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ERIC Number: EJ1043896
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2014-May
Pages: 3
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-0013-1784
The Trouble with Top-Down
Van Tassell, Rebecca
Educational Leadership, v71 n8 p76-78 May 2014
Rebecca Van Tassell struggled during her first years as a science teacher. She knew her colleagues had good ideas to share, but she never got to see them in action, so she started a walk-through club in which she and a few colleagues visited one another's classrooms and discussed what they saw. The group met every two weeks, after having visited one group member's classroom. Using prompts Van Tassell wrote, the group discussed what they saw on their visits and what their observations revealed about student learning. Van Tassell felt more energized about her teaching, and the administrators at her school were so impressed that they decided to take the practice schoolwide. When the walk-through program expanded, administrators decided that all classrooms were open for visitation, and teachers would look for examples of effective practices as defined by experts. To motivate teachers to participate in the required program, those who visited the most classrooms would receive gift cards. Conversations, overseen by administrators, focused on the techniques administrators wanted to see, instead of what teachers thought was effective. The groups changed each month, making it difficult to develop trust. For Van Tassell, this top-down approach was not nearly as effective or energizing as the small-group approach that relied on teacher expertise. Instead of empowering teachers, the schoolwide professional development became yet another mandate to follow.
ASCD. 1703 North Beauregard Street, Alexandria, VA 22311-1714. Tel: 800-933-2723; Tel: 703-578-9600; Fax: 703-575-5400; Web site: http://www.ascd.org
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A