If you actually look like your passport photo, you aren’t well enough to travel. ~ Sir Vivian Fuchs
For the last few years I have been working with others in my school on a consciously-developed, research-based and teacher-driven model for teacher growth and professional collaboration. Our work over the research and pilot years has been based in some central assumptions around learning, school change and leadership: that all teachers have the capacity for reflection and growth; that going slowly and deliberately will result in more positive roll-out; that leadership is distributed; and that leaders are responsible for facilitating the self-driven self-managed learning of others, rather than telling, advising and solving.
Pleasingly, our work so far seems to be fostering that which it originally set out to cultivate by:
- developing a common language for and shared understanding of ‘good teaching’;
- strengthening professional culture by connecting teachers across the school, and by formalising professional conversations about teaching practice;
- depersonalising classrooms, with teachers more open to and familiar with having others in their lessons;
- providing a formalised process of reflection which is meaningful to teachers, allowing them to improve their teaching and develop their capacity for reflection while honouring their individuality and respecting their capabilities; and
- supporting teachers as leaders and experts, both in their collaboration with others and in their own capacity for self-reflection and growth.
Our experience continues to be that our work on teacher growth has subtle immeasurable ‘butterfly effects’ across our teaching, relationships and communities.
As I explained in my very first post and another post, I now have the privilege of traveling to New York in order to gain some international insights for our Australian work.
Sitting in the departure lounge at Sydney International Airport I am reflecting upon what I might find during my time in New York visiting educators, researchers, trailblazers and edu-organisations. It’s time to ride on a big jet plane and find out.