KDSL Global interviews Leisa Grace Wilson of Teach Middle East Magazine

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Our KDSL Global Intern recently had the opportunity to interview Leisa Grace Wilson of Teach Middle East Magazine. This is the premier magazine for educators and the entire education sector in the Middle East and beyond. They offer information on a wide range of topics ranging from finance, culture, travel, leadership, school news, and more.

 

Tell us about the Teach Middle East Magazine.

Teach Middle East Magazine is the premier magazine for educators and the entire education sector in the Middle East and beyond. Our vision is to equip educators with the materials and tools they need, to function optimally in and out of the classroom. We provide a space for educators to connect, find inspiration, resources and forums that are aimed at enhancing their teaching techniques, methodologies and personal development. We connect education suppliers and service providers to the people who make the buying decisions in schools.

 

What topics are you hoping to cover in the future?

The upcoming Volume 7 of Teach Middle East Magazine will continue to feature strategy filled articles, interviews and research-backed pieces for the connected educator.

 

What is your editorial style?

Teach Middle East Magazine focusses on ensuring that the articles it carries add value to educators and help them to perform optimally both inside and outside of the classroom. The magazine is divided into two sections. ‘Class Time’ and ‘After the Bell’ catering to both the professional and personal development of educators.

 

To learn more about Teach Middle East Magazine visit https://teachmiddleeastmag.com/

For their latest issue visit https://teachmiddleeastmag.com/teach-middle-east-magazine-sep-dec-2019-issue-1-volume-7/

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Leisa Grace Wilson is the Editorial Director of Teach Middle East Magazine. She has been working in education for the past twenty-two years as a teacher, Head of Department, Education Advisor and Vice-principal. Leisa Grace has worked in the United Kingdom and the United Arab Emirates. In 2014 she joined Teach Middle East Magazine, where she shares her passion for education through her writing and editing of the print and online issues of the magazine. She is also a speaker and has presented at education conferences globally.

 

 

KDSL Global interviews Allison Rodman of the Learning Loop

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Our KDSL Global Intern recently had the opportunity to interview Allison Rodman of The Learning Loop. Allison challenges schools and districts to examine all aspects of their learning organization and focus on the connections among culture, collaboration, and communication as levers for growth.

 

What is the importance of personalizing the learning process for educators?

We look to teachers to know their students, build strong relationships with them, and personalize learning to meet their interests, readiness, and learning preferences, yet these considerations are often neglected when designing and facilitating professional learning for educators (at all levels). This is not unique to education and is a universal challenge within adult education. However, it is perhaps most concerning in the education space where we do not model the learning principles we expect teachers and leaders to implement themselves.

Additionally, we fail to recognize that adults learn in different ways than students. There is 50 years of andragogical research providing insight in this space, but we continue to ignore critical factors such as job-embedded practice, social construction, and relevance when designing professional learning experiences. We spend millions of dollars as schools, districts, and businesses to build human capital, but the engagements, for the most part, are designed and facilitated poorly.

 

 

How do your personalized professional learning services focus on improving culture?

I partner with schools, district, nonprofit organizations, and businesses to move beyond planning professional learning sessions as “events,” but instead, sustained “experiences” for intentional and targeted collaboration and growth. We look to create true learning organizations rather than simply one-time, sit-and-get workshops. Together, we examine a multitude of data points, including student achievement and growth data, observation and evaluation data, and staff needs assessments (as well as other metrics specific to each partner). We explore a continuum of learner agency and look for opportunities to elevate learner voice, co-creation, social construction, and self-discovery. In this way, learning experiences become not only purposeful and personalized, but also begin to shift the paradigm of learning within the organization as a whole in organic and authentic ways.

 

 

Tell us about your book “Personalized Professional Learning: A Job-Embedded Pathway for Elevating Teacher Voice.”

The book provides district and school administrators with a roadmap for transforming existing professional development programs into more effective and innovative learning experiences that elevate onsite expertise while still aligning with school and district priorities. It is a step-by-step guide for diagnosing, planning, executing, evaluating, and refining teachers’ professional learning. Supported by research and informed by the experiences of educators across the United States, the book distills best practices for adult learning into clear advice and ready-to-use tools.

