Teach, Reflect, Learn: Building Your Capacity for Success in the Classroom

Teach, Reflect, Learn: Building Your Capacity for Success in the Classroom

Teach, Reflect, Learn: Building Your Capacity for Success in the Classroom

Teach, Reflect, Learn: Building Your Capacity for Success in the Classroom

Synopsis

"It's not the doing that matters; it's the thinking about the doing," said John Dewey.As a teacher, you work hard to make a positive difference in the lives of your students. But this kind of progress doesn't happen overnight, and it doesn't happen accidentally. It's the result of intentionality, planning, effort... and thought. The difference between learning a skill and being able to implement it effectively resides in your capacity to engage in deep, continuous thought about that skill. In other words, recognizing why you do something is often more important than knowing how to do it. To help you deepen your thinking and reflect on your capacity as an educator, Pete Hall and Alisa Simeral return to the Continuum of Self-Reflection, which they introduced to coaches and administrators in their best-selling Building Teachers' Capacity for Success, and redesign its implementation so you can take charge of your own professional growth. In these pages, you'll find tools specifically made to enhance self-reflection on professional practice, including the Continuum of Self-Reflection and the Reflective Cycle. You'll be able to assess your current self-reflective tendencies, identify opportunities to reflect on your instruction, and begin to forge a path toward continuous growth and educational excellence.

Excerpt

“Building your capacity for success.” That’s quite a phrase, and it packs a significant wallop—in education and in life. We chose this title because we believe in the expansiveness of our individual and collective capacity. We view capacity not as a static measurement—say, how much capacity one’s heart has for blood—but as a dynamic element of improvement, or how much capacity one’s heart has for love (to continue the metaphor). Our capacity for success, like our capacity for love, knowledge, skill, excellence, learning, and growth, is limitless. And as we increase that capacity, we simultaneously increase our ability to affect the children with whom we work in positive ways.

Such was the case at Anderson Elementary School in Reno, Nevada, the site where we (the authors—Pete Hall and Alisa Simeral) first met and collaborated on a massive school turnaround project. In 2002, Anderson Elementary (with its diverse population, including 90 percent in poverty, 70 percent transient, and 60 percent ESL) was the only Title I school in Nevada to have failed to make its Adequate Yearly Progress goals for four consecutive years. Facing sanctions under the newly minted No Child Left Behind law, the school was bussing students to neighboring schools, carried a “Needs Improvement” label, was working with a state-directed school improvement team, and was assigned a brand-new principal. As Pete took the keys to the building, he was told quite plainly, “Good luck.”

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