2570 Chapters
Medium 9781936763689

Epilogue Conclusion and Action Steps for Educators and Parents

Matthew R. Larson Solution Tree Press ePub

Regardless of how difficult you think it is to improve classroom mathematics teaching on a wide scale, it is more difficult than that.


Although many aspects of mathematics education in society must change for us to achieve the vision of teaching and learning that all students deserve and the United States needs, we believe a critical strategy in achieving this vision is for both educators and parents to support and advocate for an equilibrium experience in classrooms, schools, and districts. This includes supporting more rigorous and common mathematics standards for all students and implementing effective instructional strategies, as outlined in chapter 4.

If we know what effective mathematics instruction is, why is it so hard to implement (and accept) in the classroom? James Hiebert (2013), a highly respected mathematics educator at the University of Delaware, offers a couple of explanations, including the following.

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Medium 9781934009055


Robert Eaker Solution Tree Press ePub

LEADERSHIP IS THE DYNAMIC that pulls together all the various elements of a professional learning community and maintains and supports them.

Getting Started

EDUCATORS WILL REMAIN THE MOST IMPORTANT resource in the battle to provide every child with a quality education, and thus leaders must commit to creating the conditions in which those educators can continue to grow and learn as professionals.

Learning by Doing

EMPOWERED TEACHERS AND STRONG PRINCIPALS are not mutually exclusive goals. Schools that operate as learning communities will have both.

PLC at Work

PROFESSIONAL LEARNING COMMUNITIES are guided by a culture that is simultaneously loose and tight. Leaders empower individuals and teams and encourage personal autonomy (loose) within well-defined parameters and priorities that all are expected to honor (tight).

PLC at Work

THE CREATION OF A GUIDING COALITION or leadership team is a critical first step in the complex task of leading a school.

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Medium 9781936763542

Epilogue Professional Learning as a Creative Process

Try Gobble Solution Tree Press ePub

The focus of this book revolved around proficiency-based assessment. While there are many topics within education that can be explored using this professional learning framework, we decided to begin with this educational idea because we think shifting the way we approach assessment will help U.S. schooling move in a better, more thoughtful, and more sophisticated direction—beyond what are now antiquated approaches to assessment that don’t provide the needed, articulated clarity learners need to participate in their own growth and capacity building.

Professional learning is a creative process. As you have finished reading about our team’s journey through the change process, we want to reassert the most significant characteristic of these teachers’ collaboration toward change: it was never easy or streamlined. Preparation overlapped with incubation and evaluation. Evaluation required going back to preparation and insight. The journey is not a straight road to change. It is very often recursive; it doubles back, overlaps, and often takes two steps forward and one step back. It is highly reflective and raises many questions. Likewise, as we saw, different teammates are often at different points in the creative process. These variables challenge leaders to balance the overlapping understandings, perspectives, and capacities for change. While challenging, when all of these variables are circulating, better decisions about learning develop because smarter checks and balances are in place. More significantly, continuous improvement sustains.

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Medium 9781935543398

Chapter Five Aligning to a Results Orientation

Mark Van Clay Solution Tree Press ePub

Unless a capacity for thinking be accompanied by a capacity for action, a superior mind exists in torture.

–Benedetto Croce

A results orientation isn’t about assessing, measuring, and collecting data. It is about action. Guskey (2009) makes the case for action this way:

Measuring something more often and more accurately does nothing to make it better. If that were the case, all that would be required in a successful weight-loss program would be a better scale. Just as being weighed more often and more accurately does not help a person lose weight, the use of regular formative assessment alone does not improve student learning. It’s what happens after the formative assessment that makes a difference. (pp. 10–11)

Without a results orientation, the collection of data has no purpose beyond its own collection. With a results orientation, those data convert to new knowledge that drives active changes in instructional approaches and learning expectations.

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Medium 9781934009574

Chapter 9 Inspired Collaboration

Casey Reason Solution Tree Press ePub

Schools have become increasingly intrigued by collaboration. With the proliferation of learning communities, many schools are now using teams to overcome the effects of anachronistic styles of management and to help resolve their deepest school improvement challenges (DuFour, DuFour, & Eaker, 2008). Nevertheless, many schools that are attempting to collaborate in one form or another are making very little progress toward their goals.

It is ironic that collaboration is an issue in an era of instant messaging, Twitter, email, and asynchronous dialogue. However, while new technology creates opportunities to collaborate, other obstacles persist. The difference in perspectives between Net Generation individuals (those who grew up with digital technology) and pre–Net Generation individuals (those who “emigrated” to the digital technology) is one of the many challenges.

Regardless of the technological tools in use, from a learning leadership perspective collaboration has one essential outcome—to improve individual and team learning. The collaborative learning process should result in a change in attitudes, beliefs, skills, and strategies that affect the essential goal of the organization—instructional practice. With collaboration, learning is ignited—and many schools are very close to lighting that learning fire.

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