Last year my school was one of the early hosts for the IR Rounds program in the YRDSB. In advance of the onerous honour our staff was given a chance to discuss, develop and declare a COP or Challenge of Practice. Long story short and 5 revisions later, the COP has proven to be a nebulous entity capable of unceding a few minds. What I enjoyed more than the result, was the journey to exact a borderline Poli-sci version of deliberate conciliation among the 35 teachers and administrators turned idea lobbyists.
After reading the monograph I am struck by a couple of three things;
1. Education needs time to catch up with itself.
2. What’s good for one student is not always good for another.
3. Teachers need to be given consistent edifying leadership in order to implement authentic change.
As a newer teacher, I have already been through a few traumatic events in policy, curriculum changes and of course the whole antagonism by certain sectors of the public to top that unflavourful sundae. Through this I have observed the early adapters, the joiners and the resisters in the process as change rears its ugly, inevitable and necessary head. In the end change happens and I’m ok with it if the change is beneficial or built upon a solid foundation. So often education is hijacked by flavour of the month ideas that look amazing on paper and of course transform the learning spaces of all who buy in from the beginning. Yet, by the time the rest of the gang is brought up to speed there is already a movement afoot to bring in the next big “eduthing’. This cannot keep occurring without disenfranchising a number of people as time goes on.
Consider the day-to-day work that is necessary to bring the magic into the classroom each day? Now factor in PD, practice and propagation of another idea handed down from above without time and training to understand it? #TROUBLE
I love this from the document: “Road blocks, misunderstandings, and disappointments need to be recognized as important “moments of learning” for both individuals and teams.” I happily accept this and know that in areas where I offer leadership that this is the messiest, and usually most important part of the process as it forces all stakeholders to invest in the learning and foster a growth mindset that will affect change. My 3rd point speaks to the constant need for leadership to understand the process and to be able to differentiate their expectations to fit the needs of their staff and ultimately their students.
When it comes to Reading T-LCP boils down to this. Establishing a plan that is founded in data to move students along a continuum as learners that matches their strengths and starting points takes time, commitment, data and organization. It also requires teamwork. Did I mention time because it really does require time. Trusting that the ideas being adopted in education are at their altruistic best, meaning the authors do not have sinister motives. Then T-LCP can only serve to support the learning journeys of our students as well as our own.
Back to my title. If our challenge of practice is to move students towards improvement along a continuum of tasks and assessment markers it must be measurable in a variety of learner relevant methods that fit the student and not those conducting the assessments. Perhaps that is our real challenge of practice? Maybe we need to teach creating new neural pathways first?