Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Time On Task: A New Perspective

Full disclosure...I might be late to the party here. But I had a "mental model" totally redesigned the other day.

I am a HUGE New Orleans Saints fan and I watch the weekly press conferences of the coaches and quarterback, Drew Brees, almost religiously. Last week, I was watching Drew's press conference and a reporter asked him if he feels more comfortable, the further he gets in his career, with putting passes in tight coverage or places that other quarterbacks might not even try. Here was his answer:

(video via

What struck me was how he addressed "Time On Task."

Historically, I think it is safe to say, teachers and administrators have defined this as the student "doing what he/she is supposed to be doing." We have techniques to quantify "time on task" that instructional coaches, administrators, and teachers use in the classroom. But Drew talked about "Time On Task" as a joint effort between him and his receivers. It wasn't just about his receivers, but it was about him, as well!

"We've had a lot of time on task..."

That made me think about Anita Archer and her ideas regarding instructional procedures and scaffolding. She addresses this here:

(video via Utah Personnel Development Center)

Notice that she references the "I Do/We Do/You Do" method of scaffolding. The last time I saw her in person, she made the point that the "We Do" is the most important part of that method. She said we should spend more time on the "We Do" than the others. This is much like Drew Brees talking about his relationship with his receivers.

Teaching and learning are partnerships. "Time on Task" is not just about behavior. It is about the time the teacher and student spend together working with the content. Too often, teachers move quickly from the "I Do" and go straight to the "You Do" and get frustrated by the lack of performance.

Maybe there is something we can learn from a future Hall of Fame quarterback.

Have a happy day!

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