Monday, January 23, 2012

Gradual Release of Responsibility

As a parent and as a teacher I've often thought in terms of a gradual release of responsibility.  For example as I parent I moved from driving my children to school, to having them walk to school by themselves and eventually to the moving off to university by themselves.  As a teacher we move from walking our class from one special to another and then back to the homeroom, to letting them go somewhere as a class, through to letting them go somewhere in pairs and eventually going alone.  Does this model also work with teachers?

As I've been preparing myself for leaving my school at the end of the year I've been considering how I haven't yet released this responsibility much for the teachers.  In my previous two schools I certainly did this.  Each year I handed over the responsibility of one of the six units of inquiry to the teachers to lead the technology, which meant that after 5 years in one school and 4 years in the second the teachers were pretty independent users of technology by the time I left. For a variety of reasons this hasn't happened at my current school.  Therefore during the final few months I'm really making an effort to release much more responsibility for the use of technology onto the teachers.  This year instead of posting student work on our student website I have supported the teachers as they have set up their blogs and posted various things the students created onto their blogs.  I have moved away from the extensive support that I gave them in the past 2 years so that I am now sitting with them or even just sitting in their rooms as they are blogging in case they need me.  I am also trying to build up the support that the grade level teams can give each other, but I feel I'm racing against the clock.  The 4-year plan that I originally had has turned into a 3-year plan, and I'm worried that by the end of the year we're not going to be where I wanted us all to be. We can't move forward any faster - there are already way too many demands on the teachers' time - but I keep asking myself:  can I do more to support them?

Photo Credit:  Reaching out by Andrew and Hobbes AttributionNo Derivative Works 

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