, I love this. “I do peer training and have class officers. It’s really cool. Like a motivator, a chaplain, a recorder, a liaison.” Love it. That’s awesome. They actually have these roles and titles for it, it’s pretty cool.
And Samantha, “We do morning shout outs at attendance.” Absolutely fantastic. And I think that type of culture is really great when you build it. I have no doubt that you probably know from experience that kind of momentum, that that behavior has, that it kind of carries itself forward that once you get it going, it doesn’t take a lot of effort or work on your part as the leader. The community is all there to support it.
So hopefully this idea behind the VCR, just going to again share this again, VCR, valuable, capable, responsible, that this can kind of help you out with establishing your community, how to create the culture that builds that type of momentum and give you that opportunity to just really support your learning environment differently.
And that it’s not really control, while it’s easy to go there because you can use things like rules and policies and punishment and they are easier, right? But what’s easy is not always worth it.
Building a community that once it’s established and once you have it, it truly has an entirely different life that is so rewarding to be right beside.
So with that, that has been some of the information I’ve wanted to share with you all on this really idea of classroom leadership and give you a sense, maybe a few ideas of looking at your own style.
Something that I do constantly is always looking at my own sense. I’d love to know if there is any types of questions or comments that you may have. Please feel free to use the chat. I’m going to keep an eye on it here.
Chris, if you’ve also noticed any questions I might’ve missed, please toss them out there. I’m seeing some people here. “Love the presentation, wish all teachers had taken it.” I love it.
Daniel, this has been fantastic. As you’ve been presenting, I’ve been thinking about what I feel like is probably my most important classroom is my home and with my kids. I’ve got five kids and I’ve just been listening and been like, “Oh, that’s so good. I’m going to do this with my 11-year-old. He needs that.” And it’s been fantastic.
I think this information can be applied in so many different ways, leadership and wherever we’re at in any capacity we’re in. So this has been such good stuff. And before everybody starts jumping off, this sometimes can be the best part of the whole presentation, where we get to really see the questions come in. So it looks like they’re coming in for you, Daniel.
I see them. I’m going to try to catch some. I saw one question, it’s already bumped up a bit, but what would you do in a situation where a state has more strict guidelines? There definitely are ways to ensure that your guidelines, your, let’s say laws and rules are followed without having to treat them like punishment types of rules.
It’s easy to be able to set guidelines around things that do and do not need to be done, but to be able to support it from a more positive sense of direction, always looking for, hey, if maybe a state says there’s, let’s just say you have to do something, right?
Rather than looking at what needs to be done and saying, “Well, we have to do it because the state says so.” That’s a very passive way of saying, “I don’t agree with it, but you kind of have to do it anyway. And if you don’t do it, now I have to give you this punishment.”
But looking and saying, “Hey, this is something that we really… we are going to strive on accomplishing it because the state policy, it absolutely is there to support us. It’s there to protect us. It’s something that you’ll be working beside your entire career. Let’s get a little creative and think about how is it that this can be easier for you to follow.”
You have to be the one as the leader to look at those moments and find the positivity in it and find the way that it’s really going to help support it. Don’t look at it as something that, I know that rule, it’s kind of dumb, it’s kind of bogus. Because no matter what you try to do then, everyone that hears you say that in your community is going to struggle with it.
Even if they did miss at the beginning, the moment they hear that, they’re going to struggle with it a bit. So look at those moments and just say, how can I spin this? What’s the spin that I’ll put on there?
Taking a look back through here. I saw someone else with a question, it’s breezed past, but I saw the idea like what if you do with learners that might be a little bit more emotional, how do you support that?
And that absolutely is true. We’re in an industry that absolutely is very… I’d say, definitely can have some boundaries blurred between this personal professional relationship. It’s up to you to really maintain that standard that when you’re looking at it, and I actually found a question here, struggling keeping it positive with some who tend to have outbursts, negative in class.
Again, when it comes to that, I’m going to go right back to my tip of saying, ask how, not why. That really helped me change the behavior. Because if you had a bad day, you’re emotional about it, you’re upset and I’m asking you why, that’s quite honestly going to just kind of open up those flood gates of the emotion to pour out.
While I want to support you and I want you to be happy, we really have to keep the focus on what we’re here to accomplish. So if I can ask, “How can we make sure we don’t experience that again?” it’s going to focus more on the solution and not dig deeper into the issues that are there.
It is difficult to sometimes balance that fine line, to be passionate and support our learners, but not to blur the lines where we know about every deep personal issue that’s going on that suddenly give them a little more leeway in class compared to others. So building the community, if you have the community, the learners will also help support each other.
