Teacher resources and professional development across the curriculum

Teacher professional development and classroom resources across the curriculum

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Critical Issues in School Reform


I N N O V A T I O N S  I N
P R O F E S S I O N A L  C O L L A B O R A T I O N

A Community of Learners

I. About the Program | II. On-Line Activities | III. Viewer Activities | IV. Resources


A Viewers' Workshop

The following workshop is designed for educators interested in viewing the video in preparation for an ongoing discussion of collaborative professional practice. This outline can readily be adapted to your particular situation. For example, the questions in parts 1 and 2 can be used for a more general discussion of the video.

Part 1: Preparing to Watch the Video (15 minutes)

Before viewing the video, invite participants to discuss a few of the following questions:

  • How do you describe collegiality?
  • How is collegiality different from congeniality?
  • What could be the benefits of developing collegial relationships within a school?

Part 2: Watching the Video (30 minutes)

Ask participants to consider the following questions as they watch the video. Make it clear that these questions will be discussed after the video.

  • In what ways were the Souhegan teachers collegial?
  • What particular behaviors would you consider collegial?

Part 3: Discussing the Issues Raised in the Video (45-60 minutes)

The purpose of this discussion is to gain a deeper understanding of the video and the issues it presents and to begin considering the implications of these issues for work in your school.

Ensuring a Good Conversation:
A Few Basic Groundrules
  • Identify a facilitator and a timekeeper.
  • Set norms for the discussion. Be sure all participantshave an opportunity to understand and agree to these norms. They may want to add others.
  • Focus on the video and the discussion in it. Refer to specific examples from the video in your discussion.
  • Build on what others say.
  • Listen carefully and do not "step on" one another's talk.
  • Converse -- no need to raise your hand, but don't interrupt either.
  • Expose and challenge your own assumptions.
  • Watch your airtime.

Present or elicit several focus questions for the discussion. Here are some suggestions.

  • In what ways were the Souhegan teachers collegial? What specific behaviors would you consider collegial? Why?
  • What does it look like when skills of collegiality and of professional community are embedded in the culture of a school? How does language change? What is the atmosphere like?
  • How is what you saw in the film different from ways you have received feedback (or given feedback to) colleagues?
  • What are the skills of a good "colleague"? What do colleagues need to know and be able to do to be effective in providing feedback to one another?
  • How can schools arrange the professional life of adults so that they can learn how to be collegial members of a professional community? How do you imagine a faculty might go from "conversations at the copier" to creating and sustaining a culture of collaboration in the school?
  • What difference do these types of conversations among faculty make for students? Is there evidence in the video of students benefiting form the adult conversations? What is the evidence of the value of adult collaboration on improved student learning?

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