The secret to good teaching? Teamwork

This story was originally published by Chalkbeat. Sign up for their newsletters at ckbe.at/newsletters.

Twelve years ago, when I left a career as a lawyer to become a history teacher, my vision of what a “good teacher” looked like was shaped in part by movies, such as “Stand and Deliver” and “To Sir, With Love,” which depict teachers who overcome institutional dysfunction to connect with students and inspire them to achieve their potential.

Watching “To Sir, With Love” was even a course requirement in my teacher residency program. It was with great trepidation — knowing that I could not live up to this model but wanting to do my best — that I took my job teaching social studies at a small public high school in the Bronx.…Read More

Book Uses Neuroscience to Reduce Conflict

With COVID-19 changing the way we work and live, combining those spaces in unprecedented ways, and happening concurrently with massive political divisions and economic distress, the potential for destructive conflict is increasing. Jeanine Hull—former corporate lawyer, now author, certified Conflict Transformation mediator, conflict engagement coach and public speaker—shows how to use this challenging time constructively to deepen relationships by changing the way you think about and respond to conflict. Her new book, Making Peace with Conflict: Using Neuroscience to Ease Difficult Relationships, is a scientifically comprehensive guide and is the first book that explicitly ties recent revolutionary trauma research to the way we deal with conflict.

“We all know how miserable conflict is, but very few of us have experienced the benefits conflict can bring, such as deepening trust and strengthening relationships,” said Hull. “Like navigating a labyrinth, the process of harnessing the connective power of conflict lies in trusting the process, putting one foot in front of the other and maintaining progress toward the center—a place of integration, peace and ease. Using clear and easy-to-understand language, my book uses neuroscience to educate you how to engage with and move through the unpleasantness of conflict to better your professional and personal lives.”

Notably, Hull helps organizations and families create an environment that values diversity of opinions (which can often lead to conflict—or worse, silence) with Rules of Conflict Engagement to normalize and respect diverging opinions. These Rules of Engagement make it safe for everyone to give their best to their jobs, families, communities and volunteer organizations.…Read More

Why digital PD needs an urgent overhaul

Technology, collaboration, and new standards are changing the classroom at a rapid pace. Every teacher’s professional development must keep up

Like so many of us, I have been grateful throughout my life for the professionals I’ve needed to call upon for vital services and expert guidance. The surgeon who had years of residency and practice before treating me on her own. Or the lawyer, who was constantly staying abreast of federal and state regulations in order to offer me sound advice.

Similarly, students and parents rely on me every day. As teachers, we are entrusted with our nation’s children, and their futures, yet many of us find ourselves isolated in classrooms without the right training or support. Others find ourselves supported by just one or two afternoons of professional development per year. As we collectively elevate teaching so that it may sit comfortably alongside other highly respected and important professions, we must think carefully about how to provide higher-quality, effective continuing education for teaching.

The need for more practical and effective professional learning opportunities for teachers is especially important right now, with new academic standards being introduced and adapted in schools across the country. As a teacher leader who has had this conversation with teachers, administrators, policy makers, and parents, I recognize an important distinction to which we must pay attention. People outside the profession often want to see a greater sense of urgency about our work. Oftentimes, the desire for urgency looks more like drawing small circles around teachers through evaluations, ranking, and sorting. For a classroom teacher, though, this has the opposite effect. When I feel small, I don’t feel urgent. I feel scared and uncertain.…Read More