I haven’t done as much summer reading this year as in the past. In part because I am working on so many projects and writing myself. Also, because I wasn’t sure where to start. There are so many great books to read and so little time. I chose to start with this one. Shift This! I first chose this because Joy Kirr is amazing and I have tremendous respect for all that she has done and shared. Secondly I chose it for a very specific purpose. I want to move the needle. After a year working with staff and students in my current position, I want to start finding ways to help teachers shift to more innovative practices that provide students with more direction over their learning.
This book is perfect. It has been years since I took many of the first steps to create a more students directed classroom. I get frequent reminders when delivering professional development that the “easy steps” I often describe are sometimes in a completely different language. This book has been a great reminder of ways to shift teaching and learning in the classroom.
It also reminded me that I want to provide a major shift in professional development for educators. I want to create opportunities where teachers can understand the why, how, and WHO behind making shifts in their practices. I see all three components as crucial. We surely need to start with WHY. Shifting practices should be done with a purpose. Identifying that purpose ought to be the catalyst for any real change. HOW should guide us in clear, achievable steps. Getting teachers started in making changes can be a challenge. Teaching is difficult. It gets fast and furious, so changes need to be easy to make (like the one’s in SHIFT THIS!) Finally and often underrated is the WHO of making changes. Making changes requires support. You need to find those who have been there before, hopefully recently, and build relationships with them that will provide you with support. Without the WHY, HOW, and WHO making changes can often fall short and creating real shifts in instruction becomes much more difficult to achieve.