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The art of reflection: how to become a more thoughtful educator

The Guardian – Jamie Thom

“Most teachers are passionate about what they do. But research suggests that after the first few years of teaching they can begin to stagnate in their practice. It’s easy for frustrations about making the same mistakes to creep in, and we often look for quick fixes. As Dylan William suggests: “Teachers are like magpies. They love picking up shiny little ideas from one classroom; taking it back to their classroom; trying it once, and then moving on to the next shiny idea.” So how can teachers energise themselves and become more thoughtful educators? I’ve found that taking control of my development through regular reflection and follow-up actions has helped me take ownership of my teaching and better understand how I can improve.” (more)

The Schoolhouse Network

Education Next – James P. Spillane and Matthew Shirrell

“The work of teaching is changing. For much of the 20th century, most teachers worked alone behind classroom doors, with little interaction with their colleagues. In recent years, however, teacher collaboration has emerged as an important strategy to drive improvement, informed by research showing how on-the-job interactions can boost teacher development and effectiveness. Schools across the United States are adjusting their professional cultures and workplace practices in response, creating formal opportunities for teachers to learn from one another and work together through shared planning periods, teacher leadership roles, and professional learning communities.”(more)

Measuring Learning Will Be Key to Improving It in 2018

Ed Surge – Arjun Singh

“There is a popular quote attributed to management expert Peter Drucker: “What gets measured gets improved.” In education, the mantra is equally true. However, since I began working in edtech five years ago, I have been continuously surprised by how little emphasis there is on measuring changes and progress in individual learning, especially in higher education. This is particularly concerning given that it’s difficult to improve learning if we can’t measure it. However, I think attitudes around why it’s important to track a learner’s progress, and how to accomplish it, are starting to change. With better tooling and more emphasis, we’ll see significant progress in 2018.”(more)

Thriving in Your First Years as a Teacher

Edutopia – Andrea Marshbank

“It is a universal truth that early career teachers are overwhelmed. Between classroom management issues, lesson plans, and grading, we’re oftentimes drowning. With all the pressure to simply survive our first few years of teaching, doing anything else in the name of improvement may seem impossible. As a second-year teacher, I have days when I find myself treating life’s necessities, like sleeping, as if they were optional activities.”(more)

How an R&D Mindset Brought Teachers and School Leaders Closer Than Ever

Ed Surge – Evan Beachy

“Chances are, we’ve all sat through professional development exercises and wondered where the relevance for our own practice was. Sit-and-get PD rarely engages our interests and, at best, only temporarily sparks inspiration. Considering neuroscience now suggests that the education system we grew up with has severe limitations, perhaps it’s time we reexamine how we approach teaching and learning, not just for students but for our educators as well. Teachers need professional development conducted with the same progressive techniques we hope to instill in students. This means more relevant topics targeted to teacher interests and needs, rather than fewer, spread out PD days in a one size fits all model.”(more)

Is A Solid Curriculum a Constraint on Teacher Creativity?

Education Next – Kathleen Porter-Magee

“In education we have been conditioned to believe that mandating curriculum is akin to micromanaging an artist. That’s not only wrong, it’s dangerous. And, as Robert Pondiscio has persuasively argued, it simply makes “an already hard job nearly impossible [for teachers] to do well.” Yet study after study has demonstrated that requiring teachers use a proven textbook or curriculum to guide their teaching is one of the surest ways to improve outcomes for students. In 2009, Cory Koedel and Morgan Polikoff published results from a study comparing the effects of mathematics textbook choices on student achievement in California. They found that “non-trivial gains in student achievement are attainable simply by choosing more effective curriculum materials.”(more)