A conversation with Winsome Waite
This sort of dedication to the science of learning is typical of Waite. She is currently the Vice President of Practice at the Alliance for Excellent Education, an organization dedicated to ensuring that high school age students graduate and are ready for post-secondary education and life.
Previously, Dr. Waite led various federally funded tasks on centers such as Regional Education Labs and National Content Centers. She has managed state and district funded projects in school improvement, state systemic plan development, educator evaluation and leadership development. Waite has also served in many instructional leadership roles at the district level in K-12 education, mainly in the Maryland Public School System.
Social and emotional learning. During our meeting, Waite and I discussed the importance of social and emotional learning. She argues that we shouldn’t try to separate social, emotional and academic development – that they’re all realms of life that are interconnected. As she puts it, “The more connected students are emotionally – to a topic – to a teacher – to a content area – the more invested they are going to be to that topic, and the more they’re going to learn.”
Winsome also explained the notion of helping students develop a sense of agency. She explained that agency is the feeling that we can act on our own behalf, that we have a sense of what might work for us, and we have supports or guardrails, as she calls them.
“As much as students want agency, especially in the adolescent period, we also know that they’re actually still looking to adults for guidance and support. They might say they don’t but the research says they actually do.”
“Assessing for learning is what I call it, not assessing learning,” she says.
“For me, self-talk is really grounding oneself in the reality of who he or she is and aspires to be,” she says
Image source: Winsome Waite – Google+