LEARNING TO REFLECT IN TEAMS

7 Cities + 145 teachers + Critical Reflection = Greater Student Achievement in India

Client: Large Student Achievement Organization

Challenge: India is purported to be one of the fastest growing economies in the world, and with an infrastructure that cannot keep up with its population, education is key to sustainability. Teachers are often secluded in the classroom environment, and lack effective protocols for engaging in critical reflection with fellow teachers. Despite research in the US that shows a link between teacher collaboration and student achievement, this concept had not yet been explored with great depth in India.

Outcome: Private schools in seven different cities customized their own approaches for teacher collaboration with buy-in from headmasters, while also discovering new opportunities for individual growth. This experience is reported to have had a positive impact on student achievement.

Discovery: Interviews and surveys administered to school leaders throughout India suggested that the primary difficulty for teaming among teachers was a divide in generational expectations. While younger teachers were eager to share what they learn and learn from others, veteran teachers also took the stance that experience alone was the best teacher. 

Dialogue: In coming together, teachers shared multiple illustrations of their frustrations regarding expectations around sharing and learning from experience. Younger teachers seemed to have adapted a more Western approach to learning from experience - the assumption is that learning from the past would help you behave in a more informed fashion in the future. Elder teachers took a more Eastern approach - that we can never "step in the same stream twice" and that the best way to go about learning is to let go of the past rather than dwell in it. For this veteran group, engaging all experience with a fresh look would bring the greatest benefit.

Epiphany: Together, both groups learned about the underlying premise of both adult learning philosophies. While many continued to operate off of their paradigms, certain pockets of teachers developed an approach that allowed all teachers both to learn from and also let go of unresolved conflicts in the classroom. The goal would be to take the essence of what you learn forward, while practicing non-attachment to the people, hopes, and fears operating at that time.

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