For students to become powerful learners, their teachers must engage in powerful learning themselves. Yet the professional learning many teachers experience is often disconnected from the curriculum, disconnected from specific students and their learning needs, and disconnected from their daily work. What’s needed is a tightly-connected systems focus, aimed at continually increasing the knowledge and skills of teachers in their context and with their colleagues, as central to improving student learning. At its heart, this is an equity issue, ensuring that all students in a system have equal access to rich, high-quality learning. (https://assets.aspeninstitute.org/content/uploads/2018/02/Developing-a-Professional-Learning-System-for-Adults-in-Service-of-Student-Learning-6.pdf )
I came across this spot-on publication from the Aspen Institute regarding the “need for a tightly connected system that focuses on continually increasing the knowledge and skills of teachers in their context, with their colleagues (emphasis mine), as central to improving student learning.”
We get it.
As school leaders, teachers, educational assistants, consultants we’ve lived the adage, ‘what gets our focus, gets noticed’. Notice though that the what and the where of key components of best practice and researchers in education – John Hattie, Simon Breakspear, Fullan and Hargreaves, Alberta Education and even our Division offices – know what they want schools to do. The data is irrefutable, however have we missed the the why and the how?
Imagine an educational system where school leaders, teachers, EA’s, consultants and support staff had embedded time to collaborate, weekly or biweekly, during the school day, to focus in and dig deeper on what is happening with their students, in their classrooms and their school context in order to affect change.
As the framework in the report presents, ‘multiple parts of a system need to support deep, effective professional learning for adults so that they can improve student learning outcomes”.