This book is for educators who believe that schools need to be improved and are hopeful that real change can be achieved. The authors argue that if educators want to create more equitable, socially just, and learner-focused schools, then they need a more robust, transformational theory of school change—an UnCommon Theory. After describing the limits of current school improvement initiatives, the authors explain what is needed to actually engage in deeper school reinvention work. They take a deep dive into the most difficult work that school leaders do: questioning, rethinking, and reinventing the fundamental assumptions upon which our schools are built. The result is a practical book that provides readers with the knowledge and tools needed to do more than just tinker at the edges of school improvement.
In schools where coaching thrives, principals intentionally establish and maintain a building-wide atmosphere that encourages the adoption of coaching mindsets, with all educators thinking and working as leaders, facilitators, designers, and advocates (Bean & Ippolito, 2016). To help principals accomplish this feat, we offer a summary of non-negotiables for supporting coaching work. Because our background is primarily in literacy, we refer to this type of coaching most often, but the following Dos and Don'ts are applicable to coaching in other disciplines as well.
To transform teaching and learning in schools, and to reinvent our communities and ourselves, adopt the mindset of an instructional coach! Coaches approach their work with vulnerability, curiosity, and caring, and these habits of mind and ways of working have broad implications for how teachers, students, and citizens can mindfully approach their work.
Drawing on interviews with a diverse sample of teachers, this study uses the frame of professional identity to interpret the heterogeneity among teachers’ perceptions of professional development. Specifically, it examines how teachers’ “anchoring beliefs” might be reflected in or refracted by their accounts of powerful professional learning. An analysis of three case studies of teacher identity and teacher learning reveals three distinct “learning affinities”: for the what (content), the who (facilitation), and the with whom (community). This learning affinity framework may better model teachers’ experiences of professional development and thus could point the way toward improved research and design.