Beth has worked to facilitate adult learning in schools for over 30 years. Her early teaching experience (including classroom teaching with 5th to 8th grade special education students, and a parent-based preschool for special needs young children) grounded her in understanding that all children can learn—but each may need a special way to learn! She also learned the value of working with families and communities, especially for economically disadvantaged children.

Her more recent work includes designing and providing learning experiences for teachers, administrators, parents, and instructional coaches. As a Sr. Research and Development Specialist at Appalachia Educational Laboratory, Beth and colleagues conducted research on Pre-K curriculum; on effective teaching; and most especially, on the qualities of professional development that makes a positive difference for teachers and students as learners in community.

Our research demonstrated that the most positive results come when learning for teachers includes the following characteristics:

  • Learning occurs over time—in community with other teachers—planning together and sharing classroom use of practices
  • Reflecting on teaching by observing oneself (via video) and others (by video or in classroom) using targeted practices
  • Fully includes students as partners in the change process over time
  • Is supported by school leaders

In order to meet these characteristics, Beth has worked with teams from schools, providing learning strategies which teacher-leaders can use in their classrooms. Following each session, the principal works to facilitate and support the sharing of the learning with school colleagues, led by the teacher-leaders on the team. This proved to be both cost- and time-effective.

Beth has been passionate about helping students learn to think—through planning and posing thought-provoking, standards-based, engaging questions in the classroom and intentionally using research-based teaching practices. With Jackie A. Walsh, Beth has co-authored five books that address issues of engaging students in thinking, helping students understand their own responsibility to learn, and creating a school and classroom climate and culture for learning—through respectful discussion, for example—among students and adults. The books include the following:

  • Quality Questioning: Research-Based Practice to Engage Every Learner. Thousand Oaks: Corwin Press. 2005.
  • Leading Through Quality Questioning: Creating Capacity, Commitment, ad Community. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press. 2010.
  • Thinking through Quality Questioning: Deepening Student Engagement, Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press. 2011.
  • Quality Questioning: Research-Based Practice to Engage Every Learner, 2nd Edition. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press, 2017.
  • Questioning for Classroom Discussion: Purposeful Speaking, Engaged Listening, Deep Thinking. Alexandria, VA: ASCD. 2016.

Beth also has co-authored a DVD series with Jackie Walsh, produced by ASCD. In addition, her most recent book includes videos in which teachers and students demonstrate best practice in the classroom.

Formal Educational Background:

  • Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN. 1970. B.S. Psychology (major) and English (minor).
  • Peabody College for Teachers, Nashville, TN. 1975. M.A., Early Childhood Special Education.
Discussion as a Way to Deepen Learning

This session focuses on (1) why discussion is such an important teaching and learning strategy; (2) the skills necessary for discussion and how to help students develop them; (3) the cycle of planning and facilitating a discussion; and (4) three discrete forms of discussions useful in K-16 classrooms.

NOTE: For deep learning, recommend the purchase of the book: Walsh and Sattes, Questioning for Classroom Discussion: Purposeful Speaking, Engaged Listening, Deep Thinking, ASCD, 2015.

LEADERSHIP TEAM OPTION: Multiple days (3) might occur over the course of a school year or a semester. Three days might be for a team (principal and 1-2 teachers per grade level or department) from one or more schools within a district or districts. Teacher-leader members would try out selected learnings in their classrooms with students, and with the support of school leadership, schedule time and share content with colleagues.

Classroom Questioning that Supports Thinking and Learning through Student Engagement

Questions and questioning practices are important tools for teachers to maximize learning for all students and to engage them in thinking and learning.

A short session (1/2 or 1 day) will select from among several focus areas:

  • How to frame questions that relate to the attainment of specific standards, selecting and using Webb’s DOK or Bloom’s revised taxonomy to move student thinking to deeper understanding and performance
  • A variety of practical tools teachers can use to engage all students in thinking to formulate a response to every question—as well as framing their own questions to take their thinking deeper
  • Strategies to create and sustain a classroom culture of thoughtfulness, collaboration, and student responsibility for learning.

For deep and extended learning and classroom application by participants, we recommend the purchase of the book: Walsh and Sattes, Quality Questioning: Research-Based Practice to Engage Every Learner. Corwin Press, 2017.

Leadership by Asking, Not Telling

The skill of questioning is essential to effective leadership, as it is to good teaching and learning. Seeking to understand—through careful and considerate listening and through the posing of questions and the encouragement of question-asking—is essential to effective leadership. This session can be tailored for instructional coaches, school and district administrators, and teacher-leaders.
For deep and extended learning and application by participants, we recommend the purchase of the book: Walsh and Sattes, Leading through Quality Questioning: Creating Capacity, Commitment, and Community. Corwin Press, 2010.

Student-Led Conferences to Enhance Student Self-Assessment and Increase Parent Involvement in Student Learning

Schools have found that students become more responsible for their own learning when they take ownership for leading parent conferences to share their learning progress and problems. This workshop provides a rationale, including research to back the effectiveness of student-led conferences (e.g. higher turnout of parent attendance; improved student understanding of their performance; etc.), and “how-to’s” for successful implementation of student-led conferences.

Teacher-Led Professional Development through Collaborative Protocols: Sharing Student Work Samples to Fine-Tune Teaching and Learning

Teachers learn from one another, when given the opportunity and a productive strategy for doing so. A meaningful opportunity for teachers to learn together is through the sharing of student work (both the teacher-created assignment and the resultant student products) with peers. The use of protocols during this experience helps to make the process “safe” for teachers and one from which they learn—whether the focus is their own students’ work or the work of peers’ students; avoids overt criticism by the encouragement of question-asking based on individual, paired, and small group reflections; and is a way to “open the doors” into others’ classrooms via student work and/or selected classroom videos.

Refining School-Wide Improvements in Teaching and Learning Through Instructional Rounds.

Instructional Rounds, named after “medical rounds” (in which students of medicine learn from conversations with experienced and student doctors about patient data) are a learning-filled experience for educators who observe other teachers and their students AND for those who are observed.

This learning experience requires a day and a preparatory two hour session: in a two-hour learning session, teachers and administrators who want to learn this strategy come together to learn the process. It is different than most school visits or classroom observations in the following ways:

  • observations are descriptive, not evaluative;
  • observations focus on students, classroom teacher, and the instructional content;
  • the focus of observations is selected by the visited school—before the visit;
  • collected data is analyzed not according to a pre-established rubric but rather through small group review, categorization, and analysis of specific recorded evidence;
  • summaries are shared with the visited school;
  • questions are posed for the visited school (answers are not given.)

For a full day, teachers and administrators visit a school to review the process they learned, learn about the specific practice that the visited school is interested in learning more about, visit classrooms to observe students, return to teams to analyze data and pose questions, and share data collection with the visited school.



Phone: 304-766-0011

Fax: 304-766-0022

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Dunbar, WV  25064