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ERIC Number: EJ861313
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009
Pages: 5
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 6
ISSN: ISSN-0276-928X
Think Time: Formative Assessment Empowers Teachers to Try New Practices
Egan, Teresa M.; Cobb, Beth; Anastasia, Marion
Journal of Staff Development, v30 n4 p40-42, 44-45 Fall 2009
In the past, if a question is asked of a student, and that student needed a few minutes to think, that student's thinking would be interrupted by somebody else who'd be shouting out. Now, teachers at St. Johnsbury School in Vermont are really focusing on think time for students and really working with other students in the classroom to be respectful. The think time and wait time encourages respect among students, from student to teacher, from teacher to student, and extends beyond the classroom. The fundamental classroom changes are the result of a sustained effort to introduce teachers to research-based formative assessment theory and provide them with practical techniques for integrating formative assessment into their daily instruction. The new learning environment empowers teachers to take risks in trying new practices, knowing that they will have opportunities to discuss their efforts and get support and feedback from colleagues engaged in the same job-embedded learning. A key element of this framework for professional learning and growth is a district commitment to providing teachers with regular meeting time in teacher learning communities (TLCs), protecting that time against encroachment by other school demands, and structuring the time so that meaningful examination of practice will regularly occur. This structured meeting time is guided by a modularized curriculum that sets expectations for every meeting as a time when teachers will share what they have tried in the classroom, receive feedback and questions from colleagues, engage in new learning, and create an action plan for what they will attempt upon returning to the classroom. TLCs are scheduled once a month on early release days. Parents, community members, and the school board are supportive of this school improvement strategy for professional learning. Teacher willingness to take risks and learn from successes and failures, and to try again with help and support from colleagues, is a key factor in gaining the most significant benefit from community learning
National Staff Development Council. 504 South Locust Street, Oxford, OH 45056. Tel: 513-523-6029; Fax: 513-523-0638; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Elementary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Vermont