The resilience of teacher culture

Image: Crystal by louisa-catlover made available on flickr by a creative commons license.

I found this little video (link at bottom of post) through Dr. Scott McLeod’s blog dangerously irrelevant

It is a speech given by Dr. Richard Elmore and it is a sobering description of a present reality in today’s schools that cries out to me in strong terms the need for change, for structural change, in the way we do things.

Here is Dr. McLeod’s commentary from his blog post of July 02, 2007:

“One of the reasons Dr. Elmore’s speech speaks to me so much is that it raises quite vociferously the issue of misalignment. In my work with schools and districts, I see numerous examples of misalignment, including:

  • classroom pedagogy that fails to regularly employ high-yield instructional strategies to achieve optimal results;
  • professional development plans that are based on teachers’ preferences rather than students’ needs;
  • staffing plans that fail to put the best teachers in front of the students who need them the most;
  • intra-organization funding decisions that fail to put resources where they are most needed;
  • a lot of wasted instructional time;
  • and so on (I’m guessing that you can add to this list!)…

We say that we want results. We say that we want high levels of achievement for all students. But we are not doing what it takes to achieve the results that we say we want.”

The comment I left in reference to this post was:

I appreciated listening to this speech and reading your comments. They are very much in line with my own thoughts on the matter.

I am discovering, in working with different school communities, that in order to shift the incredibly resilient teacher culture towards a culture that makes sense for student learning I need to access individual teacher’s values and passions around teaching, around caring and helping. I need to make their own learning make sense for them.

The Resilience of Teacher Culture