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This post is part of an ongoing series that describes strategies program leaders can use to energize stakeholders around improvement work. See earlier…
Years ago, as a relatively new mentor teacher, I planned and implemented a Think-Pair-Share activity as part of a second-grade science lesson. Because two teacher-candidates were observing me, I was extra intentional about how I implemented this strategy. I carefully paired students; I chose an open-ended question to push thinking; and I gave students time to think and try out their ideas in a low-stakes way before participating in a whole-class discussion. The activity went well, and I felt pretty good about my demonstration of effective teaching.
Ask any teacher-educator about the class she’s teaching tomorrow, and you’re likely to get a detailed rundown of her lesson — but not necessarily how that class fits into the broader picture of a candidate’s learning trajectory. This makes total sense, because teacher-educators are asked to focus on their own piece of the puzzle. Yet learning science tells us that we learn new ideas by reference to ideas we already know. Teacher-educators need to understand a candidate’s macro learning trajectory in order to maximize teacher-candidate learning within their portion of that trajectory. In other words, it’s important to help stakeholders see the bigger picture.
Deans for Impact has an ambitious vision. Within a generation, we believe the U.S. can have the best educator-preparation system in the world, one…
To paraphrase David Foster Wallace’s modern parable: Two fish are swimming along when they encounter another fish heading in the opposite direction. “How’s the water?” the solo fish says as he swims by. The two fish swim a little further until one turns to the other and says, “What the hell is water?”
How do we get stakeholders energized around improvement work?
This is a question we spend a lot of time thinking about. It’s a question that’s relevant to Impact Academy fellows who are building leadership skills to support individual and organizational learning, and to participants in the Common Indicators System who are working to collect data on candidate knowledge and skills and program performance using common instruments in order to support cross-institutional learning.
Why do you have so many guns?
My heart broke the moment I was asked this question. It happened four years ago while I was on a fellowship in New Zealand, on a day where I’d driven to one of the more remote areas of an already very remote island in the South Pacific. The elementary school I was visiting, Te Kura o Hiruharama (Hiruharama School), serves Maori children living in poverty, and they weren’t used to visitors from faraway places such as America. So to kick things off, I asked them what they most wanted to know about my homeland.
Today we launch the application for the third cohort of Impact Academy, our year-long fellowship for deans in educator preparation. Impact Academy…
The events of this past year have magnified differences in our culture, and produced conflict – but active efforts, including protest, can lead to reform. In many ways, this idea animates all of the activities we undertake at Deans for Impact. We believe in the power of helping existing and future educators practice better pedagogy with all students, so that over time, our work – and the work of so many others – will join together such that the stark racial segregation we witnessed during one school visit will seem an unconscionable aberration, rather than an accepted norm.
Texas recently announced it would make educator data available to the public in order to meet the requirements of a bill passed during the 85th Regular Session, which concluded on May 29, 2017.