The Role of School Organization, Social Capital and Collaboration in the Improvement of Teachers and Teaching. From Research Findings to Policy Proposals
555 New Jersey Ave., NW (4th Floor), Washington D.C. 20001
Current education policies haven’t sufficiently leveraged the organizational and interpersonal aspects of schools (e.g., relationships among teachers, between teachers and administrators) which can benefit educators and students collectively. Instead, the focus has been primarily on technical and individual-level approaches. For example, policies aimed at improving teaching have concentrated on identifying and retaining only those individuals deemed the most talented. This approach rests on the idea that our education system will only get better by increasing the quality of instruction one teacher at a time. However, a focus on individuals seems insufficient and limited; a simultaneous and equally strong focus on strengthening the organizations where teachers work appears sorely needed.
At this convening, a small, diverse group of researchers, policy makers and practitioners will explore whether and how social and organizational aspects of teachers’ workplaces influence their development and effectiveness. Our planned program is designed to:
1. Facilitate joint, critical analysis of the research on this topic with the goal of creating a shared understanding of the most pressing questions about teachers' workplaces.
2. Identify what we know and with what level of confidence and questions for which more research is needed.
3. Encourage participants to engage in joint design of policy proposals that leverage the evidence on how social-organizational aspects of schools shape teaching.
4. Generate partnerships between researchers and philanthropic organizations to help support a research agenda around these ideas.
Participants are expected to attend the entire convening. Conversations are off the record and will not be video or audio recorded; note takers and observers will help document our discussions. Reports of the seminar should not quote or identify participants, although participants are free to publicly discuss the seminar and its work in general terms. We ask that all participants adhere to this norm.
This event is by invitation only and is possible thanks to the generous support of the Spencer Foundation.