An expectation of openness

Great Wall Window ~ By David Truss
On a recent post about empowering students, Gary Kern asked me a question in his comment:

What are your thoughts on the structures and changes needed for teachers, especially at the older grades, to be able to foster higher levels of participation in their learning?

What we really need are structures that both develop (and keep) GOOD TEACHERS! Teachers that are co-learners rather than information pushers.

Let's just admit that the greatest influence in schools today are the quality of the teachers, and start doing things to make sure the right people are hired, and the wrong people are encouraged to find another calling.

Let's make it too uncomfortable for the 'unshifted‘ to continue doing what they have always done. And let's also make it impossible for someone to enter teaching and model what they do from old mindsets and skill sets.

Let's structurally design classrooms with an expectation of openness and thus be able to 'peek in' and offer critical feedback where it is needed.

Let's change the way we fill a teacher's day so that they have time to collaborate and co-teach, and actually learn from each other… so that they model what it means to 'participate in learning' for their students.

Let's put “Responsibility before Accountability”.

Let's make professional development about learning communities and not stand and deliver presentations. And let's 'foster high levels of participation' in teacher learning.

Let's actually learn from our successes rather than let them happen despite the system and on the fringes of the system. And let's also learn from our failures rather than trying to hide them.

Let's make LEARNING the focus of educators rather than teaching.

(Cross-posted on my Pair-a-dimes blog.)

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3 Comments

  1. Lyn Hilt said:

    Well said, David! I especially appreciate your points about the ways we can extend our teachers’ learning. As administrators we can help shape schedules, professional development experiences, and focus on our organizational strengths to move our schools forward!

    October 3, 2010
  2. Krista Sly said:

    This is my first post outside my district ning which is a closed social network for educators and leaders in my district. Be kind and challenge my thinking; I am excited about learning.

    Will Richardson has fired my brain. He is currently visiting my district and challenging our thinking about learning. He has me excited to learn and grow as a leader.

    Technology for learning is the key.

    If you were to write what you visually see in a middle school communication arts classroom using technology for learning, what would it look like?

    October 3, 2010
  3. Greg Gorman said:

    Great article especially on teaching methods, if my generation doesn’t figure this out students will be short changed on their education. Until the “if you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you’ve always gotten” attitude changes education reform will not happen.

    October 3, 2010

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