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Learning is everyone's job!

The Alabama Best Practices Center (ABPC) is a place where educators can turn for assistance, inspiration and information about teaching and student achievement.

Our purpose is to help teachers and administrators develop the competence, commitment, and courage to do whatever it takes to improve student learning.

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A Closer Look at ABPC's Statewide Instructional Rounds Program
April 21, 2016
By Cathy Gassenheimer
 
Walking into a first grade classroom, I noticed the teacher working at a table with six students. The other students were working independently across the room. Some had iPads, one was using a SMART Board, and others were completing a worksheet.
 
I approached the student at the SMART Board and asked about her learning target, or “I Can” statement(s). She pointed to an adjacent board and summarized the two learning targets: “I can read words with ‘ou’ and ‘ow’ sounds” and “I can write words with ‘ou’ and ‘ow’ sounds.” She pointed me to the SMART Board and showed me the words she had created thus far: “clown, frown, cloud, sound…”
 
She seemed very self-sufficient and goal-oriented. So I wondered aloud what she might do if she got stuck or confused. She looked at me, paused briefly and replied, “Well, I’d have to come up with a creative solution!”
 
Talking to students about their learning is both rejuvenating and encouraging. And that’s one of the main reasons I love facilitating instructional rounds across the State of Alabama.
 
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How Context, Culture, Mentoring and Intentional Networking Drive PL in Business
March 28, 2016
By Cathy Gassenheimer

A new report, Looking Outside Education: What School Leaders Can Learn About Professional Learning from Other Industries, may spark some fresh thinking about the professional growth of America's teachers among educators willing to consider the best practices found in business and industry.
 
Last week, I reflected on four of eight strategic practices described in the report published by Learning Forward and the Center on Great Teachers and Leaders at the American Institutes for Research.

Here are my thoughts about the remaining best practices, which include: (5) Targeted training and support based on the employee’s specific role; (6) Emphasis and awareness of the role of context in learning and growth; (7) Mentoring; and one of my favorites (8) Intentional networking.Read More
 
What We Can Learn from Business about "Best Practice" Professional Learning
March 24, 2016
By Cathy Gassenheimer

Education is not the only profession that recognizes the importance of professional learning. In fact, other sectors, including business and industry, both recognize the importance and invest a lot more in the development of their employees.
 
And they do it in strategic ways that pay dividends in the form of better resourced, committed, and capable employees.
 
This finding comes from a March 2016 report issued by Learning Forward and the American Institutes for Research’s Center on Great Teachers and Leaders. The report, Looking Outside Education: What School Leaders Can Learn About Professional Learning from Other Industries, examines five general sectors: business, medicine, military, psychology, and law enforcement. It highlights eight different approaches to professional learning and growth employed by these five sectors.

What successful industries do

The eight approaches outlined in the report include a variety of ways to support professional learning and growth, including:
  1. Emphasis on growth mindset
  2. Expectations and structures that support ongoing development and growth
  3. Simulations
  4. Video review, reflection, and coaching
  5. Targeted training and support based on the employee’s specific role
  6. Emphasis and awareness of the role of context in learning and growth
  7. Mentoring
  8. Intentional networking
 To adequately review the report and provide connections for our readers, I’m writing this blog in two parts. This first installment will address the first four approaches.Read More
 
 
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