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 Connected Principals.)

2 comments on “An expectation of openness

  1. Ok. You have shifted teachers bs you have unstudied teachers. We have republicans and we have democrats. Fortunately, in the middle lies everyone else – those that can go either way. I know this isn’t the right forum but you are too far away to go for a coffee. What 3 changes have you made that have convinced those on the fence to value openness and other “shifted” characteristics? What has stopped you from making structural changes so that shifted values are the norm and not the exception?

  2. I really like the idea of turning the table: making it uncomfortable for teachers who have not shifted, rather than just trying to support teachers who “get” the ideas of student centered, relevant, tech-rich classrooms. One way to do this is to communicate the vision to parents and to the community, and let them add the shift to a shared expectation for community schools. At the rate change is happening now, I would bet on the corporates and charters…yet I work every day to bring multiple bricks and mortar public school districts into the “shift” using online courseware and virtual professional development. Thanks!

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