Today I am reading The Artisan Teaching Model for Instructional Leadership by Kenneth Baum and David Krulwich and I am seeing a new take on the idea of teacher as artist. Baum and Krulwich write about the artisan-apprentice relationship, newer professionals working alongside seasoned educators and team leaders, collaborating and honing skills through collaboration with a deep emphasis on content and pedagogy.
Working in collaborative groups is not new. But, I do find Professional Learning Community (PLC) models to be too rigid for independent school settings. I have steered away from doing true PLC’s in my work and have, instead, focused on curricular work and unit creation in small group settings. Essentially this has meant working collaboratively to build a rigorous curriculum, a topic I wrote about it here.
There is a tendency to see professional development as a session on a specific topic, presented to a small or large group. But, the best professional development I have ever facilitated or participated in has been built on collaboration, usually focused around curriculum. I have seen far more success with this method because it is customized.
If I were to consider where I learned more as a professional, leading professional development for large groups of teachers or working in small groups, I would have to say I gained far more in small groups. Engagement yields better results here.
I am excited to dig into this book a bit more. I have been known to say that education is a craft. It truly is. I am anxious to read more about how to better refine my craft as an educational leader and learn a few new strategies as I read this book.