Standard 6 Communication: Communicates regularly and effectively with colleagues, parents, and students through a variety of mediums.
Standard 7 Collaboration: Cooperates with other professionals to bridge gaps between schools and community and between departments/disciplines within schools.
Throughout the course, Communication and Collaboration, I learned the importance of creating a school community that involves the teacher as the learner. In order to bring about positive change for student learning and social justice in the school community, teacher leaders need to be a part of the learning process. Developing a trusting community where communication and collaboration is an ongoing process will allow teachers to feel safe in an environment that encourages teachers to take the lead. All teachers should have the opportunity to share their voice and contribute their knowledge while also learning from others. According to Zepeda (2012), “Teachers are professionals. Teachers grow, evolve, and emerge as professionals through the long-term and day-to-day work they do, and that is why job-embedded learning opportunities need to be the focal point of professional development efforts” (p.1).
Job-embedded learning may take various forms including lesson study, learning circles, critical friends groups, professional learning communities, book studies, professional coaching, designing a professional portfolio, or being a part of action research. Job embedded professional learning provides an opportunity for teachers to improve their teaching practice within the routine of the school day. Zepeda (2008) states, “Job-embedded learning is about learning from everyday practice as people learn by doing, reflecting on the experience, and making modifications based on the experience, the talk and the action of doing” (p. 76). A school might support this type of learning by building in opportunities for teachers to receive feedback and implement new knowledge into practice. Schools should prioritize building a community of trust so teachers feel confident to make their practice public and receive feedback that is constructive. Hirsh and Hord (2010) state, “In terms of achieving social justice, sharing power, authority, and decision making allows for all voices to be expressed- and counted-creating a place to initiate equity (p. 13). As an educator, I have had experiences with several types of job-embedded learning including professional coaching, book studies, professional learning communities, and the creation of portfolios that document both teacher and student growth. Throughout the course, I have expanded my knowledge on the key components that make these types of professional learning successful. Each type of professional learning focuses on teacher growth to improve student learning. Defour (2011) states, “A school staff must focus on learning rather than teaching, work collaboratively on matters related to learning, and hold itself accountable for the kind of results that fuel continued improvement” (p.162).
Prior to this course, workshops and staff meetings often came to mind when thinking about professional development. However, when job-embedded learning is implemented learning can take place in multiple settings and be a part of our daily teaching. It makes sense that the most powerful learning would happen in the context of our classrooms, where not only mentors and observers can provide feedback, but the students themselves. I have learned the value of strong teacher leaders in schools and their influence in bringing positive change to improve student learning. According to Cambron-McCabe & McCarthy (2011), school leaders need to have a critical perspective that asks these questions:
“What are we doing? Why are we doing it? What do we value? Why do we value what we do? How are our values evident or not evident in our practice? How is what we’re doing affecting all students? Is what we’re doing privileging one group over another? Is what we’re doing working for all students, why or why not? Are our practices transparent? Is our leadership transparent?” (p. 205)
With teacher leadership comes a need for trusting communities in which teachers feel safe to share their practice, analyze student data, share instructional strategies, and determine next steps for instruction. Each type of job-embedded learning requires teachers to be the researchers and to learn from other colleagues in a collaborative setting.
Below is a link to my final project that demonstrates my ability to utilize both communication and collaboration within my own professional community. My project outlines my current involvement in working collaboratively with my grade level professional learning community and school community. Artifacts are presented as examples of teacher collaboration and communication and provide evidence of both educator and student learning. My project addresses two school improvement goals focused on improving student learning and supporting positive behavior. It describes my efforts to involve parents and families and outlines my future plans to continue to work towards meeting both school improvement goals.
Final Project This artifact demonstrates my ability to take a leadership role and communicate with parents and families. It includes several exhibits, artifacts, and timelines that demonstrate evidence of communication and collaboration to improve student learning.
Please click this link for references: References