Sunday, August 5, 2007

Working Together

Maine teachers certainly know that for the past few years NCLB has brought us an emphasis on assessment. This has meant an inordinate amount of teacher time focused on testing and creating ways of testing students. While accountability and testing have their place, in most cases there has been very little time and energy left to spend on looking for ways of actually improving instruction.

Some of the questions are: How do we better engage students in the excitement of learning? What models of instruction are out there that might make a difference. What do other educators in the State have to offer us? How might technology help us with teaching the skills that are necessary in the 21st Century?

Finding answers to these questions and others requires time to explore as teaching communities. The buzzwords that are being used are PLCs (Professional Learning Communities) and Capacity Building.

For additional information in understanding these ideas, find the following links in the resource list:

Professional Learning Communities

Capacity Building and Michael Fullan

What do you think?

1 comment:

Joe Makley said...

Great institute!
I think the "PLC" concepts have real potential, but like the "organizational change" stuff from the nineties, they need a lot of detail work to make change that sticks. Dufour's (big PLC guy) experience was in a large high school, and when he gets down to tacks, he talks about having many teachers with the same grade levels and subjects. For Maine, he suggests that high school teachers be tied together electronically, to facilitate these discussions. I think the greatest risk for Maine is to try to create the elements or characteristics of a PLC in the broad sense, while missing the detail work necessary to change practice. Maine is a lush garden of best practices and cool situations at individual schools, so the potential is there. But as Fullen says, it's another matter to take these and create an increase on the NEAP in one election cycle:)
(Now everyone can respond about the lameness of the NAEP.)