Grant Wiggen rightly makes the point that anyone who is all a-fuss about close reading must not really know about the range of pedagogical traditions that get right at this central Common Core concept. Close reading approaches are not about 'removing scaffolding' and leaving students alone with the text, they are about very carefully teaching for independent and depth reading.
Nice blog by Joanne Yatvin where she recommends we concentrate more on "vigor" than on "rigor". Here's a snippet:
Now, more than ever, “rigor” is being used to promote the idea that American students need advanced course work, complex texts, stricter grading, and longer school days and years in order to be ready for college or the workplace. The Common Core State Standards (CCSS) already adopted by 45 states, were designed for rigor and will inexorably lead to it in all forms in almost all classrooms.
Since I believe it is time for a better word and a better concept to drive American education, I recommend “vigor.” Here my dictionary says, “active physical or mental force or strength, healthy growth; intensity, force or energy.” And my mental association is to all the Latin-based words related to life.
How much better our schools would be if they provided students with classes and activities throbbing with energy, growth and life. Although school buildings have walls, there should be no walls separating students from vigorous learning. No ceilings, either.
"Too often schools will offer remediation and slower paced courses to struggling students resulting in a wider curriculum and achievement gap. Think of acceleration as inclusive. Think of acceleration rather than remediation. A different mindset but one that can transform a school district." The authors of Opening The Comon Core, Carol Burris and Delia Garrity, hope to help teachers understand how to "implement the Common Core Standards thoughtfully, always keeping equitable practices in mind." Theybelieve that we "must do everything we can to give students the support they need for success so that they can master a challenging curriculum. That is what true equity is all about. The solution cannot be watering-down the education for our highest achievers."
Overview and links to some sample assessment tasks -- early iterations.
This links to a piece on Engelbart's blog that presents is a short introduction to his framing of an improvement infrastructure.
In this book, Mike Rose takes a look at the intelligence and skill of the American worker on the job. This book is a good, readable reminder to balance attention to the working and service classes as well as the creative class. Interesting to read this in relation to Communities of Practice.
Drawn from an ethnographic study of insurance claims adjusters, this book launches the conceptual framework for the 'communities of practice.' Dozens of further books put the concept to use, extend, and critique it, but this is the grounding text.
Bruce Nussbaum, an advocate of design thinking makes a point similar to Susan Lytle's about how formulas for process can miss the mark in terms of supporting significant learning. (BTW, the title is a little hyperbolic.)
In this essay, author Susan Lytle comments on the riskiness of engaged learning among practitioners, in this case teachers, when they take on significant questions that may disrupt hierarchies and established practices in an institution. She also notes that efforts to avoid these risks may end up encapsulating and reducing the learning process to formula. For another take on that, see Bruce Nussbaum's piece on Design Thinking below.
The IDEO design-thinking processes fits into this line of thinking about organizational activities and processes that aim to enhance learning, creativity, and innovation within organizations with a focus on the involvement of workers/practitioners.OpenIDEO is a site that works to build and share solutions across innovation sites: http://www.openideo.com.
With the motto 'Adult Learning in the Service of Student Achievement," the National School Reform Faculty® focuses on skillful use of collaborative professional learning communities called Critical Friends Groups®. They represent, therefore, a self-organizing strategy for practitioner learning in education. Dipping into the protocols on this site might make concrete some of the self-organizing tools that communities of practice use..
With a focus on schooling (but could apply to other institutions), Louis Gomez and Tony Bryk argue for a practice-centered improvement infrastructure based on networked communities. Learning/improvement/research processes strongly influenced by IHI. See also the current work of the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching on improvement science: http://www.carnegiefoundation.org/improvement-research/approach.
The IHI is a unique effort to create a cross-practice learning space for health care practitioners. Visit to learn about the effort and see how they organize their open school. Interesting to visit in along with reading Gawande.
This brief at infed discusses the distinction between organizational learning and the learning organization, while also looking at and reflecting critically on the contribution so Schon and Senge.
This is a PDF version of the Dewey classic where he theorizes experience and what it means to learn from it. There are some typos, etc. in the PDF version, though still very readable. The book is widely available, though, in libraries and for purchanse.
This overview of Kurt Lewin points to his development of the idea of action research as an approach to learning from experience.
This overview of Peter Senge's work focuses on the concept of the learning organization and on systems thinking as expressed in his book The Fifth Discipline. Both are centerpieces of Senge's approach to design and management of organizations that allow for the kind of learning advocated by others in this list.
Atul Gawande, surgeon and writer, takes up issues of performance and improvement of medical practice with a focus on the human dimensions of practitioner learning in the complex and mediated institutional settings of professional practice. In this book he focuses strong on the internal dimensions of improved practice. These themes continue in his other books such as The Checklist Manifesto. Gawande's reflection on the traditional medical practice of mortality and morbidity conferences is particularly interesting to this theme of practitioner learning. Recommended.
This short video with Susan Lytle, co-author of 'Inquiry as Stance: Practitioner Research for the Next Generation,' expresses the link between supporting empowered learning for teachers and valuing empowered learning for youth. The book she refers to provides an excellent introduction to theory and practice of teacher research and inquiry in the United States. The book itself is found at TC Press: http://store.tcpress.com/0807749702.shtml.