PDI-11: Building a Community Through Reflective Practice (WestEd)
Date: Wednesday, March 26, 2008
Location: Boston, MA—Boston Convention and Exhibition Center; Room 203
Recommended Pathway Sessions
Kathy DiRanna, Statewide Director, K–12 Alliance/WestEd
Diane Carnahan, Regional Director, K–12 Alliance/WestEd
Karen Cerwin, Regional Director, K–12 Alliance/WestEd
Jody Skidmore Sherriff, Regional Director, K–12 Alliance/WestEd
Jo Topps, Regional Director, K–12 Alliance/WestEd
- What are the components of professional learning communities?
- What is reflective practice and how does it build community?
- What evidence is there that professional communities lead to changes in teacher practice and increase student understanding?
- How do professional development strategies such as identifying learning goals, looking at student work, lesson study contribute to reflective practice?
- How can you build communities through reflective practice into your context?
A classroom that is thriving is an environment of complex interactions. At every moment, teachers make hundreds of instructional decisions—some instinctively, some based on planning, and some “just because.” What would happen if those decisions were intentional—the result of reflective practice in which teachers used their reflections to “act in a deliberate, intentional manner” to improve student learning (Reagan, Case, & Brubacher, 2000)?
What could happen if these teachers formed a community of reflective practitioners? The literature and research tells us that when teachers operate in professional communities and take collective responsibility for student learning, they produce school-wide gains in academic achievement. (Louis, Kruse, Marks, 1996).
In this session, we explore what it means to build a community of reflective practitioners who can, collectively, draw upon their knowledge of science, developmentally appropriate curriculum, instructional strategies, and assessment practices to improve student understanding and achievement. Participants will:
- Develop an awareness of the tenants of learning communities and reflective practice
- Experience a process/tool (creating a conceptual flow of content for instruction and assessment) that can ground a reflective community in real work
- Be introduced to four other tools that promote reflective practice and that are part of the PDI pathway sessions (looking at student work to monitor instruction; using an assessment portfolio to develop an assessment plan for student learning; participating in a lesson study focused on lesson design to optimize student learning; participating in content case discussions to build content and pedagogical content knowledge.
- Recognize the value of reflective practice as an individual teacher, and as a member of the school community.