Learning to read : teachers are learners too
When teachers share their professional inquiries, questions, criticisms and reflections they learn as much as their students. The mission for everyone working in schools is to enhance the lifelong learning capabilities of their students and teachers. The teacher is the key in-school factor affecting learning outcomes for students and for that reason a key focus for any school is to maximise the professional learning opportunities available to its teachers. At Lauriston Girls' School, that goal is pursued through the work of the Lauriston Institute. Established in 2005, the Institute plays an integral role in the continuous improvement of teaching and learning programs, and provides a forum for the articulation and implementation of a sequential Kindergarten to Year 12 education plan grounded in current research into girls' learning. More recently, the establishment of professional learning teams is further contributing to the development of a culture of collaboration at Lauriston. An essential element of working collaboratively is that teachers take collective responsibility for improving their instructional practices focused on the improvement of student learning. One current project underway is to design, implement and evaluate a reading curriculum based on the research by Nell Duke and David Pearson. This team-based professional learning project works because professional collaboration involves more than just sharing resources or exchanging ideas; it involves sharing the inquiries, questions, criticisms and reflections. More than simply sharing teaching strategies, it is relationship-building that increases professional trust and openness, and it is in such conditions that the best professional learning occurs. [Author abstract, ed]
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