A friend has been bugging me for about a year to read “Creating Productive Cultures in Schools” by Joe Murphy and Daniela Torre. She received a few pre-publication chapters and called me a year ago and said: “You have to read this book when it comes out. It’s all about your work.” The title is long and didn’t really strike me as very intriguing. I don’t work specifically in schools and so I put it off. But this weekend I bought it and took a look inside. The book has eight chapters, many of which I skimmed—that should be a Common Core skill, if it’s not. I perused chapters 4, 5 and 6 more carefully:
- Supportive communities of learning for students
- Communities of professional practice for teachers
- Communities of professionalism: barriers and supports
Two lists emerged that made me pause and that I thought worth sharing.
The concept of personalized learning communities really struck me as a powerful construct. You’ve seen me blog about personalized learning so I love the notion of a personalized community for both teachers and students.
A personalized learning community for students includes (p 65):
- Providing assistance
- Offering encouragement
- Ensuring availability of safety nets
I also loved the idea of teachers, administrators, parents and other students trying to provide these qualities of a personalized learning community.
The other list that made me pause was that of the core elements of mission-driven schools:
- Sense of hope
- Norms of commitment
- Asset-based thinking
- Student focus
- Academic anchoring
- Outcome focus
- Norms of continuous improvement
- Norms of collective responsibility
Do you feel like these qualities ooze out of the bricks of your school? Why not?
Sometimes in a busy world, it’s good to just make a list or take a look at someone else’s list to center your thinking.