Prof. Dev

Stimulating Reflection

Stimulating Reflection

 
We often refer to the 3R’s of school improvement as rigor, relevance, and relationships. These are very important and powerful in improving teaching and learning. However, a fourth R that is crucial for professionals raising their expertise is Reflection. I like the quote from John Dewey, “we do not learn from experience: we learn from reflecting on experience.”

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Four Types of Professional Learning

Over the last several years, there is a growing advocacy for the importance of professional learning. The Learning Forward is committed to a goal of,  "every educator engages in effective professional learning every day so every student achieves." We have elevated professional learning from periodic events to ongoing school functions. One example of evolution in our thinking is our choice of terms and how we have cast aside old terms and replace them with new terms, implying the new definitions are new and improved. We remember the days when we talked about professional learning as in-service training. You don't hear that term mentioned very often anymore. We then moved on to staff development, then professional development. And now we talk about professional learning and frequently as professional learning communities as an ongoing process within schools. Read More...

Creating Resilient Schools

External forces such as laws, regulations and public ratings seem to be continuing to increase pressure around schools. For the last several years schools have struggled with internal forces including new technology, challenging student behaviors and higher expectations for student achievement. These external and internal forces continue to build and now schools are facing severe budget cuts. These pressures will have significant impact on many schools. However, some schools will be able to deftly adjust to these increasing forces. I call these resilient schools. Resilience is defined as being able to recover from or adjust easily to change. I have learned from many of the schools that I have visited adapting to change is neither about adopting best practices or even following research proven programs. Resilience is about creating the conditions for a school to uniquely use staff talents to meet student needs. School leaders must abandon any hope of maintaining status quo and be able to lead their organizations to adapt to these changing conditions as a resilient school. Read More...