Updated: Jan 29, 2021
When we consider the research behind the power of teacher collective efficacy, an obvious question must emerge:
Why aren't all schools, in all districts, in all regions, in all states--focusing their teacher development around professional learning communities?
According to the research of John Hattie's Visible Learning team, collective teacher efficacy yields the highest influence on student achievement (with a 1.67). Simply put, teachers believing in their power to work together to influence student learning--that is the thing, the hidden secret, the true gem we seem to pretend to search for. We ask, and ask, and ask: what else can we do? What next strategy can we use? What next book can we read? What have we missed? Why aren't we good enough at this?
We worry that we are failing. Our students, our communities, our principals, ourselves. We know learning isn't supposed to be "this way," full of high-stakes pressure, red, yellow and green lists, and punitive evaluation systems.
But here's the rub: we have to take ownership over learning. Like, really take ownership. As in, refuse to assign consequence or blame or responsibility to anyone or anything else. In order to beat the system, we have to break the system. By totally dismantling it. Leaving nothing behind but schools and schools full of dedicated, compassionate, skilled teachers--who know in their souls it is their willingness to get better together--that makes all the incredible difference.
What parts of the system need broken? The parts where we place our trust in programs or packages. The parts where we doubt our abilities to grow and learn together. The parts where we fear our vulnerabilities will demonstrate weakness.
It's time to re-wire our thoughts, and believe that we have the ability, together, to influence learning.