Saturday, June 30, 2007

Induction: Day Four

The Teaching As Leadership (TAL) framework is the operating ethos of TFA corps members, as it is the teaching style of excellent teachers who have demonstrated the ability to lead students to significant academic gains (1.5+ years of content in 1 school year).

During our session today, I analogized the TAL framework to a race car. Just because.

Setting Big Goals for Students is like identifying where the finish line is. Where do we want the race to end? Where should students be academically at the end of the year?

Investing Students and their Influencers in Hard Work is like the seat belts. How will we safely strap in our students for the ride to the finish line? How will we motivate students to want to work hard for these goals?

Planning Purposefully is like the steering wheel. What direction do we need to steer the car to navigate the track all the way to the finish line? Given our goals, how will we organize lessons to maximize learning?

Executing Effectively is like the tires. How effective will our tires be in actually moving our car? How can our plans be implemented into actions to maximize time in class?

Working Relentlessly is like the fuel. How long can we keep driving without stopping to refuel? What support do we need to continue our constant push for large academic gains in the classroom?

Continuously Improving is like the pit crew. When should we pull over to have our car fixed and tweaked to give top performance? What can we change about our teaching style to improve?

Given these 6 tenets of the TAL framework, the analogy can be utilized further: a race car is not much of a race car without seat belts, tires, a steering wheel, fuel, and a pit crew, and it's not even a race if there isn't a finish line. A race car requires all of these to compete successfully. Likewise, an effective teacher needs to be able to set big goals, invest students, plan and implement, work hard and improve, to have the largest positive impact on students.

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