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An Untapped Resource

Other Teachers!! You don't have to go it alone!

Quora Question: How do teachers learn from each other?

Teachers learn from each other in many ways. Here are some that I have appreciated and enjoyed:

Planning a lesson together when you teach the same subject.

A teacher friend of mine needed experience with second language learners so came to my school in Fresno, Ca. and co-taught a lesson with me. We strategized together, planned the lesson together and taught it together. So fun!! Our students had the benefit of having two teachers teaching and supporting them and they had the benefit of a lesson that had two minds in the preparation. My friend and I learned from each other’s ideas. My friend had a substitute cover her class at her home school so that she could come teach with me. She learned from my teaching situation and I picked up some great ideas from her.

Planning a lesson together when you teach a different subject.

I was a science teacher and I really enjoyed and learned from planing interdisciplinary lessons with math teachers, english teachers and social science teachers. We all learned from each other and met after we taught the lessons to debrief.

By observation.

It is wonderful to visit another teacher’s classroom to observe and vice versa. Most principals will support this and work out a substitute for the visiting teacher. This is especially helpful if a teacher is using a particular strategy that you want to learn: Socratic Seminar, debates, role-plays, gallery walks, games, etc…

By giving the same assessment and debriefing after the results are in.

I have grown in my teaching by being on the same page with a willing colleague. We planned the same curriculum content but chose to teach using different teaching strategies and then compared assessment results afterwards. To truly be effective with this it is best to give a pre and post test because of the range of skill level between different classes. I also tried this strategy with my brother who taught in a district with much higher test scores. We both gave the same pre and post test and while my students did not score higher than his did, they grew more from their pre and post than his did. We discussed this and found that the primary difference was that I required my students to read 4 related books throughout the school year. My students needed more practice reading to make any marked improvement and they did it!! Yay!

By sharing challenges and solutions with classroom management. Teachers can learn from each other’s classroom management stories. What worked and what didn’t work is a good question to ask each other. By sharing these stories teachers feel less alone and more supported. Consider trying to mirror each other’s plans and then share how it worked.

Final Thought: Seek out teachers that have a positive attitude to learn from. In today’s often frustrating teaching environment there are still teachers succeeding. Find out why and learn from them.

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