Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Thinking about Long-Term change in teaching

This fall two grants that I have evaluated came to a close. ArtsLINC and Reading First. They could not have been more different from each other is some very foundamental ways. Reading First was a top down federal initiatives while ArtsLINC was a local bottom up effort.
In rReading First professional development was mandated and practices were regulated, in ArtsLINC we sat with teachers to define what how and when they would like innovate and integrate the arts. both grants had exceptional leadership, adequate resources and a well designed professional development.
The progress in both grants have been very different. Reading First had immediate impact on the way Reading was taught, however, after the initial impact very little has changed in subsequent iterations. there were small incremental improvements to teacher practice and very little change in student outcomes.
ArtsLINC on the other hand had a very slow start changes in teacher practice and student achievement lagged. Overtime just like Reading First slowed down ArtsLINC picked up and the change in teacher practice became more pronounced. If you're looking for a quick fix go with the Top Down approach, that seems to be the way we are headed as a nation. If, however, you'd like to have long lasting impact then choose the long and tedious road. The difference is rooted in teacher agency, efficacy and development.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Time to Smile

Much of what I've been doing lately was griping. Griping about how we're headed down the wrong path, about the politics and about "Waiting for superman".
I have decided to stop griping and move on. There is much to do and many places and people to work with in wonderful ways.
I think part of my gripe comes from our much less intense artsLINC group. The grant is over and we are finishing up the report. I miss the interaction and the sense of something exciting is happening with a group of dedicated professionals. The truth is that I need to snap
Out of it, smile and remember that all of us are still in education and as long as we are there is great hope.
So No, I am not Waiting for Superman.
Integration of the arts technology and different subject matter is happening, will happen because in the 21st century we must be all connected, all integrated if we are to be full global citizens.