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I agree with this article.

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I agree with this article. Teachers need to be motivated and work in an environment that is supportive of their work and allows them to collaborate with other teachers and staff members. I understand that during the day our mission is to improve student learning but maybe there should be a set time before or after school to where teachers and administration can discuss what the expectations are and current school issues just not a typical lecture staff meeting. Teachers are expected to make time for students and parents and this expectation is the same among the administration making time for their teachers. Just the same as students, teachers needs to be communicated with along the way to understand who they are doing and if the administration sees need for improvement or wants to recognize good efforts.

I don't know what to think

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I don't know what to think about all this. The first thought that pops into my head is time. Like mentioned above where are the teachers/administration going to find enough time to "collaborate". Early dismissal, and substitute teachers don't quite cut it in my opinion. The less time you spend with the students, the less you accomplish with them. I also don't see the point of a math teacher needing to collaborate with a history teacher. Besides chances are not everyone will get along. Some teachers think they know everything there is to know already. I see a lot of flaws in this idea, but I'm not against trying it. It's just another step forward for education. sunday school lessons

7/8 Drama, Film, Honors & Regular Language Arts

Collaboration is best when we work with out students!

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All of your comments are honest and inspiring. The most important point made is that education is a on the job experience. Every year you learn something new, from teachers, the school culture and the world we live in . But, mostly for me, I learn something new FROM MY STUDENTS! They are the reason I get up every morning to go to work. The children are the stimulation for my creative thinking and the motivation that keeps me well informed and on task.

It is what I see in their eyes that keep me going.

As for public policy, I have always said: If every politician were to visit their local school for a week, and join one child and partner with them included eat the breakfast, snack, lunch and wear the gym clothes and do the homework, there would be a different public policy. I doubt if that many politicians would be able to keep up with all the demanding homework and the cirriculum. The short and long term assignments and the holiday work may be somewhat overwhelming. They may all consider listening more to teachers than researchers. It should be one of the requirements for running for any office:Spend a week with a 7/8 grader and pass the Standardized Tests and have your parents attend the meetings!

President, Developmental Studies Center, Oakland CA

You are exactly right.

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You are exactly right. Teaching is mainly learned on the job and much of the intrinsic satisfaction that teachers experience comes from learning with their colleagues under reasonable working conditions.

Here's hoping that LFA has greater sway in the formation of federal policy....

Chief Learning Officer

LEADERSHIP 101

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Effective leaders in schools hire and retain the best. Teachers that do not make the grade have to go (tenure or not). Collaboration is important, but principals and especially central office admin have to support such a climate. Less effective districts lack the coherence for improvement.

Thanks for your comment,

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Thanks for your comment, Steve. Your point about ambiguity is well taken. It's tough to get very precise within a 500-word limit, but I suspect practitioners like Pattipeg Harjo or KS, or consultants like Steve Dahlberg, could add specificity from their own experience. It's dangerous to become too prescriptive, but from my experience goals originate from staff AND administration.

As for meeting time and common planning time--schools and districts simply have to make time, as difficult as that sounds. Viers Mill had highly trained para-educators cover classes while teachers spent time in meetings. Some schools have early dismissal on some days to reserve time for teacher meetings. As Linda Darling-Hammond and others have demonstrated, common planning time is a central feature in successful school systems around the world. Surely the scheduling isn't impossible--if we don't create policy barriers.

And, yes, continuous improvement is now among the most common education buzz-words--much like "collaboration," "Professional Learning Community," and many others. But that's no reason to discard the ideas those buzz words represent. That's one of the points I tried to bring across, with only middling success. This is hard work. It requires precision, commitment and planning. And it can't be easily conveyed in the small space of a blog posting.

My bigger concern, however, is that the prevailing conversations among policymakers these days barely address the *conditions* for excellent teaching. Policy makers are more intent on finding the best teachers and giving the worst ones the boot. In doing so, they miss a big part of the picture.

k-8 Virtual educator

Top down management and Learning (and top down CAN be GOOD!)

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I feel very fortunate to have been a teacher in a school environment that VALUED, and HONORED a Professional Learning Community (capital, P, L and C). My administrator brought the "concept" to the staff and gave us resources (training and books by famous authors, DuFour) and TIME in our professional day. We were given time to TALK, PLAN, SHARE and LEARN. We were a strong staff and learned to become more respectful of our "teammates" or colleagues, OUR students and ourselves. I wish that every administrate allowed and encouraged teachers to work together especially by giving the time and direction to do so! :)

Director, International Centre for Creativity and Imagination

Creative Education Can Come From Collaborative Learning

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I agree that a culture of collaborating and learning from each other is important -- but rarely happens. I worked with a large group of teachers last spring, exploring creativity, learning, involvement, motivation, passion and inspiration. One of the things that came up during our time together was the great gift of hearing what other teachers -- their colleagues -- thought and did. They were reminded of why they do what they do. They were re-inspired by their colleagues' examples and stories. They made creative connections between disciplines and topics. One of the challenges of transforming education from "as it is" to "as it might be" is indeed creating opportunities for teachers to collaborate with, learn from and grow with each other.

Education writer, Founder & co-editor of MiddleWeb.com

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You can't get too much Claus von Zastrow. Great to see him here at Edutopia.

High school Spanish teacher, Norman, Oklahoma

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I learned a long time ago that sometimes the slower you go, the faster you get there. Administrators don't want to take time out of the school day to give to teachers for collaboration--it takes time away from student learning. They end up going so fast to achieve their goals (passing state-mandated tests) that frequently they miss the target altogether. Taking time out for teacher collaboration would keep them on course.

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