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Teaching teachers

"Just as we know students don’t learn simply because we tell them something, teachers don’t learn simply because we hand them a journal article." ~ Jo Boaler

This is part of my daily challenge as a learning specialist for mathematics and information technology. I can share research, suggestions, and resources, but how much of what I share actually changes practice?


Here is what I have found that does make a difference in their learning for my colleagues:

  • I develop strong positive relationships with my colleagues,
  • I share timely resources with my colleagues,
  • I help them plan units and lessons,
  • I work with my colleagues in one on one sessions and offer them support that meets their current needs,
  • I share the big picture and my vision with my colleagues (and listen to their vision to make it our vision),
  • I visit their classes and give them support (as opposed to enforcing a specific direction) in the context of their classroom practices.


Here's what I do not do:

  • I do not make my colleagues feel stupid, even when I am showing them how to do something for the 5th time,
  • I try my best not to preach,
  • I don't keep what I do to fix their technology problems a secret,
  • I try not to overwhelm my colleagues with too many changes at once,
  • I do not ignore their requests for help.


About David

David is a Formative Assessment Specialist for Mathematics at New Visions for Public Schools in NYC. He has been teaching since 2002, and has worked in Brooklyn, London, Bangkok, and Vancouver before moving back to the United States. He has his Masters degree in Educational Technology from UBC, and is the co-author of a mathematics textbook. He has been published in ISTE's Leading and Learning, Educational Technology Solutions, The Software Developers Journal, The Bangkok Post and Edutopia. He blogs with the Cooperative Catalyst, and is the Assessment group facilitator for Edutopia. He has also helped organize the first Edcamp in Canada, and TEDxKIDS@BC.

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