Unmistakable Impact  

February 24, 2014
Reading Unmistakable Impact, by Jim Knight has been an eye-opener for me. The ideas that are discussed by Knight are critical to the work that we do as professional learning coordinators. We are in the business of helping our schools make an impact on student achievement which comes down to improving instruction. In order to do this, Knight proposes that we should take the partnership approach and treat the adults that we work with in a way we would like to be treated.

This approach includes ideas that are conveyed in seven simple principles:

1. Equality - The principle of equality helps us recognize that in a partnership the goal is not to convince a person to believe as we    believe but to understand that we all have equal value and when we put our ideas together we will come up with something better.

2. Choice – When partners see themselves as equals then each has the ability to make their own choices, and decisions can be made together. The caveat with this principle is that total choice, without structure, would be counterproductive.

3. Voice – We need to value the opinions of our teachers and administrators. We can do this most effectively by listening to and honoring what others have to say.

4. Reflection – By allowing time for reflection we are allowing for teachers to think for themselves, make notes on how their learning can be applied to their own classrooms, and to enjoy the task of solving problems that arise.

5. Dialogue – When we engage in dialogue it is a sign of respect. Dialogue is thinking together and reaching into our partner’s mind for their knowledge and creativity with the belief that we can make things better for our students.

6. Praxis – This is a very important principle for our work. We need to give the participants of our trainings the opportunities for actually applying the new learning to their own classrooms. If this doesn’t happen then the learning will all be for naught.

7. Reciprocity – This is the belief that we all can learn from the interactions we have with our teachers and administrators. Our profession is a learning profession and I bet if we surveyed the professional learning coordinators we would find that the best part of our job is the opportunities we have to learn.

These seven principles of partnership are critical for our work. We need to keep these principles in our minds as we go into schools and work with teachers.

-by Susan Evans, Professional Development Coordinator