Lessening Teacher Isolation

May 21, 2018 | Author: Mike Dreiblatt | Views: 568 | Comments: 0

Lessening Teacher Isolation 
Do you think teachers are isolated from one another?  What is your school doing to bring teachers together?  Please share your thoughts with us.  Thanks.  Michael Dreiblatt

Part of my vision of education includes providing teachers and staff with resources so all students can learn and meet high standards. While recognizing that some students must overcome significant barriers, these obstacles should not be seen as insurmountable. All students should be offered an ambitious and rigorous course of study by teachers who know how to develop rigorous units of study, assess performance, evaluate what is being taught against the standards, and differentiate instruction to meet the needs of all learners. My vision of education emphasizes teachers using the most effective research-based teaching strategies and data to improve student achievement.   

According to Vescio, Ross, and Adams (2006), participation in learning communities impacts teaching practice as teachers become more student centered. In addition, teaching culture is improved because the learning communities increase collaboration, a focus on student learning, teacher authority or empowerment, and continuous learning. 

The term “reflection” is often thought of as a solitary and meditative process. In fact, analysis may be done alone—while listening to a recording of a committee meeting, watching ourselves teach on a videotape, or analyzing the contents and attitudes contained in our memos.

Hefner (2011) states that reflective teaching means “looking at what you do in the classroom, thinking about why you do it, and thinking about if it works - a process of self-observation and self-evaluation” (p. 27). By collecting information about what goes on in the classroom and analyzing and evaluating this information, the teacher can identify and explore his/her own practices and underlying beliefs. This may then lead to changes and improvements in teaching (Navaneedhan, C. G., 2011).

Teacher isolation has been observed to lessen when all staff members feel more accountable regarding their instructional practices as well as student achievement.  The research seems to indicate, when every person within the professional learning community has a sense of responsibility to the collective, teachers and staff members feel a deeper sense of commitment. (Newmann and Wehlage,1995) Given, et al. (2010) support shared responsibility as a means to dialogue about strategies to improve teaching and increase student learning.

Wagner (2007) proclaims:
Educators work alone more than any other professionals in modern America. Most professions have come to recognize the value of teamwork as a better way to understand and solve the ‘problems of practice.’ . . . Fortunately, there appears to be new interest in forms of collaboration among educators. . . . Professional learning communities are increasingly popular. (p. 47)

Conversations about serious educational and learning issues are part of the continuous reflective dialogue in professional learning communities. Reflective professional inquiry includes conversations about the presentation of new curriculum. Teachers frequently examine each other’s teaching practices. Teachers make observations in other teachers’ classrooms and then discuss the practices they have observed and analyze what is likely to work in their own teaching environments. School staff must take action to create high intellectual learning objectives. When they encounter problems, they must be able to develop solutions to address student needs. Reflective professional inquiry between teaching colleagues enables the group to develop these solutions (Newmann & Wehlage, 1995; Hipp & Huffman, 2002).

Do you think teachers are isolated from one another?  What is your school doing to bring teachers together?  Please share your thoughts with us.  Thanks.  Michael Dreiblatt

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