Much about teaching is revealed within an inquiry process where the practitioner persists in learning about learning. Tricky territory: As students, we observed numerous teachers practice what was deemed standard teaching; considering ourselves objective, we critiqued their style. Views were formed along the lines of what works and what is ineffective. As teachers, we further develop a learning practice in response to numerous classroom interactions. Feedback loops shape our ongoing decisions and manifest in beliefs.
Then – according to the logic of vertical progression – after years of practice, we become experts…
Wait – what’s the problem with this assumption?
One fixed view of quality teaching emerges.
As a graduate, I recall being told I would not be allocated a (high status) Literature class because I was young, unproven. My colleague informed me that he was “at the top of the profession”.
If expertise is set aside, and we see ourselves primarily as learners who engage others in the learning-cause, embrace as purposeful the role of abetting their journey, whatever the point of departure, shifts occur.
First, we maintain a beginner’s mind. Second, we learn with, or interdependently, in relation to others. Perhaps this is horizontal progression. For me, it is a desired state.
CC Image Source: http://www.morguefile.com
As a neophyte at cognitive coaching, I know that learning with others in my school community is critical. According to the definition:
Cognitive Coaching is a non-judgmental process of mediation applied to those human life encounters, events and circumstances that can be seized as opportunities to enhance one’s own and others’ resourcefulness. Cognitive Coaching also serves as the nucleus for professional communities that honour autonomy, encourage interdependence and strive for high achievement (Costa & Garmston, 2012, p. 5).
Relationships, then, are paramount, and will be nourished through tuning a considered skill-set:
- adopting intentional practice
- building purpose
…teaching like a pro is about improving as an individual, raising the performance of the team, and increasing quality across the whole profession. It is about developing, circulating, and reinvesting professional capital (Hargreaves & Fullan, 2012, p. 23).
- Long term, life-changing praxis is required
- Sharing necessitates a safe working/ learning environment
- Benefits – like trust and consciousness – grow