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Chapter 6

Dean Shareski Solution Tree Press PDF

Chapter 6

A Sense of Community

We have a classroom system when we could have a community system.

—Deborah Baker

It’s been argued that all learning is social. Whether face to face, via conversations with people in the same room, or by reading an author’s work, learning is something that involves other people. However, schools were not designed to be social spaces.

Schools were designed for efficiency. Classrooms were simply a way to bring large numbers of children together and disseminate information with the hope of them acquiring knowledge at the same time. As a student growing up in the 1970s and

1980s, I didn’t think of school as a community. I found community and care from my family and friends and institutions like churches and clubs. I had no expectation that school was anything more than a rite of passage to adulthood. As young children and teenagers, we naturally seek to socialize in school but know the protocol remains: keep your eyes on your own paper, don’t talk, and do as you’re told.

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Chapter 1 Why Mathematics Education Needs to Improve

Matthew R. Larson Solution Tree Press ePub

We are systematically underestimating what our kids can do in math.


Since the 1990s, efforts to improve mathematics teaching and learning have focused on state adoption and implementation of increasingly more rigorous K–12 mathematics standards. These state standards represent the guaranteed and viable curriculum that every student should learn—what we expect students to know and be able to do in each grade level and course. In addition, each state implemented accountability measures attached to attainment of those standards.

The standards movement was kick-started by the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) in 1989, when it published Curriculum and Evaluation Standards for School Mathematics. This document and the subsequent edition, Principles and Standards for School Mathematics (NCTM, 2000), as well as Curriculum Focal Points for Prekindergarten Through Grade 8 Mathematics (NCTM, 2006), served as the blueprints for various state mathematics standards produced over a two-decade period beginning in the early 1990s. NCTM presented a new sense of rigor in terms of both the what and the how of learning school mathematics.

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Book Review: The Simplicity and Complexity of Transforming Teaching

Teacher Education and Practice R&L Education ePub

Teaching Transformed: Achieving Excellence, Fairness, Inclusion, and Harmony

Roland G. Tharp, Peggy Estrada, Stephanie Stoll

Dalton, and Lois A. Yamauchi

Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 2000. 274 pp.

$30 (paper)

ISBN No. 0813322693

Kathryn Kinnucan-Welsch, University of Dayton

It is so simple: “All school reform has one final common pathway: instructional activity.” With this bold statement, the authors of Teaching Transformed: Achieving Excellence, Fairness, Inclusion and Harmony, Roland Tharp, Peggy Estrada, Stephanie Dalton, & Lois Yamauchi (2000, p. 1) introduce to the reader the underlying theoretical and practical premises of how we can achieve the four goals highlighted in the title of the book in our increasingly beleaguered and diverse schools.

The authors ground their vision of transformed classrooms in sociocultural theory as a theory of development (Vygotsky, 1978) and vision of learning that acknowledges that assisting learners to higher levels of performance in the zone of proximal development is the very essence of teaching and learning (Tharp & Gallimore, 1988). Building on the frame of scoiocultural theory, Tharp et al. develop the premise in Teaching Transformed that multiple and diverse activity settings emanating from a shared value system within a social context will result in achieving the goals that have dominated the discourse of school reform in recent decades: excellence, fairness, inclusion, and harmony. Although the development of the origin and substance of these four goals is limited in the text, the authors make a clear and compelling case that reform efforts have typically emphasized one goal resulting in counterproductuve results for the other three goals. Can we achieve all four goals simultaneously? Yes, through quality instructional activity. It is so simple.

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Chapter 8 When Politics and Emotion Meet: Educational Change in Racially Divided Communities

Michael Fullan Solution Tree Press ePub

Jonathan D. Jansen

In a relatively short period of time, there has been an explosion of research and writing on the link between emotion and decision-making in general, and between emotion and educational change in particular. Emotion was once the missing dimension in research on educational change. We knew that schools, as with any organization, are emotionally charged spaces, but the dominant literature on educational change continued to ignore the emotional dimensions of educational organizations. The dominant approaches to educational change have previously been behavioristic (focused on external behaviors rather than on inward emotions), rationalistic (focusing on reason over feeling), and instrumentalist in orientation (seeking the “What?” rather than the “Why?”). The common treatment of emotion when it did surface in the literature was as an impediment or a deviance (the result of deficiency) that must be brought under control. In addition, emotions have been viewed as having a distinctly gendered expression within organizations such as schools. But the manifestation and treatment of emotion in educational and other organizations is intimately related to the cultural context; organizations, not just individuals, have emotional dispositions. Leaders are themselves emotional subjects with the authority to shape the emotional disposition of an organization, and the emotional disposition of an organization and of the leaders within an organization have direct consequences for the health of followers. Indeed, ignoring emotional constitution of organizations significantly reduces the chance of achieving deep change. (For discussion on these points from various disciplinary perspectives, see Jansen, 2005; Kristjansson, 2007; Leithwood & Beatty, 2007; Schutz, Pekrun, & Phye, 2007; Tamboukou, 2006; Thagard, 2006; and Zembylas, 2007.)

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Chapter 11: Leading the Way

Mardale Dunsworth Solution Tree Press PDF



Leading the Way

“Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?”

“That depends a good deal on where you want to get to,” said the Cat.

—Lewis Carroll

Once a principal has become intrigued with the idea of an external school review, the next step is to discuss the concept with other members of the school leadership team and with the school staff as a whole.

Not every school is ready to invite outside eyes into the building to take a close look at how the staff goes about the business of transferring knowledge. Involving others in the decision-making process begins the modeling of collaborative strategies that research has identified as effective in school improvement.

Assessing Readiness

Three sets of questions can help principals evaluate their schools’ readiness to benefit from a review.

First, principals should ask themselves the following questions:

• What about a school review do I find intriguing?

• What advantages would it offer me in leading for improvement?

• How receptive am I to coaching?

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