Sunday, 14 December 2014

Professional Capital Ch3/4 (Hargreaves and Fullan)

Another week, another couple of chapters of Professional Capital read.  This week's challenge was to find two quotes to discuss.  My two quotes are:

1. "If you want to change teaching, you have to understand it, and very often appreciate it.  You have to understand the teachers who are responsible for the teaching - what motivates them and makes them tick" (page 42).

It's so important to understand each teacher individually and his/her approach to teaching.  When collaborating with my colleagues, I recognize that I have to differentiate the co-planning.  Some teachers need every single little detail hammered out while others are more organic and want students to have a say in the direction of the work.  It's also important to remember that each teacher is at different stages in his/her career.  For example, with student teachers I stress that they not do a PBL project in their practicum because they don't really know the curriculum yet.  Indeed, I don't think PBL should be taken on until a teacher has taught the course for a few years and really understands the big questions that frame the curriculum.  Hargreaves and Fullan talk about this again throughout chapter four, especially when they talk about the phases of a teacher's career.

2. "the disenchanted - people who have invested themselves heavily in two or three major change efforts only to see the rug pulled from under their feet every time because the focus shifted, the resources were withdrawn, or the leaders and champions of change moved on" (page 66).

This is not necessarily the most important quote from chapter four but it is the one that speaks to me the most.  In our school district we have had an incredible number of district initiatives come down the pipe (each with its own acronym) as well as an unbelievable amount of administrative shuffles.  We just heard the announcement that our VP of 14 months is moving into a principal-ship.  We've gone through this enough in the last few years that we know that once an administrator has found out about the new job, his/her attention is at that new school.  Delaying the move doesn't help anyone involved.  Another factor that the authors mentioned, the loss of resources, is also something we have seen a lot of recently.  Last year we had funding for collaborative release time and this year we don't.  But this year have 8 support blocks which we've been told probably won't happen next year.  Funding was also found this year to run Homework Club before and after school once term one ended.  I agree, it is easy to become disenchanted when all the other parts of the school and system are changing around the stable teacher force that doesn't have a say in the change.

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