Saturday, November 22, 2014

A Book That Inspired Me To Be A Better Teacher...

Day 21 of the Attitude of Gratitude Reflective Teacher @TeachThought Blog Challenge...

Today we have to choose one book that we're grateful for having read that has changed our practice.  Only one??!!  Who created these prompts...oh, that's right, we did.  (Note to us - make it easier next time).  Having said that, focusing on just one book has made me be more analytical and reflective about which book, among the many, I've read that has actually made a sustained impact and changed my practice.

A few years ago I moved to one of the best schools I've ever experienced.  Professional learning was the expectation as was sharing practice through the Critical Friends programme.  I learned so much while I was there and I think I've held onto almost all that new knowledge and developed it further to make a better impact on my students learning - and my own.

One of the key books that was being explored by the staff when I arrived was:

Clarity in the Classroom by Michael Absolum  (I reviewed this for the Reflective Teacher at TeachThought community a few weeks ago).  I love the subtitle - 'Using formative assessment, building learning-focused relationships.'  It puts the focus firmly on learning.

What we explored as a staff was implemented in our learning and teaching as part of the Critical Friends programme which included a strong focus on Action Research.  We shared our findings each week and reflected on the changes implemented.  It was obvious to hear a change in our shared language and shared focus and it was also clear to see a shift in student learning and achievement.

My favourite chapters are "Being clear about what is to be learnt"  and "Active reflection about learning."  Both chapters have helped me to be a more reflective practitioner and to be clear about what we're learning and why.  "Why" is a question I ask myself about everything I do and every tool I use.  

The whole book ask questions that help you reflect on your practice to ensure that you are providing the best learning environment for both you and your students.  It provides examples of effective and not so effective practice and has "Try This" prompts for you to explore as a staff and also in the classroom - fantastic for professional learning discussions.

There are so many books which have impacted my practice but this has continued to be one of the most powerful if not THE most powerful.

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