Transformational Learning and Leadership
Chapter: Teacher Growth

Learning Bets

We began this paper with WHY we’re in this work — the spirit of transformational learning and leadership and contextual visions (and WHO decides that and how). We’ve discussed and seen examples of WHAT transformational classrooms are showing us about what’s possible when teachers, children, and families are on a mission together to pursue broadened opportunities for kids. We have much to learn and much, much more progress to make in these areas. But it does beg the question…

HOW do we support and develop many more teachers who are pursuing with students and families vision-aligned transformational outcomes? 

Steven Farr, Senior Director of The Global Learning Lab at Teach For All, and others convened a Roundtable of practitioners and experts on teacher development to discuss this question. Here’s a preview from Steven:

“Why, if we are learning so much about what is required to lead transformational classrooms, are we not seeing many more teachers leading more student progress?

This ‘provocation paper’ explores one possible answer to that question:  we are inhibiting the progress of screen-shot-2016-10-13-at-9-37-41-pmour students by perpetuating lack of clarity and purpose in how we grow our teachers.  When and how should our teachers be reading, watching, practicing, reflecting, analyzing, discovering, imagining, writing, or questioning?  How do we choose among the infinitely varied ways that we can support our teachers to grow?

In the provocation paper you will find experiences and insights informed and inspired by those experts and practitioners.  You’ll be asked to “take a stand” on different assumptions we are all making (often without thinking about them) about how we grow teachers.  You’ll reflect on what factors are influencing your current “learning bets.”   You’ll be asked to consider your organization’s identity, some of the field’s best practices, and your own practical realities to help make your learning bets with teachers more intentional, clear and explicit.  You’ll be asked to explore ways some other organizations are considering those questions.

This provocation paper is a series of disorienting experiences and emerging insights that we hope will help teacher developers make more intentional choices as they work to support and grow transformational teachers.

We—and the broader education landscape—share a problem.  Our assumptions about how our teachers grow are often implicit, unclear, contradictory, and unexamined.  At the same time, we in the Teach For All network have have an unparalleled opportunity.  Teach For All and its network of innovative, entrepreneurial, learning organizations is well positioned to be a catalyst and clearinghouse for learning how we can best grow transformational learners and leaders.”

Engage with the provocation paper here.

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