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Sunday, September 06, 2015

Teaching: Reflections on Change and Need for Change

Change is happening in the teaching profession. Signs of this change abound. What is the impact of this change? Where is there still room for change?

These are a few initial reactions

Teacher Leaders
The greater emphasis on teacher leadership is noticeable in a number of ways in my teaching/learning sphere. First the State of Massachusetts recently shared a report on teacher leadership which prompts educational leaders to embrace this effort. University of Massachusetts Boston is offering a CAGS in Teacher Leadership. Also the NEA is partnering with other education organizations to provide a Teacher Leadership year-long training for interested NEA members. I am apart of the third cohort of this effort which so far has been amazing. Further I have noticed in my own school a greater effort towards creating a shared leadership model where teachers are a greater part of the decision making and leadership process. The efforts towards teacher leadership mark positive development in schools because teachers who want to develop their craft will have a pathway to leadership that does not distance them from the important work of teaching children. Hence, a step to leadership will not mean that experienced teachers will be leaving the classroom.

Online Learning
Online learning is becoming rooted in the learning environment. Most worthy professional learning events include a large dimension of online learning. This will trickle down to our classrooms more and more which means that students will eventually have access to the best tools and methods for learning today. This is positive.

Standards
Standards are becoming a natural part of teaching and learning, and once those standards are embedded, development of richer, deeper learning units and experiences is possible. Hence, in my opinion, we're moving beyond teaching to the test and test scores alone to a focus on deep, meaningful learning that embeds standards.

Assessment and Data
Hopefully the data we collect and use will continue to improve so that we're looking deeply at the whole child and using that data to help every child grow with depth and care. I think we're moving int his direction.

Achievement Gap
This is a critical area of effort that, in my opinion, is still not taken seriously in many areas. People need to wake up and realize that a high quality education and care of all of our nation's children will result in a more dynamic, peaceful, and happy people. While subpar schools, programs, and attention to each child exist, we will not bridge the achievement gap. Surface, top-down efforts will not result in change. Change will occur when everyone owns this dilemma, and when everyone in a school and community is committed to doing what it takes to make positive change.