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SU School of Education’s Dotger receives $498,849 grant for School Leader Communication Model project intended to improve school climate and student achievement
SU School of Education’s Dotger receives $498,849 grant for School Leader Communication Model project intended to improve school climate and student achievementJune 11, 2009Jennifer Russojhrusso@syr.edu
Benjamin Dotger, assistant professor of teaching and leadership in Syracuse University’s School of Education, has received a three-year grant totaling $498,849 from the U.S. Department of Education’s Institute for Education Sciences to support development of the School Leader Communication Model (SLCM). The SCLM is a professional development intervention that prepares school leaders to effectively communicate with parents, teachers and students. This project is based on the logic that extended school leader professional development in communication skills will directly impact both school climate and student achievement.
“School leaders engage in many complex verbal interactions every day, yet they receive very little preparation on how to navigate these important conversations,” Dotger says. “The SLCM will be designed to help them practice their professional communications–what they say and how they say it–with parents, teachers and students.”
The SLCM has been developed in cooperation with SUNY Upstate Medical University and makes use of medical education’s “standardized patient” pedagogy, an instructional method where individuals are trained to simulate patients with health concerns. Like their colleagues in medicine, school leadership students will have the opportunity to engage in authentic interactions with these “standardized” patients–parents, teachers and students–within a clinical setting.
“Medical education has designed and employed complex medical simulations for decades, helping future doctors and nurses practice interacting with (standardized) patients before they engage with (real) patients,” Dotger says. “The SLCM simply represents the transfer of this pedagogy to school leader education, helping these future school professionals practice and evaluate their communications with (standardized) parents, teachers and students in an environment that is forgiving and fosters growth.”
The SLCM will guide school leaders to develop their communication skills over time. As they engage in multiple simulated interactions with standardized parents, teachers and students, the content and context of each simulated interaction increases in complexity. With each new simulation, school leaders are challenged to focus on how their verbal communications help guide teachers, collaborate with parents, and support students and student learning.
In 2008, Dotger was awarded Enitiative funding for this project as exemplifying the vision of entrepreneurial Scholarship in Action for technology.
To watch a video of an SLCM interaction, visit http://soe.syr.edu/video/.
For more information about the School Leader Communication Model, contact Dotger at 443-1937 or firstname.lastname@example.org.