By Nancy Flanagan

Most TLNers (Teacher Leaders Network) are well aware of the cutting-edge work that Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach and Will Richardson do in connecting teachers to  21st Century Learning–that is, the shift in ideas about learning, not the application of tech tools to old tasks. Powerful Learning Practice– professional development for the 21st century– will be launching a “NBCT Global Cohort” for the fall, and I am excited to be leading this work, along with other members of the PLP team.

The National Board’s standards, processes and lenses for defining and evaluating professional teaching practice are GREAT stuff (and freely available). But most teachers, school districts and organizations get hung up on the NB Certification assessment–“passing” the assessment, salary bonuses for NBCTs, supporting candidates for NB Certification, etc. Anyone, however, can benefit from those standards and processes, without having to be a formal candidate. And any NBCT can lead effective, embedded professional development using the National Board’s stuff–without the expense, risk and pressure of candidacy.

Powerful Learning Practice will offer an intensive experience with the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS) tools and lenses on teaching-a individual “deep dive” into the standards and protocols that make up the National Board process (as well as the emerging technologies and concepts that create a 21st century teacher leader.) We will spend the year examining teaching-our own or our colleagues’-using the NBPTS framework, a rich and complex investigative journey into what it means to be an effective teacher in the 21st Century.

This PLP Cohort is designed as
–    detailed introduction to the National Board processes and standards,
–    a support system for those who have already chosen to become National Board or Take One! candidates, and
–    a collaborative group for NBCTs who want to use the NBPTS protocols to lead professional development with colleagues.

Much of the work will be an ongoing collaborative seminar around case studies, writing as a way of examining practice, collaborative professional learning across roles and experience levels,  sharing of best practices through the NB assessment lens (standards-based evidence and evaluation of student learning) and, not coincidentally, using Web 2.0 tools to build professional learning communities cross-nationally.

This is not a candidate support group in which someone leads and guides teachers in how to be successful in achieving NBC or renewal! This a conversation–a learning community– with partners at different levels of understanding in how to use the NB materials and principles. Our goal -to bring NBCTs, teachers, administrators and other stakeholders together to use the gift of professional teaching standards and assessments to achieve the third NBPTS mission point: teachers as leaders, reforming their own schools and creating their own professional learning experiences.

It’s not about making more NBCTs (although that’s an option for participants). It’s about understanding how to spread and scale National Board ideas, through the use of social networking tools and as a result- nurturing more leadership.

There are special rates for school-based teams–and Sheryl has offered slots for NBCTs to act as PLP Fellows for free. We’re hoping for a broad, national learning community–and to attract amazing people!

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Susan Carter Morgan

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