Teachers21 believes that the specific skills, strategies and stances required to foster improved and inspired learning can be developed by all adults and, through their modeling and teaching, by all students.
Improved and inspired learning requires attention to four basic building blocks.
- Reflective Learning Culture: a psychologically-safe environment that promotes non-defensive self examination
- Strategic Alignment and Coherence: shared vision and responsibility for outcomes
- Continuous Improvement Process: a commitment to continually assess, plan, act, and learn from one's actions
- Skillful Practice: the knowledge and skills to teach, team, lead and learn
The Fractal Nature of Schools
The fractal nature of schools is such that these building blocks can be seen in the most effective classrooms, the most effective schools and the most effective districts. Through our work, Teachers21 strives to model and strengthen these fundamentals for all adult learners: district leadership, school leadership, and ultimately every classroom practitioner.
Establishing a Reflective Learning Culture entails engendering trust and safety through listening, constructive feedback and honest dialog, in order to promote and support a growth mindset regarding all learners.
Strategic Alignment and Coherence requires defining and articulating a vision and core values for which all adults share ownership and which guide how resources are deployed.
Best practices are just probabilities and not all learners are alike; actions must be assessed as the basis for ongoing learning and refinement through a Continuous Improvement Process.
Professionals must demonstrate Skillful Practice by knowing the technical aspects of their role, being able to adapt their teaching strategies to meet the needs of learners, and teaming collaboratively to maximize impact.
Improved and Inspired Learning
School improvement is the mantra of today's education landscape, but it can and should mean different things to different teachers, school leaders and district leaders depending on their circumstances. Even our best performing schools can improve at many aspects of their work, while our poorest performing often are required to by state mandates. Guided by data and the school and district's values, identifying what to improve, developing a strategy, and then measuring progress is the responsibility of all stakeholders.
Short-term improvement in outcomes is not enough, however. Long-term improvement requires all members of a school or district to be constant learners. Furthermore, learners must be inspired, whether by a teacher or leader, by a goal or by the application of knowledge. As Michael Barber suggests, while "one can mandate adequacy, greatness must be unleashed." Teachers21 believes that teachers must inspire their students to want to learn and that leaders must inspire teachers to see the possibilities for their students and themselves.
Our approach is to improve and inspire adult learning through our workshops and programs, providing the tools and strategies by which those educators can better serve and inspire their students. Our work is aimed at raising new questions and complicating your thinking. In a world where the only constant is change, educators must embrace continual learning and be willing to adapt their teaching accordingly.