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In a recent (January 30th, 2012) New Yorker article on “Groupthink,” author Jonah Lehrer observes the following: The most creative spaces are those which hurl us together. It is the human friction that makes the sparks. Lehrer's statement, grounded in decades of research in social psychology, is that the most constructive form of collaboration is one in which a diverse group of people, i.e., those from different discipline areas and backgrounds, engage in “the vigorous exchange of clashing perspectives.” Educators who have participated in effective PLCs have learned that some degree of conflict between group members is not only healthy but, in many cases, necessary to move the group forward. However, when strongly-opinionated individuals are unwilling to even consider differing perspectives, progress is unlikely. Perhaps ...

Ensuring Effective Teachers: Evaluation as a Measure of Effectiveness and a Guide for Professional Growth
Ensuring effective teachers: Evaluation as a measure of effectiveness and a guide for professional growth

As I began working on this chapter, Chicago Public Schools teachers were on strike. While disagreement over class size, salaries, school closings, and more led to the strike, the proposed teacher evaluation system was the Chicago Teachers Union's main concern.

Objecting to the heavy reliance on student standardized test scores, the union declared

There is no way to measure the effectiveness of an educator. Further, there are too many factors beyond our control which impact how well some students perform on standardized tests, such as poverty, exposure to violence, homelessness, hunger and other social issues beyond our ...

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