Recently in Getting Smart, Michael Niehoff wrote about 10 transformational practices that educators can lead. Excerpts of the piece appear below:
If educators allow politicians, researchers and pundits to take charge of the evolution in education, it will be delayed and implemented with less clarity. It’s time for teachers to be change agents, thus owning the profession.
Following are 10 things that educators should do:
1. We (teachers) need to claim and lead the professional standards of our profession.
2. Teaching has always been a community-oriented profession. The only way to have an impact on students and learning is for us to be integrated into the community.
3. We need to work at being creative. It’s like everything else—it has to be a focus and an ongoing effort. We have to continually reimagine our instruction, curriculum and profession.
4. We need to view ourselves as focused on relationships. Teaching is not primarily about curriculum. It’s about connections.
5. We have to be advocates for all things education—funding, technology, autonomy, professional development, policy and more. But perhaps most importantly, we all need to be the ultimate advocates for young people.
6. As part of our role as consummate professionals, we need to embrace professional development as a universal foundation of education. We cannot preach lifelong learning to students and not live it ourselves.
7. With the world becoming more project-based, there is really no excuse not to design curriculum for our current students based on their needs, interests and input. In a deeper learning culture, our curriculum is all things the universe has to offer (websites, blogs, books, higher education sites, local experts, business partners and more).
8. To be brilliant, we need one another. Collaboration can be with colleagues at our sites and all over the world thanks to social media. But we also need to take a larger view of collaboration. We need to collaborate with students, parents, community members, business leaders, politicians, volunteers, experts, professionals, and others.
9. Change is inherent in learning, and we need to model it. We should continually push for experimentation, risk-taking, and new approaches, ideas, skills, levels of mastery, models, and designs.
10. We need to understand the quickly changing dynamics of our new globalized economy and digital planet. We need to regularly study the trends, the data and the innovators.