You’ll see that they immediately see the vibe that someone might be struggling a little bit more that day and they rally behind each other. They’re going to support and cheer each other on and tell them how capable they are. They might even try to help own some of the responsibility just to help that learner out that day. So it really is, it’s… building that it takes time to sometimes get the line right.
And again, ask me how I know. I’ve been an educator who, very honest with you, when I first started teaching, I was very much a control-style educator. I started out teaching at the age of 18 and the very first group that I ever had was a group of 16 and 17-year-old high school students.
So let me tell you, control was my default of how I separated me from them, it wasn’t a good experience. And it took time for me to really build a community, but after I did, that sense of again, that rallying together really helped solve so many of some of the other challenges we are faced with.
Daniel, there was a couple of times people asked about some Zoom tips. It looks like you probably have a green screen behind you. I know that some Zoom hacks could be to change your background image to maybe your slides or something like that to give you effects of a green screen. What are some other tips that these instructors can use?
Well, for one, I would say one of my favorite things is exactly this moment right here, what we’ve kind of called this weatherman style of presentation. And Chris, you’re absolutely right. All I have behind me, if I actually turned my slides off is just a green curtain, a green screen. You could do this with any solid wall, as long as you’re a different color than it.
And what I did is I just saved my PowerPoint presentation as a set of images. If you just go to the file, save option or export it maybe, you could save all of your slides as images. Well, some of the other ones that I would really encourage to explore and just become familiar with when it comes down to Zoom is you may have a little bit of fun with things like filters that you can use doing things. There’s so many…
One tip that I love to make Zoom a little bit more engaging is actually create the game that’s… I always forget the name of that, it’s on the tip of my tongue, like the celebrity tiles, where there are Hollywood Squares or something like that is what it was called, where you could have students and create these great review games using just the color of the slides or the color of the virtual background that students put on them.
Getting the opportunity to also really maximize things like the chat features, the breakout room and other ones that I really love, which we’ve used a little bit maybe throughout the day in your own Zoom live are things like reaction, thumbs up, thumbs down.
There’s so many different resources. I think the best thing that you can really do is so many people and myself included when this pandemic hit, we all kind of just threw ourselves on to Zoom because it was so accessible.
We didn’t have the time to really always dig deep and look at all of these different features that are there. So I would encourage people to do that. And one of the biggest tips I have when it comes to Zoom is don’t just use the app or the downloaded, maybe you’ve got a plugin on your computer you always open it up for, go check out your profile and the different settings you have on Zoom’s website.
Zoom’s website, if you go to your settings in your account on their website, there’s so many resources there that you could find and activate that you don’t see just in your typical app that gives you a lot of different features. So those would be just some kind of groundwork things that I would even encourage people to check out when it comes to Zoom.
That’s fantastic. Somebody had a comment in here and this is their second time that they have been inspired by this presentation that you’ve given. I think a lot of people here have felt very inspired and there’s a lot to digest.
And I think if anything, if we could just take one thing that really stood out to us and apply that today, then it’s been a success. Daniel, how can we get a hold of you? If anybody wants to get a hold of you, how can we do that?
No, if anyone wanted to get a hold of me I’m actually going to go ahead and put up my contact information. I just got to find it down here in the bottom of my screen. Here you go. This is my contact information.
So I’ve got my email here and I also have my direct cell phone number. So if you want to get a hold of me, anyone at any time, if you’d love to just carry on some conversation or reach out to talk about this info some more, feel free to email me, feel free to call or text me.
Learning Engagement & Development Manager
Phone Number: 847-440-6994
And honestly, and this just goes out to everybody, regardless, if you use any type of education, for those of you who might be Pivot Point, you might use someone else’s education, you might teach in other programs, you might know teachers somewhere else, I just love education in general and I love networking, connecting with educators.
So, it doesn’t matter what programs or anything that you teach or involved with, if you have a passion for education and you just want to have someone to talk to and keep these ideas going forward, do not hesitate to ever reach out to me. And you can find me again, my name right up there, you can find me across all different social media platforms.
So if you wanted to network with me there, you’re welcome to do so too. LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, anything of the sort.
Awesome. Daniel, thank you again. So grateful for you and the knowledge that you’ve shared with everybody. I think just from the comments and the people that have attended, I think we’ve all been blessed by the knowledge that you’ve shared. Big thank you and hopefully we’ll get to do it again sometime in the future.
My pleasure. It’s been great. And I thank you, everyone that’s interacted in the chat and for all of you that have just been pouring out your thank you’s and everything you’ve walked away from it. I know that we may not have time to see all the answers, but I would ask you the same question I ask everybody else at the end of the class: what’s the one thing that you’re going to walk away with and what are you going to do with it going forward?
So again, thank you everybody. I truly appreciate it. Chris, so much thank you for arranging this, organizing it and having us be a part of it. It’s been phenomenal.
It has. Thank you.