Hello, friends. I know that I have started my first few blogs with mentioning my Twitter network of educators, and at the risk of sounding redundant (a writer's sure-fire no-no) I must do the same again. As a result of this social networking tool, I have been privy to Transparency in its finest form in the past few weeks. My Twitterverse consists of staff developers, administrators, teachers, and teacher coaches who are brave and willing enough to be as transparent as possible in order to elicit meaningful feedback from other educators and content experts to improve their instruction and leadership in the best interest of both teachers and the profession and their students as well. As difficult and scary as it may be to put yourself out there, I believe that the single best way to improve your instruction is through eliciting feedback from your peers. This is, of course, the guiding tenet of a Professional Learning Community, which I desperately want to facilitate in my new role as a director of curriculum and instruction. Gratefully, I am fortunate enough to have colleagues to show me the way; educators whom I can thankfully also call friends, that are willing to grow professionally and are not only brave enough to publicly share what they do in their daily practice but who also beg for and welcome feedback from others frequently rather than wait for that "official" APPR to reflect on their practice.
How transparent are you? The colleagues and friends I reference are out there, and I mean really out there, on the world wide web, doing things like posting tweets on Twitter and links on wikispaces describing their experiences and eliciting immediate responses to their practice. With a simple tool like those aforementioned they post a link and receive nearly instantaneous responses from other experienced practitioners "in the trenches" who long, just as much as they do, to improve practice and gain ideas for how to apply theory to real-world practice in ways that present the best benefits to kids.
There is much discussion in the realm of education about this notion of transparency. Some key questions surrounding this notion include: How can we KNOW that any approach or strategy we employ truly works? How can the whole sector benefit from particular instances of good practice? What are the elements or components of good and effective practice? What outcomes do good and effective practice produce? Within what contexts do these good and effective practices exist? and How do we remain objective in providing meaningful feedback to those who elicit our reactions, thoughts, and ideas about our practice without being overly critical?
I don't have the answers to these questions. However, networking with the right people who have like desires to find these answers and be reflective practitioners has provided me with opportunities to begin to find the answers. If we truly are life-long learners who are dedicated to and passionate about improving what we do for kids, may we all be brave and willing enough to be transparent and share what we do with others in the best interest of our students and teachers.
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