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Principle: Principal as Designer of Collaborative Learning
Focus question: How can we have collaborative learning and still ensure individual
Along with changing
curriculum materials, education reform in math and science implies
changing classroom teaching and learning strategies. In this workshop,
principals discuss ways they can foster effective pedagogy, including
cooperative grouping, varying teaching and learning strategies, and
giving students self-paced time to explore topics in depth. The first
clip looks at what happens when teachers assume too much about what
their students are learning.
We suggest that
you read the following article, included in the Appendix at the back
of this Guide, prior to viewing Workshop 5:
Workshop 5 Videoclips
"Minds of Our Own excerpt"
features successful veteran physics teacher Jim Carter at Saugus High
School in Saugus, MA, a suburb of Boston. After presenting a unit
on electricity, Jim discovers and reflects on why one of his best
students has difficulty with the most basic concepts of circuits.
Adapted from the award-winning television series Minds of Our Own,
Program One: "Can We Believe Our Eyes?" (Harvard-Smithsonian
Center for Astrophysics, 1994).
"Routines and repertoire"
is a researcher, author, and dean of the Graduate School of Education
at Bank Street College of Education. In this interview segment, she
describes one of her long-term studies in which high school students
and teachers were enthusiastic at the beginning of the year, yet by
mid-year, this enthusiasm had flagged. In asking why this happened,
she discovered one of the factors leading toward better student outcomes:
teachers finding the correct balance between routine and repertoire.
High School, Whittier, CA
School in Whittier, CA, a suburb of Los Angeles, has been adopting
a number of innovative strategies for teaching and learning and for
professional development. Integrated Math/Science teacher Barbara
Alcala describes how she changed from being a traditional teacher
to one who uses cooperative student groups on a daily basis. Her students
use a variety of techniques to work together to solve equations, graph
the results, and present their findings to the class. Adapted from
the video "Routines and Repertoire in the Math Classroom"
(Annenberg Institute for School Reform, Brown University, 1999).
Wright, Mercer Island High School
"Taking the time to understand"
At Mercer Island
High School in a suburb of Seattle, WA, two physics teachers are practicing
"depth" not "breadth": making sure that their students have time to
master fundamental concepts, even if it occupies classroom time that
otherwise would be used to cover more material. This segment shows
students learning about electric circuits in a way that is not just
"hands-on" but "minds-on" as well. Adapted from
Minds of Our Own, Program One:"Can We Believe Our Eyes?"
(Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, 1994).
Site Discussion Questions
(remember to choose a Structure from those listed
on pages 12 to 14)
- How can we
make classrooms more exciting for students without losing rigor?
- What kind
of teaching leads to real understanding? How do we know when students
- How can the
teacher really meet the varied needs and skill levels of students
when they're working in groups?
- How can I,
as the principal, support risky approaches: the noisy classroom,
less coverage, mixed groups?
- What is real
understanding? What does it look like?
- Why stress
collaborative learning? Is it just fun or is it effective?
- What do principals
have to do if they want collaborative learning to take place in
Chapin, S. The
Partners in Change Handbook: A Professional Development Curriculum
in Mathematics. Boston: Boston University, 1998.
Examination Board. Academic Preparation in Science: Teaching for
Transition from High School to College. New York: College Board
Educational Equality Project, 1990.
Guskey, T. R.
"Staff Development and the Process of Teacher Change." Educational
Researcher 15. 5 (1986): 5-12.
M., H. M. Marks, and A. Gamoran. Authentic Pedagogy: Standards
that Boost Student Performance. Madison: Wisconsin Center for
Education Research, 1995.
J. Explorations in Number, Data, and Space. Palo Alto: Dale
Process as Mathematics Content: A Course for Teachers." Journal
of Mathematical Behavior 12. 3 (1993): 271-83.
and C. T. Fosnot. Reconstructing Mathematics Education: Stories
of Teachers Meeting the Challenge of Reform. New York: Teachers
College Press, 1993.
S. J. Russell, and V. Bastable. "Teaching to the Big Ideas."
Reinventing the Classroom. Ed. M. Solomon. New York: Teachers
College, In Press.
Silver, E. A.,
J. Kilpatrick, and B. Schlesinger. Thinking Through Mathematics-Fostering
Inquiry and Communication in Mathematics Classrooms. Educational
Practice of Constructivism in Science Education. Washington, DC:
American Association for the Advancement of Science Press, 1994.
Ask Eric Lesson
Plans. Internet Address: http://ericir.syr.edu/Virtual/Lessons/
Planning Time for Teachers. Internet Address: http://www.scsd.k12.ny.us/levy/colab.html
the Internet. Internet Address: http://seamonkey.ed.asu.edu/~hixson/index/
Association, Charting New Frontiers: Creating High Performance Schools.
Internet Address: http://personalweb.donet.com/~eprice/tuthil.htm
Address: http//serendip.brynmawr.edu/Science oriented area. Internet
Regional Technology in Education Consortium. Internet Address: http://scrtec.org/solutions/
Teachers. Internet Address: http://www.pacificnet.net/~mandel/ClassroomManagement.html
Educator. Internet Address: http://www.gsh.org/wce/
Science (GSS). Lawrence Hall of Science, Berkeley, CA 510-642-9635
Problem Solving through Inquiry [Video Series]. NY State Education
Dept. Office of Educational Television and Public Broadcasting. Videocassette
in Science [Video Series]. Ed. Ann S. Rosebery and Beth Warren
of TERC. Heinemann. Videocassette. 800-541-2086.