“Drive” and Professional Learning

How can we use “Motivation 3.0” to improve teaching?

Teachers in districts around the country with revamped evaluation and compensation systems will soon be getting performance pay bonuses, checks that can amount to several thousand dollars based on their students value-added scores. Others will get “the fear of God” when their scores come back low. Will this motivate improved performance? If not, what will?

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Genuine Teacher Leadership: What Does it Take?

There are a large number of organizations right now promoting something called, “teacher leadership.” Groups like America Achieves & Teach Plus run competitive fellowship programs, largely focused on policy. Educators 4 Excellence (E4E) is sort of a pro-reform teachers association as an alternative to unions. There are even district/state embedded roles like those facilitated by Leading Educators through its district partnerships, which support half-time teaching, half-time coaching hybrid positions, allowing teachers to lead while staying in the classroom.

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Max Wagner
Can Common Core Revive Professional Development?

“Repeat after me:  ‘I will…think…critically.’”  Sounds like a joke, unless you’ve watched this video (recently posted by this blog). In an image reminiscent of the satirical PD scene from The Wire, Season 4, teachers in a Chicago “PD” session are asked to parrot the presenter in unison. What might not be immediately apparent in the Chicago video is that the words that the teachers are repeating are taken from the Common Core State Standards.  The irony is that the Common Core asks students to be critical thinkers, who can read complex texts, write analytically, and understand math both conceptually and fluently.  Despite the fact that we are asking more of our students than ever before, rote and superficial methods of PD are still all too common for our teachers. Why?

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Max Wagner