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- Millennial Managers: 7 Skills for the Next Generation of Leaders
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- Developing the next generation of leaders - Birmingham Business School - University of Birmingham
Teachers were also challenged to reconsider what they were teaching and why they were teaching it. Interactions with colleagues allowed for exploration of what content was most important for students and prompted questioning about how to provide more meaningful learning experiences for students.
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A chemistry teacher described a conversation he had with a middle school science teacher who taught next door. Is the fact that the third orbital can hold eight or eighteen electrons really important? Does it change the understanding of my students or do I cover it because it is a fact that I can easily assess?
Interactions with colleagues can challenge teachers to reconsider what they are teaching and why they are teaching it. Some interactions allowed teachers to gain new insight about the students they were teaching and to uncover assumptions they held about them. Thanks to her colleague, the teacher was able to to see her students differently and align their morals with her own. Teachers also shared the impact their colleagues had on their emotional well-being by promoting feelings of confidence, providing perspective on a problem and making them more comfortable in their community.
I identified four behaviors in this final phase of analysis: colleagues made a supportive statement, asked probing questions, made an observation or provided an explanation of pedagogy. Many teachers cited a supportive statement made by a colleague that affirmed their choices, abilities and value as teachers. They turned to a colleague for support and came away for the conversation reassured:. This small interaction is one I keep returning to like a touchstone, and it keeps my heart open. The questions posed by colleagues became opportunities for teachers to examine their practice, to steer their thinking in a new direction, or to inspire them to justify the significance of their curricular choices, as in the example of the chemistry teacher discussed above.
Another teacher wrote about a course team meeting when one of her colleagues noticed that three of the questions on a quiz the team was writing required one basic skill; if students did not know the skill, they would miss all three questions. Responses to my questionnaire suggest that informal interactions between colleagues can result in educational improvement.
This was possible because teachers and their colleagues had ready access to each other and deep knowledge of the context they both shared. They made the most of small moments and leveraged them as opportunities to influence one another. At the beginning of this article, I defined teacher leadership as a stance, perspectival and conceptual: a dynamic way of knowing my teaching community and my membership in that community so that I can improve teaching from the inside.
These teachers have exercised leadership by helping their colleagues make sense of their practice and themselves as teachers to provide the best possible opportunities for students. Teachers who are recognized by their colleagues as leaders, regardless of formal power structures, have the potential to inspire change from the bottom up, working in parallel with other school improvement efforts. In seeing small interactions as potential sites for leadership, we increase the opportunities we have to practice leadership and thus see ourselves as teacher leaders.
There has been a surge in attention to preparing early-career teachers for leadership roles in schools. However, there is evidence that the transition from classroom teacher to teacher leader is problematic for early-career teachers. Teachers overlook the daily support and impact their colleagues have on their teaching.
We teachers, novice and experienced, take for granted that our common understanding about where we teach, who we teach, and how to teach can have a positive impact on our profession and open us to the potential and power of our daily, routine interactions. Reconsidering teacher leadership as a stance we can all assume, allows teachers to work across stages in our professional careers and educational contexts and to leverage the power of our relationships. My colleague Joan did not look for our interaction as a specific opportunity to improve her practice. Rather she was open to the possibility of learning from her colleagues at any time.
Like Joan, teachers who embrace a leadership stance can move fluidly between having an influence on other teachers and being influenced by them because they recognize expertise and potential in themselves and their colleagues. For teachers, taking a leadership stance in our contexts creates opportunities to lead in a myriad of ways, from small interactions with colleagues to formal roles and responsibilities. All are opportunities for teachers to have a positive impact on student learning.
Thinking about leadership as a stance helps me to understand the ways that I can continue to lead through the ever changing landscape of my career to recognize that all of my collegial interactions are potential sites for teacher leadership, as long as I tune into my colleagues and consider the possibility that the teacher next door has a lot to offer. Download Article.
