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Friday, July 2, 2010

Learning Teams and the Future of Teaching by Tom Carroll and Hannah Doerr

"Learning is no longer preparation for the job, it is the job. In a world in which information expands exponentially, today’s students are active participants in an ever-expanding network of learning environments. They must learn to be knowledge navigators, seeking and finding information from multiple sources, evaluating it, making sense of it, and understanding how to collaborate with their peers to turn information into knowledge, and knowledge into action.

What does this mean for teachers? It means that they should be constantly learning with and from accomplished colleagues and experts in the field, modeling for their students the collaborative learning and knowledge construction that is at the core of 21st-century competencies.

These are the opening paragraphs to Caroll's and Doerr's article, Learning Teams and the Future of Teaching.

The article looks at the role of 21st century and the role of collaboration in the profession of teaching.  It calls into question the present role of the teacher - isolated - and identifies the culture of isolation as the cause for failing schools and teachers leaving the professions.

The authors identify 6 key characteristics for successful learning teams:
  1. Shared Values and Goals.
  2. Collective Responsibility.
  3. Authentic Assessment.
  4. Self-Directed Reflection.
  5. Stable Settings.
  6. Strong Leadership Support.
These factors have also been identified in the SMART Schools resources we have been using as a basis for our definition of collaboration.

For an excellent real life example of these 6 characteristics, I refer you to the article written and submitted by Monique Poulin, principal of Mt. Blue High School.


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