Shawn Towle wrote:Reading: pp 76-85
Prompt: In this chapter, Steve states that "What constitutes good instruction for our students is also what constitutes effective professional development for our colleagues."
How are you working toward good quality, meaningful professional learning in your setting? Which of the leadership move(s) strike you as the most realistic for you to pursue in your setting and with your colleagues? What obstacles to change are you trying to overcome?
Jenny Jorgensen wrote:In response to the reading of Chapter 6: Recognizing and Overcoming Obstacles, I feel very fortunate to work where I work and with whom I work. There is a vision about education in our school district and the work that we do is guided by this vision. We have collaboration at each grade level; teachers teach a parallel curriculum. The teachers have weekly, common planning time where they plan for the following week, discuss student work, score student work, review upcoming assessments, etc. It's an environment very far removed from the isolation feeling that some teachers feel or have felt in the past.
I agree with Steve's discussion about math teachers and that the teaching of mathematics is different from other subjects. What we teach and how we teach mathematics should be different that it was 20 years ago. I remember the discussion with a parent, who at one point in the discussion said, "It was good enough for me, I learned it." I wanted to ask him how many students "it" wasn't good enough for; something we probably didn't know about our classmates.
Obstacles to change are thankfully not an issue, for the most part, at our school. As I've mentioned above, our teachers work collaboratively and we have support. The idea about insufficient time is interesting. I remember hearing the DuFours speak and their comment about paying attention to how we use the time we do have. I find that, I and a group of teachers can accomplish a lot when we set our sights on accomplishing specific goals; this often includes an agenda and some ground rules for how we will work together.
With my position, Lead Teacher, the district has invested in providing teachers with in-class professional development, curriculum instruction support, and an opportunity to co-teach or observe a demonstration lesson. We meet, not as often as I'd like, as a math learning area group about four times a year.
I am a bit alarmed with Steve's comment, "Leaders need to give colleagues premission to skip unnecessary lessons or even whole chapters in textbooks..." pg. 83. I think I'm alarmed because this might lead to very different learning experiences for students in the same grade level. We want students to progress to the next grade level with common mathematical knowledge. Steve's comment might be less alarming if we weren't already using current curricular materials. In purchasing these materials, it was made very clear that we were NOT to skip lessons or keep our "old favorites" as we learned to teach with the new materials. I wonder if this sentence hit a chord with others.
ATOMIM is an affiliate of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, National Council of Supervisors of Mathematics and of the Association of Teachers of Mathematics in New England.