Friday, October 25, 2013

Teacher Leadership Challenge | October 25, 2013

Screen Shot 2013-08-31 at 5.01.03 PMThis is a multipart series of posts intended to help teachers grow their leadership practice and ignite conversations about education online and in person. The goal of a teacher leader is to improve the learning of all students through their efforts, collaboration, and influence. The 2014 Teacher Leadership Challenge is a weekly installment activity that poses a prompt on an educational topic or issue. Your challenge is to respond within one week to the prompt via a post you publish to your blog. Responses to the prompt that you publish to your own blog should be around 500 words or less. The aim is to get more teachers thinking globally about their classroom practice and their own connection to the wider education community. You can subscribe to this blog to get the weekly challenge sent automatically by email.

You can share your post to Twitter using #TLC2014 and spark conversation with educators. In addition to posting on your own blog, you can elect to include your post in the weekly collection showcase blog. To do this, simply email your completed response post to the showcase, at Make sure that you include the title of your post with the week of the prompt for proper tagging (e.g., "My Post Title | September 6, 2013") in the subject line (without "re:") of your email, and the full post laid out in paragraphs in the body of the email. Posts are automatically published from sending the email. You can embed images and URLs into the body of your email, and the post will publish while maintaining your formatting and layout. Check out others' responses in the response collection or on Google+ each week, leave them your comments, and get the conversation rolling ahead for teacher leadership.

This Week's Challenge:

How is your personal philosophy of education demonstrated in your teaching style?

IMG_6341What do you believe is the purpose of education? Why should students learn to read and write, understand foreign languages, or know about history? What reason is there for schools to exist, especially given all the wealth of information and knowledge available online for free?

As teachers, we all have beliefs about the purpose of education and our roles as teachers. For some, teaching is the ultimate opportunity to impact the lives of others, while for others it is the chance to communicate a subject area passion. Whether we do it consciously or not, we all infuse our personal philosophy of teaching, learning, and education into the decisions we make as educators on a regular basis. It also shapes the rewards we derive from teaching and can influence the way in which we view some of the challenges in the teaching profession.

Some educators believe that students learn best when they have the opportunity to construct understanding for themselves through guided experiences. For others, a great storyteller is necessary to explain things in a way that students can understand. Yet another view holds that students can learn best through an apprenticeship model of teaching and learning, where students watch it, then do it, and come to know it with a teacher who demonstrates well. Should learning be something that is active or passive for students? Does the role of a teacher to accomplish student learning outcomes center on behaviors and actions, or on thinking and metacognition? What should a teacher be doing to facilitate learning in their classroom?

According to some researchers, there are multiple teaching styles with which educators may identify. Is your teaching style subject-centered, student-centered, or teacher-centered? From where does the authority of teaching stem in your classroom? How do you design lessons to accomplish your goals as a teacher and your learning outcomes for students? If we can articulate our philosophy of education, we can more deliberately refine our instructional practice to accomplish our goals; conversely, if we identify the actions we take as teachers in the classroom, it might reveal more about our educational philosophy than we ever knew. Think about it: How do your classroom decisions or actions reflect your philosophy on education?