educational_leadership

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

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Hard Work

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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.

Digital Footprints

I’m a bit of a fan of Will Richardson’s work, though I do think he’s a bit hard on teachers at times and not always recognising the good things that are happening. I guess that’s the stance you have take when you’re advocating wholesale reform of systems.

His most recent  article, Footprints in the Digital Age, is a free download from Educational Leadership and argues that in the new world self-directed learners must be adept at building and sustaining networks.

He also includes some simple tips for teachers wanting to get started in this networked world themselves.

I liked this bit especially, since we’ve been talking about digital footprints a lot, in trying to develop student understanding of the concept, and how they might begin to actively shape your online presence:

Your personal footprint—and to some extent your school’s—is most likely being written without you, thanks to the billions of us worldwide who now have our own printing presses and can publish what we want when we want to.

On the surface, that’s an unsettling thought—but it doesn’t have to be. In fact, if we are willing to embrace the moment rather than recoil from it, we may find opportunities to empower students to learn deeply and continually in ways that we could scarcely have imagined just a decade ago.