Millennial Managers: 7 Skills for the Next Generation of Leaders
Beachum, F. Teacher leaders creating cultures of school renewal and transformation. Educational Forum , 68 3 , — Carver, C. Gaining confidence, managing conflict: Early career conceptions of teacher leadership during graduate coursework. The New Educator , 9 3 , — Cochran-Smith, M.
Inquiry as stance: Practitioner research for the next generation. New York: Teachers College Press. Vernon-Dotson, L.
Building leadership capacity via school partnerships and teacher teams. Clearing House , 85 1 , 38— Wenner, J. The theoretical and empirical basis of teacher leadership. Review of Educational Research , 87 1 , — Van Tassell, R.
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Leadership as stance: Leading from inside the classroom. Kaleidoscope: Educator Voices and Perspectives , 4 1 , 32— Rebecca Van Tassell. Pioneering efforts by members of the convening to expand noncognitive development fall into four broad categories: collaborations between researchers and teachers; professional development for teachers; systemic reforms in school districts; and complementary efforts between in-school and after-school or expanded-learning time. For educators, the lines between these two parallel strands of exploration often blur as they focus on the desired result—more successful students.
Many evidence-based SEL programs were developed through a similar collaborative approach. Such collaborations are a way for researchers to break free of university-based settings, where most academic mindset research has been conducted. Researchers have found that school teachers are eager to contribute their knowledge to advance innovation in the field, enabling them to become a source for the best and perhaps most scalable ideas grounded in the work they do every day.
These classroom-based research initiatives often include multiple cycles of testing and feedback with an emphasis on rapid learning and improvement. To that end, teachers work together, with input and support from researchers, to identify and develop practices that may be suitable for other schools to adopt. Character Lab strives to develop evidence-based teaching tools and practices that can be easily and effectively integrated into the school day—a key to scaling up.
Character Lab aims to help teachers weave this kind of exercise more systematically into their lesson plans and daily interactions with students. Many school districts partner with professional development providers to deliver in-service teacher training. Some of these providers serve multiple districts across many states and reach thousands of teachers each year.
Given their reach, these providers can play an important role in helping to embed the development of noncognitive skills into the daily practice of thousands more teachers.
By incorporating noncognitive competencies into their training programs, providers set a higher standard for other professional development organizations to follow. The center provides coaching and professional development, in person and online, to first-year teachers in more than two dozen school districts across the country. This year some 7, NTC mentor teachers will work with more than 26, new teachers who instruct an estimated 1. To complement its training and mentorship programs, NTC is building an online site with a set of tools and resources, including observation guides and assessment rubrics, focused on SEL and academic behaviors.
That means adopting SEL learning standards and assessments, designing professional development programs for teachers, and integrating SEL with existing district initiatives—such as the Common Core. CASEL hopes the collaborating districts initiative will provide successful models that other school districts will follow. Two of the districts involved—Austin, Texas, and Nashville, Tenn.
Developing the next generation of leaders - Birmingham Business School - University of Birmingham
Austin hired 14 coaches to work with teachers on incorporating SEL into their daily activities. Rather, the district tapped its academic and instructional specialists to provide SEL support for teachers and administrators. The district is also working to embed SEL into existing programs and initiatives, including its project-based learning initiative in which students explore real-world problems and do a significant amount of individual exploration as well as group work. The district plans to review its teacher evaluation framework, seeking to identify links between teacher effectiveness and their SEL competencies.
Several of these programs already build noncognitive development into interactions with students. There are increasing examples of programs that work more closely with the schools where they are housed to ensure that students experience the same support for skill and behavior development during school as they experience after school.
WINGS for Kids, for example, is an after-school program teaching kids how to behave well, make good decisions, and build healthy relationships. Students participate for three hours each day throughout the school year. The staff typically spends the first hour providing direct SEL instruction, and then reinforces these lessons with teachable moments over the next two hours as students complete their homework and engage in enrichment activities.