Collaborative teams, much like weather systems and national economies, are composed of independent but interrelated elements making up a whole. They are organized by nonlinear feedback mechanisms that are continuously responding to other elements in the system.
Individuals and organizations have an amazing capacity to maintain their current beliefs and practices in the face of massive, well-intentioned efforts to change them.
Visualize the worst professional development workshop you have ever attended.
We can all agree that the purpose of schools is student learning and that the most significant factor in whether students learn well is teaching quality.
New teachers need help. From day one, new teachers, largely on their own, are responsible for running a classroom and ensuring student learning, as well as fulfilling administrative requirements.
Karen Waldrop is on her way to a graduate class offered for teacher leaders by a local university in partnership with her school district. As she leaves her school, she exchanges greetings with her principal, who is just returning from a half-day of mentoring training.
In July 2006, eight members of the Marylin Avenue Elementary School leadership team from Livermore, Calif., arrived at the annual Education for the Future Summer Data Institute in Chico, Calif., eager to learn how to employ data-driven decision making to change their school. Data-driven decision making is the process of using data to inform decisions to improve teaching and learning.
I am surrounded by long-distance runners, people who love to race and set goals and meet them. I attend enough marathons to have a well-worn spectator routine and a series of vocal exercises to get myself in shape for serious cheering.
In the past decade, interest in the form of professional learning loosely described as coaching has exploded.
JSD: In your work preparing the McKinsey report, How the World’s Best-Performing School Systems Come Out on Top, you found that several policies and approaches delivered superior results for students. Can you describe those?
I had a conversation recently with a friend, a former English teacher now working at the district level providing staff development geared towards creating alignment in the language arts curriculum. Alignment and quantifiable evidence of impact on student learning seem to be the dual holy grails in schools these days. For my friend, however, convincing teachers to change their curriculum and instruction has been frustrating.
Abstracts/JSD Winter 2009
NSDC Scholar Laureate Shirley Hord received a request recently from a superintendent who wanted to make professional development more stimulating for the principals and teachers in his school system. He came to NSDC looking for specific strategies that would engage his principals and teachers. While we were able to point him in the direction of strategies that could be helpful, the call made both of us stop and think.
Do we stop to review the standards and the Innovation Configurations as our roles change, making sure we are not neglecting an essential ingredient in our work?
Excellent educators are made, not born, and it takes a system-wide approach to build the workforce. This issue examines how to build a strong, diverse pipeline from pre-service and induction to expert practice and leadership. It highlights the roles of K-12 systems, higher education, government, and non-profit organizations.
What does it mean to support learning in challenging times? It means listening, communicating, and leading with empathy. It means committing to anti-racism and breaking down structural barriers to equity. This issue examines ways to do so in professional learning.
Technology constantly creates new opportunities for professional learning. Never have those developments been as important as they are now, during the COVID-19 pandemic. This issue examines how strategies like online mentoring, bug-in-ear coaching, virtual collaboration, and video observation have built educator capacity before and during the pandemic.
The COVID-19 pandemic has changed school as we know it. As we face an unpredictable future, professional learning has never been more urgent. This issue highlights some of the ways educators are learning and evolving to meet the shifting needs of students and staff as schools close, shift online, reopen, and prepare for whatever lies ahead.