If you want to be a master teacher, you have to be a master learner. George Couros
Teachers Need to Study and Practice New Teaching Moves
Teachers need sustained time to learn about — and then practice — new instructional moves in the context of PD. Providing teachers a meaningful opportunity to practice a new teaching move is not typical of most PD, so requires some real planning on the part of PD leaders.
First, in order to improve their practices, teachers need a really clear vision of what they are going for. For example, teachers who have seen many examples of master teachers setting up writing conferences in their classrooms are more likely to adopt that model of writing conferences with their students. We need to help teachers understand both the nature of the new practice and why enacting that practice matters for student learning.
There are a variety of ways to help teachers develop more sophisticated visions:
Teachers Need to Try Out New Practices
In order to enact more challenging practices, teachers need to:
- Study models of effective practice;
- Break those examples down into their constituent parts;
- Rehearse those new practices in situations of reduced complexity.
The cycle of learning is a framework to think about the necessary steps teachers engage in as they learn new teaching practices. Once teachers have a clear vision of the new practice, and a chance to investigate why that new practice matters, teachers need to try it out with support from a more expert colleague.