Professional Perspectives – Eastern Middle School - DEMO
Dr. Lorna EarlUniversity of Toronto
Dr. Lorna Earl shares her perspective on finding new ways to use time. She is not suggesting that time used not be restructured, but that a culture of collaboration can lead to a continuing search for ways to improve student performance:
As I think about barriers and the "finding time" issues in education one of the things that occurs to me is that we need lots of time to do the kinds of things that we think are really important for teachers to learn, for the kind of ongoing learning that's an important part of our professional lives. What's encouraging is that it doesn't have to be a lot of time at one time. There are ways to create cultures in schools where time is a precious commodity, and that even walking down a hallway becomes professional development time or planning time or having a conversation about a particular youngster. A school's downtime should become professional learning time, not because someone says this is how the staff room is going to operate—"We're all going to sit here until you become collaborative"—but that people are excited and engaged in the ideas. That's what happens in the staff room. They sit down and they start to talk. I was in a staff room where the principal had videotapes running all the time. These were instructional videotapes, about assessment. You know, just professional material running the whole day long. People joked about it. At the same time, they also watched some of it. And they talked about it. And it's like listening to the audiotapes in your sleep, they somehow infiltrate your brain. So I think that there are many ways in which we can capture the time we don't have right now and then hope that by doing that we can start to leverage more time in a real sense by showing that kind of professional determination.