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INBOX Ideas - Previous Revision

How are professional collaboration and student literacy learning connected?
NCTE INBOX 3-26-13

Right now there is much we know about educator collaboration. Teacher learning communities, teacher teams, communities of practice: no matter what name it is given, NCTE recognizes the importance of professional learning groups as places where teachers can grow in their instructional skills and develop creative, effective teaching strategies by collaborating with colleagues.

When Linda Darling-Hammond gave a keynote speech at the 2011 NCTE 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 on “The Need for Teacher Communities.”

Maria Ott, Superintendent of the Rowland Unified School District, describes in this video what communities of practice look like in her system and how they impact both teacher and student learning.

The Flint Hills Writing Project’s importance to Robin Seglem and her students is at the heart of “Creating a Circle of Learning: Teachers Taking Ownership through Professional Communities.”

In “School Leadership Teams: Extending the Reach of School Based Literacy Coaches" (E), NCTE member Denise N. Morgan joins Christy M. Clonts and the Swansea Primary School Leadership Team to write about how the team brought the faculty and the school into dialogue to critique and transform their current literacy practices and work toward developing a common vision, beliefs, and a shared language within the school.

Learning Forward shares protocols for conversation that lead to shared understandings and ongoing talk among educators and school leaders that can foster meaningful relationships and contribute to improved teaching and learning.

“We were in this together, however, and we knew the team approach makes risky ventures possible,” say the authors of “Technology That Powers Up Learning.”

In “Can Online Learning Communities Foster Professional Development?” NCTE member Richard Beach suggests that teachers use the time and tools they have to participate in digital professional learning communities (PLCs).

In “Teacher Inquiry for Equity: Collaborating to Improve Teaching and Learning,” members Linda Friedrich and Marilyn McKinney describe how the Teacher Research Collaborative (TRC), a three-year national project, brought together educators to explore how collaborative teacher inquiry might address educational inequities faced by students.

Adventures in Team Teaching: Integrating Communications into an Engineering Curriculum” from Teaching English in the Two-Year College (C) recounts how a communications and an engineering department instituted a team-teaching venture to supplement engineering students’ communication skills in that discipline.

In “Mentoring as Collaborative Effort,” NCTE member Tom McCann writes about the importance of collaborative teams of new and experienced teachers: “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. While teachers who plan in relative isolation work conscientiously, they are less inclined to express in detail the kind of learning they want to result from their instruction."

NCLEThe National Center for Literacy Education (NCLE), a project of NCTE in collaboration with 30 other stakeholders, conducted a survey to establish a national baseline for the use of effective professional collaboration around literacy learning and to document the most critical needs. Findings from the survey will be released at an April 3rd event. That day will also be the start of a movement from knowledge to action, taking what we learned from the survey to build an agenda for supporting professional collaboration to elevate literacy learning. Look for the report on the Literacy Learning Exchange after 11a.m.ET on April 3.



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