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Posts: 83
Reply with quote  #16 
I think that collaboration needs to be greatly improved.  I believe that "collaboration" gets quite a bit of lip-service where I am, but is portrayed as everyone teaching the exact same lesson at the exact same time in the exact same style, and the idea of teachers from different disciplines working together isn't heard of.  I believe our grade level, and our school as a whole, would be stronger by collaborating in ways that would tie all disciplines together, while giving individuals space to teach the same objectives in their own style. 

Posts: 12
Reply with quote  #17 
I think is the biggest missing factor that I would like to encourage at my school is "collaboration" in order to have a "school that works for kids." Sometimes during team collaboration teachers do not what to share their ideas or what works for them. I think the more that teachers share their ideas and successes it only increases the "teamwork" and success for the students. A teacher might have an idea that another teacher has never thought about. Sometimes I think co-workers feel threated about change. I don't think that the same lesson works every year there must be differentiation.
Cheryl Rene Ferguson

Posts: 37
Reply with quote  #18 
Flexibility is definitely a component that I would like to see added in my department at the college I work at. While it's nice that we all give the same assignments and tests, we don't have the flexibility to add our own assignments or give quizzes. I flip the classroom, which is not common where I teach, and would like to have the flexibility to hold students more accountable for watching their videos by counting notes/quizzes/class activities towards their grade but as of right now I am not able to do that.

Posts: 89
Reply with quote  #19 

Of the components mentioned in chapter 2, I think the biggest missing factor in our school is autonomy and ownership.  Reading the section on autonomy and ownership reminded me a lot of previous book circles that centered on project-based learning programs and the growth mindset mentality, which I believe are wonderful ideas to implement in the classroom. Believing you can learn anything, taking ownership in your learning, having access to true problem-solving opportunities, tailoring/making available a variety of learning opportunities for students’ to master a particular set of objectives is practically a guarantee that students will retain the knowledge we are passing on.  For so long, teachers have to taught the middle with limited modifications for lower level and higher level learners. This does not foster intrinsic motivation! Incorporating strategies that increase ownership in each lesson would. I really like the idea of the Genius Hour to guide students into knowing how to research and learn about a particular topic or idea.


Posts: 70
Reply with quote  #20 
One of the missing components in our school is Modeling.  I am currently subbing but looking to go back into teaching full-time in a couple years.  Having been out of the classroom for a few years, I really need to see good teachers "in action."  I love watching teachers succeed with new lessons or using new technology in the classroom, but oftentimes I (and other teachers) don't see that because we're not in the room with the teacher.  I actually did have opportunities to watch teachers and help out as needed when I was not needed the entire day as a sub.  This was a great learning experience for me!  I kept a notebook where I wrote down effective lessons and strategies, and I revisited them when I would do lesson plans.  So much of teaching is somewhat isolated - one teacher plus students in a room, and other teachers don't get to see what other teachers are doing.  I think this goes hand in hand with collaboration, in that everyone needs to work together to make a successful school and have students succeed.  Teachers need to share their best practices with each other so that everyone can learn together (teachers and students!) to be successful.

Posts: 148
Reply with quote  #21 
After being on a campus for 20 years, I will be moving from my beloved elementary to the middle school for my district.  I am unaware of what the district and the new principal expect or demand from the staff.  I hope that they will encourage the staff to use modeling and the practice of removing fear of failure, and promote risk taking.  I have taught growth mindset in my classes for the past two years, and have seen where the removal of failure has been the inner motivation that some students needed.  The thought that failing was just a learning lesson instead of reflecting that they are dumb or failures themselves is an awesome lesson and feeling that they have learned.

Posts: 6
Reply with quote  #22 

I have been out of the classroom for a while, but looking back on my teaching experiences, autonomy is a factor I would have liked to encourage to create a "school that works for kids." Sheninger writes of the benefits to students who experience autonomy and ownership of learning -- greater engagement, more positive emotionality, greater retention, higher academic achievement, and more (p. 20). These benefits make sense when I consider my own favorite learning experiences in school; those where I had choices in how I demonstrated learning were always more engaging than those where I was given strict parameters to meet.

Unfortunately, as a new teacher, I wasn't prepared to give up the control that I would have needed to give up in order to create opportunities for my students to exercise autonomy over their learning. I can recall social studies and reading units where I could have allowed for student-driven inquiry, but certainly my lessons and many shared by other teachers on campus were teacher-centered. Creating space for student-driven inquiry was definitely a missing factor on my campus, and I think we would have seen more engaged learners had we focused on giving students more autonomy.


Posts: 65
Reply with quote  #23 
I am currently not teaching, but I think the idea of "autonomy & ownership" would be a great one to implement! I always saw students thrive when they took ownership of their work, were allowed to differentiate based on their interests/intelligences, and when the projects were student-centered! These types of projects were much more interesting than skill & drill worksheets. And, like he mentioned in the first chapter, they are more real world applicable projects that encourage creativity and product presentation, etc. I agree with what he said in the second chapter though. As a teacher, these types of projects involve digging deep into our own creativity and can be scary to try and implement. It's always hard to take a risk, knowing that you might fail & everyone around you (including possibly the administration) will notice your failure-- especially when the thing you are most judged on is test scores. It's much easier to fall into "safe teaching" and teach toward achievement on a test. However, it is definitely to the students' benefit to do more inquiry based projects/learning. 

Posts: 11
Reply with quote  #24 
At my campus, the catchphrase is "own your learning," so I believe that ownership and autonomy are great components to be explored with our students. With this in mind, flexibility is another component that would help in the success of implementation, giving students the ability to truly own their learning through project-based teaching and the flexibility of scheduling for longer periods needed when students are actually caught up in the learning.

Posts: 42
Reply with quote  #25 
I believe the things that needs to be added more to schools is modeling. I believe that teachers are the base to the school and therefore need to be the best they can at all times. To achieve this, I believe modeling is required to show teachers successful teaching strategies and top of the line classroom equipment. I am a visual person so when I always enjoy when I can observe a teacher and "model" some of the strategies into my own classroom.

Posts: 67
Reply with quote  #26 

As a new teacher, I would’ve loved the ability to observe my team teachers more.  I recall being allowed to do that maybe twice, and both of those times were near the end of the school year.  It would’ve been far more helpful to do so earlier in the school year.  I would’ve also appreciated having someone from my team come observe me and give me constructive feedback – instead of just having unhelpful principal observations.  The school also didn’t have a very empowering mindset.  Administration was in place to be feared and not to help. 


Posts: 12
Reply with quote  #27 
Of the components mentioned in chapter 2, which do you think is the biggest missing factor you would like to encourage your school to add in order to have a "school that works for kids?" And, why?

“With these essential elements in place, changes will become embedded components of a transformational school culture where uncommon learning is the norm, not the exception” (Sheninger, p. 35)

Learning in an online environment is already uncommon. Most students learn in a brick and mortar school. Since I teach online I am in a situation on my own most of the time, so I would like more face to face interaction with other teachers in order to learn new techniques to make lessons more engaging for kids.
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