When teachers AND administrators become students…

It was a brilliant day at EMS!  Once a week, the staff and I have an opportunity to learn together during scheduled PLC time.  We have established professional conversation norms, built websites, participated in protocols and much more.  Yesterday, we jigsawed an article by Lana Danielson entitled Fostering Reflection.  My fingers are drawn to this keyboard to share the moment because I am so grateful to have facilitated the lesson.  The team room was buzzing with positive activity as the teachers took a step into the recent past and truly reflected about recent classroom moments. While reflecting on the experiences of the first marking period, the teachers worked toward a common goal of preparing a 3 minute lesson for their colleagues about one of the four modes of reflection (technological, situational, deliberate, and dialectical…Danielson 2009).

After the allotted 15 minutes expired, we traveled as a pack of students to each group to learn how to “foster reflection.”  When the lessons began, the teachers listened.  The teachers utilized role-play, graphic organizers, analogies, etc. to share the knowledge.  Individuals were glued to the instruction of their colleagues.  I heard learning!

The most important part of this blog is what I learned as an educator.  When designing the PLC lesson for the day, I had formulated personal expectations about what the learning should look like.  When some of the teacher groups selected not to utilize the white board markers and over sized sheets of notebook paper (with sticky on the back for ease of use I might add), I became frustrated.  Were my instructions unclear?  Didn’t they hear me when I said teach a lesson…couldn’t they see the supplies I had provided for them to use.  In my mind, even though the individuals in front of me have proven to be excellent educators, I assumed that their lack of doing things the way I envisioned meant that they were not participating.  Fortunately, my sagacious colleague (vice principal) held me in check with her wisdom and simply said, “just wait and see.”  I listened to her, and was rewarded.  The teachers did not teach the group my way, they used their own strengths to share the lesson.  The outcome was two fold: 1. Everyone understood the four modes of reflection 2. I learned an important lesson about meeting the teachers where they are, challenging them to improve, and giving people space and opportunity to teach and learn and share.

During this Thanksgiving Day week, I want to express my gratitude to the staff at EMS.  It is a pleasure to learn and share and lead and dream with you.

February 2009 | Volume 66 | Number 5
How Teachers Learn    
Fostering Reflection
Lana M. Danielson

One response to “When teachers AND administrators become students…

  1. Mr. Shaw–Thanks for this update! I'm hoping it is ok to share widely? I'd like to re-post to Roxbury CARE's Facebook page….Please let me know (and if I can assume that all notes here are accessible as well.)So glad you have found an educational home at Eisenhower. I think you have begun well.

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