Monday, 8 December 2014

Professional Capital (Hargreaves and Fullan)

I've been asked by my principal to read and discuss Professional Capital by Andy Hargreaves and Michael Fullan.  Our first book discussion meeting was this morning and we talked about the first two chapters.

So far, I agree with a couple of sentiments that Hargreaves and Fullan has shared, such as:
  • "To teach like a a personal commitment to rigorous training, continuous learning, collegial feedback, respect for evidence, responsiveness to parents, striving for excellence and going far beyond the requirements of any written contract." (page xiv)
  • "Thus, fear, force, and financial short-sightedness won't get you a high-quality teaching profession brimming with human, social, and decisional capital! So what will?" (page 7)
  • "Joe Blase and Jo Blase...are the most virulent critics of principals who exercise power their teachers and who silence them by playing off teachers against each other, handing out undesirable rooms and assignments to their critics, reneging on promotions they promised in exchange for their teachers' compliance" (page 8)
But for the most part, I disagree with Hargreaves and Fullan. Especially statements like:
  • "But teaching like a pro, day in, day out, cannot be sustained unless all your colleagues teach like pros too." (xiv)
  • "So let's concentrate our efforts not on bigger budgets, smaller classes, changing the curriculum, or altering the size of schools - but on procuring and producing the best teachers we can get It's as simple as that -isn't it?" (page 13)
So far, Professional Capital reads like a manual for administrators.  Don't worry about cutbacks.  It's okay for class sizes to be large because at the end of the day, teachers need to take on the challenge and be the pros.  As you can imagine, I disagree with this.  There is no easy cookie cutter approach.  In my mind, teachers need to be treated as individuals just like we treat our students as individuals.

Next week, chapters 3 and 4. 

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