Saturday, January 18, 2014

What is Effective Teacher Leadership?

I just re-read Carrie R. Leana's "The Missing Link in School Reform (2011)," and I agree that teacher collaboration, described by the author as a form of social capital, is what makes really good teachers become excellent.

The U.S. Department of Education's Blueprint for Reform (2009) suggests that teacher evaluation include room for multiple measures such as teacher leadership or peer-review (see p. 4).

I appreciate the flexible, aim-focused tone of the Blueprint. I wonder how the Department could be more explicit about what teacher leadership and peer review actually look like. How can the Department advance incentives, infrastructure or models that develop and sustain the essence of teachers' stewardship of the profession?

I also wonder about the future of the Blueprint, its intersection with Race to The Top and the reauthorization of Elementary and Secondary Education Act (aka No Child Left Behind). What can the Department do to foster policy that engages the millions of teachers we already have in our classrooms?

Cultivating the Effective Hybrid Teachers

Effective teachers help students develop a love of life-long learning.  Do our school systems provide opportunities for teachers to effectively use their wondrous crafts? How can teacher effectiveness be enriched by the hybrid teaching role? 
Essentially, hybrid teachers spend part of their time in the classroom and part of their time in stewardship of the profession. But before we agree this is idea, we have to develop the infrastructure that supports and sustains hybrid teachers. Bruce Taterka and I will be facilitating a conversation about the hybrid teacher at this year's annual EduCon in Philadelphia. 
An abstract of our conversation follows:
In order for K-12 teachers to be more effective, we need opportunities to study the intersection of curriculum, instruction, assessment and policy. For example, as federal agencies call for more teacher research, and states design high-stakes standardized assessments of student growth, teachers need to be more involved with what goes in in schools and districts. One of the challenges we face is that many teachers already work 50 hours a week; where do we find the time we need to lead? Data from the 2013 Measures of Effective Teaching study also shows that teachers also seek opportunities to lead without leaving the classroom.
We'd love to hear more about your experiences with hybrid teaching. What experience do you have with hybrid teacher roles? What systems should be in place so that the hybrid teacher roles are effective and sustainable?