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Learning conversations

By Diane Zimmerman and William A. Sommers
February 2020
Vol 41, No. 1
Education experts generally agree that reflection on practice is essential for improving teaching. Yet, in our experience, professional learning communities (PLCs) spend little time engaged in reflective practices. In light of the increasing demands on educators for excellence and accountability, reflective practice conversations ought to be front and center in PLC work — that is, reflective practice needs to become public. To put it simply, public reflective practice is a check-in: How are we doing, what are we learning from practice, what changes are making a difference, and so on. Teachers have these kinds of conversations privately but rarely have a chance to think out loud with others about what they are coming to understand about teaching and learning. That is a missed opportunity. One

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Authors

Diane P. Zimmerman and William A. Sommers

Diane P. Zimmerman (dpzimmer@gmail.com) is a writer and independent consultant and William A. Sommers (sommersb4@gmail.com) is a leadership coach and independent consultant and a former member of the Learning Forward board of trustees.

References

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Chadwick, R. (2013). Finding new ground. Terrebonne, OR: One Tree.

Chadwick, R. (2013). Finding new ground. Terrebonne, OR: One Tree.

Goldsmith, M. (2015). Stakeholder centered coaching manual. Available at sccoaching.com.

Rock, D. (2010.) SCARF: A brain-based model for collaborating with and influencing others (Vol. 1). The NeuroLeadership Journal. Available at neuroleadership.com/portfolio-items/scarf-a-brain-based-model-for-collaborating-with-and-influencing-others.

Schein, E. (2013). Humble inquiry: The gentle art of asking instead of telling. San Francisco, CA: Berrett-Koehler.

Sommers, W.A. & Zimmerman, D.P. (2018). Nine professional conversations to change schools: A dashboard of options. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press.

Sternin, J. (1991). What is positive deviance? Positive deviance initiative. Available at positivedeviance.org.

York-Barr, J., Sommers, W., Ghere, G., & Montie, J. (2016). Reflective practice for renewing schools (3rd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin.


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