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Teachers are change agents...
How can teachers act as leaders to promote and support innovative practice, collaboration, and a culture of inquiry?
Imagine change as an arch traveling from one side to another. To move from where we are now in education to where we want to be will require teachers to engage in the very habits of mind we wish to instill in our students: critical thinking, communication, creativity and collaboration. When groups of teachers work together as learners in a collaborative way they become Professional Learning Communities (PLCs).
These PLCs have been shown to transform teaching and learning for the better, however, they do not develop spontaneously. Rather, they must be nurtured from within. If change is an arch, then PLCs are the Keystone upon which everything else depends.
Facilitation is like viewing the work of a team from a balcony. By purposeful attention to of the needs of a working group, the teacher leader supports the development of a strong Professional Learning Community. PLCs are at the heart of transformational change in education, but they do not emerge on their own. Rather, they are nurtured by intentional practice of facilitation skills.
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Creating Teacher Leaders
through The Transformative Teacher Leadership Network
To encourage and promote teacher-to-teacher leadership, a new network, Transformative Teacher Leadership Network (TTLN), was established with the support of the Napa County Office of Education. The goal of teacher leadership is to create and sustain highly functioning PLCs which allow all members to learn continuously from one another. Through skilled facilitation and understanding of group development, teacher leaders engage professionally in deeply reflective practice with student learning at the center. These same skills reflect the shift in pedagogy required for performance in highly collaborative environments like a Project-Based Learning (PBL). Network teachers are models of strong facilitation both in and out of their classrooms.