How do we create learning community?

/ 7 September 2014

Powerful essay in the Atlantic this month pondering “building better teachers.” I was not a fan of the title of the piece, and almost didn’t read it, given my preconception of that rhetoric. But there is data in the article that we need to attend to:

On the scale of time devoted by teachers to in-class instruction annually, the US is off the charts. We spend far more hours in the classroom, on average, twice and nearly three times more in some cases, than teachers in any other OECD country save Chile. Finnish high-school teachers, for example, clock 553 hours in the classroom each year. In Japan... that number is 500. In the US it's 1,051. ... In practice this means that most teachers in this country have zero time to work together on new pedagogical approaches and where feedback in the way Green advocates in her book.

But of course we get far worse results — why? That’s part of the articles’s argument, having to do with what it means to create real learning communities, where teachers and students have real agency in the learning process, and there is time and space to collaborate with each other.