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INBOX Ideas - Previous Revision

Finding the Time to Renew and Grow
from NCTE INBOX 5-15

During Linda Darling-Hammond's keynote speech at the NCTE 2011 Annual Convention, she reminded the audience that the highest achieving educational systems in the world improve student learning by recognizing teachers' professional expertise and by supporting their ongoing learning and collaboration. Read more about Darling-Hammond's thoughts in "The Need for Teacher Communities." Further information on this and related topics can be found in the NCTE Policy Research Briefs on Teacher Learning Communities and Communities of Practice.

NCTE, through the National Center for Literacy Education (NCLE), is working to support locally based teams of educators in their efforts to strengthen literacy teaching and learning in every discipline.

The authors of "Teaching English Together: Leadership through Collaboration" describe findings and implications from a study they conducted on a collaborative student teaching model. They found that there are a few basic measures that school leaders can take to promote that collaboration.

"On a Quest for New Discoveries: Effective Professional Development," a themed issue of Voices from the Middle, offers resources and highlights how each of the authors in this issue found value in a different context for their own professional growth. In "Regaining Momentum: Teacher Inquiry as Ongoing Professional Development," a classroom teacher reflects on the benefits of professional development leading to improved and energized student writing. The support of a teacher inquiry group as ongoing professional development provided the impact needed to effect significant change in both teacher practice and student learning.

"Can Online Learning Communities Foster Professional Development?" posits enhancing professional development through digital tool use to create professional learning communities (PLCs) designed to support collective inquiry and action research leading to schoolwide improvement.

Collaborative teams tend to plan strategically, keeping specific target outcomes in mind and planning together a course of instruction that offers the strongest potential for students to attain goals. Read more in "Mentoring as Collaborative Effort" (S).

"Professional Development That Mingles Word Wizards and Number Crunchers" describes a summer institute which showed that teachers need professional development that provides the opportunity to team with others (different disciplines, different grade levels, different ranges of experiences) in an environment that encourages team exploration.

In "Writing as Teacher Leadership," the authors worked to form a professional writing group, one that worked together to discover that the experiences they had in their classrooms, schools, and communities could benefit others. Their writing then became "an exercise of responsible leadership" and these teachers shared their knowledge and experience through journal articles, lesson plans, messages to the school board, and a monthly newspaper column.

Are you interested in sharing your writing about teaching, classrooms, students, and pedagogy? NCTE publishes ten professional journals, including at least one for each membership section. Volunteer editors ensure that the peer-reviewed content is of the highest quality and is relevant to the lives of NCTE members and subscribers. Learn more about submitting to NCTE journals. Have a lesson plan or teaching ideas to share? Contact!

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NCTE - The National Council of Teachers Of English

A Professional Association of Educators in English Studies, Literacy, and Language Arts