Support good teachers

Earlier this year, in my Texas round-up of the ASCD  Conference (doesn’t Texas and Round-up sit nicely together in that sentence!)I attended in March, I posted the ominous ‘sack teachers’ Newsweek cover, which I thought epitomised something of the disregard lots of Americans have for the profession.

So, good on ASCD and the latest (May 2010) issue of Educational Leadership, who have turned the Newsweek cover on its head (below) ASCD do good things; where’s the Australian equivalent? And don’t say ACER! Didn’t they invent NAPLAN?

Below, the original NEWSWEEK cover

Critical Transformations

Getting excited now about attending the ASCD Annual Conference Critical Transformations, in San Antone, TX, next week. It’s the first time I’ve been able to attend a conference that is, by all accounts, huge!, attracting some of the biggest names in the big issues of curriculum: differentiation, mapping, standards etc.

I haven’t had a lot of time to think about what sessions I’m going to attend and am conscious that I want to leave some quality work for my Literature for the three lessons I miss with them. I’m thinking of doing a couple of Adobe Connect presentations to introduce them to the next key topic and perhaps some audio discussions of key documents. I think I’ll have plenty of time on the plane trip (Melbourne>LA, LA>San Antone) to read the session guide pretty thoroughly!

And, I’m staying at the historic Menger Hotel, just across the road from The Alamo (see pic above of historic battle featuring Davy Crockett). I hope to be blogging about the sessions I attend, semi-live depending on bandwith, or certainly when I return.

Hard Work


While I’m on the reading mode I should also mention Robyn Jackson’s book from ASCD:  Never Work Harder Than Your Students (and other principles of great teaching). Coming from an environment where we’re trying to take the language from ‘work’ to ‘learning’ I wasn’t super-keen on the title but it came free with the subscription to Educational Leadership, and it does contain some great principles. In essence, they are:

  • Start where your students are
  • Know where your students are going
  • Expect your students to get there
  • Support your students
  • Use effective feedback
  • Focus on quality, not quantity
  • Never work harder than your students

And, truthfully, haven’t we all come out of a lesson at some stage thinking that we (the teacher) are doing all the work?  Exhausted? Jackson would argue that often these lessons haven’t worked that well, for the learners.