Academic journal article Phi Delta Kappan

Time for Everyone's Learning

Academic journal article Phi Delta Kappan

Time for Everyone's Learning

Article excerpt

Larry Cuban writes thoughtfully in this issue of Kappan about why proposals to fix school time haven't had more impact. I want to suggest another reason: Perhaps proposals about changing the school day haven't gained more traction because they've been incomplete. Too often, they overlook the need to provide more time for professional learning and to use that time effectively to improve student learning.

I'm not advocating more time for workshops or more money to hire external consultants--although both of those approaches have value when used correctly in support of a coherent and aligned plan for professional learning developed in response to student learning goals. What I do want is recognition that an educator's work day and a child's school day are not synonymous. Districts must provide time for educators to work, plan, and learn away from students so they'll be prepared to provide the high-quality instruction we want for all children.

Many schools and districts have already figured out how to adjust schedules to create late-start Mondays or early-release Wednesdays. They've aligned "specials" to create blocks of time for elementary school teachers to meet in grade-level groups. But too often school leaders have stopped there and have failed to ensure that this time is used wisely in the service of improving student learning.

I want teachers to have time to observe each other teaching--and to learn from the feedback of their colleagues. I want time for them to learn one-on-one with a coach or with a mentor. …

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