October 20, 2008

Show me, don’t tell me

“Teachers will not take up attractive-sounding ideas, albeit based on extensive research, if these are presented as general principles which leave entirely to them the task of translating them into everyday practice … what they need is a variety of living examples of implementation, by teachers with whom they can identify and from whom they can derive conviction and confidence that they can do better and see concrete examples of what doing better means in practice”
Black, P. and William,D. Inside the Black Box: Raising standards through classroom assessment, King’s College, London, England. 1998, 15-16

This quote reminds me to work harder at finding living examples of what best or better practice means. Last week I spent 2 days with teachers looking at Project Based Learning and how to embed it deeply into practice. Much of our discussion focused on a video used by our presenters showing a classroom and teacher in action. Discussions were rich and meaningful.  We’re working really hard to insure that professional development includes and is built around followup. In a month, we’ll be gathering virtually to share our progress and further our understandings. Sharing artifacts of learning is challenging at times. Finding time to write up something or even provide background to student work can be time consuming.

To help support this, I ran out at lunch and picked up Flip videos for all participant teams. The intent is that teachers will be easily be able to capture learning and share it with each other.  I’m hoping to piece together these clips eventually to create something that would clearly represent what Project Based Learning looks like in our district. 

I use this video a lot when I make the case for digital storytelling.

“…they need a variety of living examples of implementation, by teachers with whom they can identify and from whom they can derive conviction and confidence that they can do better and see concrete examples of what doing better means in practice.”

I’ll stop talking now.

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