Teachers do well when given teacher autonomy, creating a culture that resembles a high-performing organization.
So say the authors of Trusting Teachers with School Success: What Happens When Teachers Call the Shots. They define “high-performing” as achieving results better than peers over a period of time.
Let’s describe the teacher-powered school. It can be led by a teacher cooperative or a teacher professional partnership, or “TPP.” Just like groups of lawyers or doctors handle questions of quality and accountability, so does a TPP.
A teacher-led school provides teachers as professionals the option to accept accountability in return for autonomy—being able to “call the shots” about learning. Why not offer our teachers collective authority if they accept collective accountability?
If we do, say authors Kim Farris-Berg and Edward Dirkswager, these characteristics emerge:
Accepting ownership. Teachers take responsibility for making decisions and being accountable for the outcomes. They “own” their results.
Innovation. Teachers take risks to try creative new things and challenge old ways of being.
Collaboration and shared purpose. Teachers create a culture of interdependence where all ideas are welcome, and everyone values differences.
Leadership. Teachers expect leadership from all and perceive leadership as service to all. It’s not “someone else’s” job.
Learning. Teachers are life-long learners along with their students, rather than always the “expert” who imparts information.
Motivation. Teachers are free to engage and motivate their students—they have the freedom to be better.
Performance. Teachers may set frequent, individual measures of performance to obtain feedback to immediately improve performance. Why wait until test scores are returned months later?
Does this describe the culture at your school or your child’s school? If not, would you like your child in this kind of learning environment? Would the public support such a cultural change in our schools? Find out in Thursday’s blogpost.