We are use to classrooms where there is one person who total responsibility is to deliver instruction. We are so accustomed to this that we are constantly being programmed to think this way. We attend many professional developments where the presenter models this method and we see our own administrator conducting meeting and professional developments at the school level the same way. I know from experience traditional meeting and professional developments are necessary because of time.Tuesday I attend the South Carolina Middle School Leadership Reading Initiative meeting in Columbia with a small group of teachers, administrator, and reading coach for a one day workshop. This was the third time I had attended such meeting. Plus there were over 200 educators in this conference room.
During the six hour workshop, we learned a discussion strategy, analyzed regional data, read and discussed an article on change, and worked toward an action plan for change at our school. (And we had a great lunch.) In retrospect, individually we could have done all this one hour or though traditional pedagogy, a master teacher could have presented the material to us in an hour and half and then sent us home.
But instead, we slowed the process down and scaffold the agenda to allow thinking, analyzing, synthesizing, conversation, and reflection. Great classroom pedagogy was modeled from our two facilitators. A teacher from another school made the shocking comment about the day being a waste of time and how the content could have been delivered in one hour. That is all true, but that would not have allowed time for real learning. I never would have been allowed to share my ideas and my thoughts. My thoughts and ideas would never have been challenged or tested by hearing comments from others at my table. My learning never would have been enriched by the thoughts and conversations of others. I left the conference with lots to think about and hopefully the teacher who made this comment to me will have time to rethink about what she learned during the day.
Two days later I am still thinking about the article we read on Tuesday titled Leading Transition: A New Model for Change by William Bridges and Susan Michell. Now I have Bridges and Michells words to think about along with two administrators, three teachers, and two reading coaches to learn from.