By Oakland Schools Leaders
Janet Temnyk, Mallori Fogler, and Eric Scott
At the end of April, both cohorts met for one last final session before looking toward our big Final Celebration in May. It was a bittersweet day, knowing it was our last, and also one that was, as usual, chock full of learning and packed with pertinent and thought-provoking information.
In the morning, we worked with our colleagues to compile a ‘top three’ list of descriptors to define Teacher Leader. An assortment of words came to mind: proactive, passionate, coaching, mentoring, reflective, courageous, positive, growth mindset, facilitating, cultivator of hope, joyful, and visionary, to name a few.
During a brief interlude, we pondered over whether or not we’d rather be a cat or a dog, and shared our reasons:
The descriptions of a Teacher Leader led us to a discussion about one very important characteristic, and that is curiosity. This discussion, along with the dog/cat inquiry, segued into our next topic, which was the power of QUESTIONING. In regards to this topic, we pondered the following: “Why is cultivating curiosity so important in your classroom?”
Questioning is important in the classroom because it internalizes the subject matter at hand and sparks a desire to learn about the subject and engage in deeper learning. It’s more powerful than brainstorming.
“Curiosity puts the brain in a state that allows it to learn and retain any kind of information, like a vortex that sucks in what you are motivated to learn, and also everything around it.”
In our groups we engaged in a question-storming exercise using the “Question Formulation Technique”, which was comprised of the following steps:
The question focus topic for all was “Students as Change Agents”, and each person generated his/her own questions, questions that could not be altered by anyone in their group, and were documented for the whole group to see. It was an excellent exercise that demonstrated the power of questioning; it opens the learning process and does not establish limits.
“All the knowledge we have is a result of asking questions; indeed...question asking is the most significant intellectual tool human beings have.” ~Neil Postman
During our day many great books were recommended, including the following one so apropos for the topic:
Before lunch, we then all took our Seven Habits of Highly Effective People assessment, and received our certificates afterward. In the afternoon we received a terrific book by James M. Kouzes and Barry Z. Posner titled The 10 Truths About Leadership:
After reading the book introduction independently, each person identified the essence of each Truth, as well as two Truths that are personal strengths, and two that are areas for personal improvement. Smaller groups then read and studied assigned chapters, culminating with the activity of identifying three BIG ideas, two Teacher Leadership Applications, and one GREAT Quote. The 10 Truths are:
The brainstorming activity at the end, the “ABC’s of Galileo”, was a walk down memory lane! It made us recall all of our guest speakers, activities, and learning over the past two years!
Looking back on our two-year experience with Galileo, we are joyful Teacher Leaders, and it is sad to think that we will no longer come together after our Final Celebration in May. During those first days together at Yarrow we focused on the 7 Habits and bonded as cohorts through many great team-building activities. Not only have we learned so much, but we have also increased our teacher network by meeting so many great people.
The Galileo Leadership Consortium Will Advance The Development Of Teacher Leadership To Ensure High Levels of Learning For All.
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