My grade-level colleagues and I attended Friday's Teacher Leadership in Action Conference at the Microsoft Center in Burlington, MA. The event was sponsored by Education First and included educators, administrators, consultants, and advocates. I included many of my tweets in a Storify above. You may also look at more of the day's tweets via #TLinAction.
Teacher leaders led the conference, and their talks/videos were informative and inspiring. I recommend that educators and administrators take a look at their videos, and perhaps use those videos during faculty meetings or other gatherings as one way to encourage greater teacher leadership efforts, discussion, and decision making.
The conference which was mainly run by the teacher leaders featured in the videos, gave teaching teams the chance to focus in on their individual and collective leadership. Further, the research shared demonstrated how developing teacher leadership truly does empower schools and students in ways that matter. When students are led by teachers that lead, those students do better and have mentors to inspire and direct their leadership too.
One aspect of the day included the opportunity to focus on a problem of practice with a team of teacher leaders. One colleague and I focused on the problem of how to deepen the math learning/teaching curriculum in ways that meet current research and include greater student-centered, project-based learning. We received tremendous advice from the teachers who used the worthy problem of practice approach to support us. The process used was exceptional. It was a process similar to ECET2's colleague circles, and a process that would be very helpful for school teams to use when working to better what they can do.
We also had the chance to create an action plan related to a specific goal we have for our practice. Together our team looked at the goal of deepening our collaboration with all members of the teaching team in an effort to teach each child with greater skill, focus, and result. In a sense, we're looking at how we can further develop our inclusion efforts for the benefit of students. Again we used a good goal setting process that starts with focus/vision and then moves on to the actual steps needed to meet the goal/vision. Our team had the chance to work with a dynamic team from Revere Public schools that provided us with some invaluable ideas and perspectives. We were also able to share our plan with other participants through a gallery walk, and received more good consult. I'm sure we'll continue to work on this plan and the implementation steps in the days to come.
Heidi Guarino, Emily Weiss, and Chad Rubalcaba did an exceptional job organizing and leading this teacher leadership event. In addition to learning about and interacting with many processes related to teacher leadership, we were also led with modern ways to backchannel, share notes, and utilize other aspects of blended learning/teaching to learn together. This approach coupled with the state-of-the-art Microsoft presentation center gave us a top-notch educational event, one that we can replicate with our students and colleagues.
There's lots to think about as I continue to reflect on the day's learning, and if you read this and engaged in the event with me, please feel free to add other takeaways in the comments section. If you were not at the event, and have questions, please feel free to ask. In summary, Teacher Leadership in Action was the kind of professional learning event I seek to forward my practice, and I'm so happy that my teammates and I were able to take advantage of this terrific endeavor.