Jennifer Lutzenberger Phillips, Director of Learning, Teaching, and Pathway Development at ConnectEd, and a former classroom teacher, is always searching for resources to make change easier for teachers and site leaders. In a recent interview, when we explored the question, “Is your climate right for learning?” we learned about a tool that can help administrators and teachers figure that out.
What do administrators and teachers need to know about their climate for learning?
They need to know if the culture, leadership and team dynamic are conducive to learning. Teacher teams and site leaders must grapple with these questions, “Is this place the kind of place that is set up well to get all teachers learning together and to move outcomes for kids? Or is this a place that is not set up well and if it is not set up well, why? What’s the missing piece?” It boils down to figuring out whether or not people are ready – as a team – to learn what they need to learn in order to successfully implement a new approach, curriculum, student outcome, district policy, accountability system or site program. Often when leaders realize there’s something wrong with climate, they try to identify promising programs, strategies or practices that teachers could put in place to improve the situation. New programs and strategies require time and structures, as well as certain conditions—like psychological safety and trust—for the learning to result in new practices.