In October 2013, the Cotsen Foundation for the ART of TEACHING conducted a survey of nearly 900 of its current and alumni program participants, as part of a survey organized by the National Center for Literacy Education (NCLE), a coalition of leading education organizations, foundations, and experts dedicated to improving literacy learning across the country.
Building on their survey from the previous year, which determined that professional collaboration among educators is critical to the success of teachers and students, this year NCLE sought the input of nearly 3,000 teachers nationwide to better understand the different approaches that schools and teachers are utilizing to implement the Common Core State Standards in literacy. Earlier this month, NCLE released the results of this survey in a report entitled Remodeling Literacy Learning Together: Paths to Standards Implementation. Below are a few of its key findings:
- Nationwide, teachers feel ill-prepared to help their students achieve the new literacy standards.
- Working with peers is the most valued support for standards implementation.
- Time for working together in schools is decreasing.
- Teachers feeling most comfortable tend to be those more frequently working with others to analyze student work, design curriculum, and create assessments.
- When given the opportunity, teachers are owning the change by innovating and designing appropriate lessons and materials.
“Some of the findings from the report point to disturbing trends that suggest many schools still lack the support and resources they need to create the conditions in which students can flourish,” said Jerry Harris, executive director at the Cotsen Foundation for the ART of TEACHING.
“We are heartened, however, that our approaches at the ART of TEACHING are in line with what survey respondents have highlighted as important factors that will help their students successfully meet the new standards in literacy and beyond.”
As Cotsen mentors and fellows know first hand, the ART of TEACHING firmly believes in supporting its administrators and teachers to build collaborative and professional cultures at their schools, where teachers are empowered to be leaders, pursue innovative training, engage in professional dialogue, examine student work together, reflect on their own teaching, observe one another’s teaching in order to push themselves to the next level, and create classroom environments where students are encouraged to think deeply.
Cotsen teachers and principals often describe these practices as having a direct impact on instruction across a variety of disciplines and preparing their schools for the Common Core State Standards. In this video, Jacki Teschke, a principal in the Cypress School District, reflects on how her experience as an ART of TEACHING alumna has enabled her and her school to successfully prepare for the Common Core. In this video, Cotsen alumnus Sean Lindsay (formerly a teacher in the Long Beach Unified School District) describes the conditions he believes are critical to teachers successfully implementing the Common Core, conditions that are at the heart of the ART of TEACHING model.