 

For more information please visit http://www.thelearningloop.com.

 

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Allison Rodman is an educational consultant who provides professional learning services to districts, schools, and educational nonprofit organizations.

Allison is deeply committed to connecting educators together and sharing resources to personalize the learning process for all (both students and the educators who support them – at every level of the system).

The goal of her work is to support the whole child and whole educator to view learning as an ongoing experience and not an endpoint. This process includes learner voice, co-creation, social construction, and self-discovery.

 

 

KDSL Global and the GCC ASCD Connected Community Convene the Powered by Teach to Lead Summit

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On Friday, October 4, and Saturday, October 5, MENA region teachers and teams will convene in Dubai as part ofan initiative of the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD) Connected Community in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) called the Powered by Teach to Lead Summit.   During a summit, teams of educators convene to think deeply about a problem of practice – an idea for how to improve learning in their school or country context – and to work as a team to plan solutions. Organized by KDSL Global, a UAE-based education company, the Powered by Teach to Lead Summit seeks to allow participating teams to:

  • Share ideas and best practices and learn from examples of existing teacher leadership efforts;
  • Identify common challenges and create concrete, actionable teacher leadership plans to address them locally;
  • Network and build relationships with other educators and leaders in their region; and
  • Identify promising ideas for follow-up support through future engagement events.

Dubai based Teacher Leader Evo Hannan said, “When you live a life beyond your limits, you have experiences beyond your imagination.”   Hannan will be the featured speaker on the first day of the summit andis currently the Spark Tank Coordinator at Dwight School Dubai. He continues to develop new ideas and leads a collective of innovative educators called ‘Innovation X’. He is also the founder of ‘Teacher Society’, a global education community that promotes teacher well-being and professional development, and the creator of the #INN4SDGs initiative.

 

Educators, school leaders, and teams from the MENA region are encouraged to apply early to attend.  More information can be found at http://www.gccascd.com/teachtolead.

 

 

ABOUT KDSL Global

KDSL Global is a UAE-based leading learning organization focused on empowering educators and education businesses globally.

 

ABOUT GCC ASCD Connected Community

Our goal as the GCC Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD) Connected Community is to unite educators throughout the region, inspiring all of us to learn globally and teach locally.

 

 

PRESS CONTACT

Ashley Green, KDSL Global, gccascd@gmail.com,  +971 525427009

 

KDSL Global interviews Rania Nasr

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Our KDSL Global Intern recently had the opportunity to interview Rania Nasr of Risalla Education Consulting. Currently, Nasr is based in the United Arab Emirates and passionate about training, teaching and learning, and shifting how Arabic and Islamic Education are taught in schools. Her company is a new collaborating partner with KDSL Global.

Tell us about Risalla Education Consulting.

Risalla Education Consulting provides hands-on workshops designed specifically for teachers of Arabic, Social Studies, Moral Education, and Islamic Education. We aim to help them create a student-focused learning environment, quality lesson plans, differentiated activities and assessments, and engaging resources to increase the level of student engagement and enhance the overall learning experience. We are a Dubai-based training and education consultancy, exclusively dedicated to improving the teaching and learning of those subjects across the region. By incorporating the most recent teaching methods and practices, our workshops focus on how to engage students in higher order thinking skills within those subject areas, and keep them motivated to achieve the standards set by the Ministry of Education.

Our cross-cultural domain expertise gives us unique insight and ability to cater to the challenges currently facing Arabic and Islamic Education departments in the GCC. We understand that teachers come from varying backgrounds in education, with different outlooks on teaching and learning. In order to unify and improve this framework, it is important to bridge the gaps between Western pedagogy and Arabic/Islamic culture by providing specialized training for teacher of those subjects. Our vision is to strengthen those departments from the ground up so that they are in line with other subject areas and meet international standards of education. We provide a range of services and resources to suit each and every school needs, schedule and budget.

Our services include, but are not limited to:

  • Workshops:  Hands-on and focused, delivering best teaching practices, covering everything from effective lesson planning to differentiated assessments
  • Coaching:  Working closely with individual teachers during school visits, observations conducted to assess learning within the classroom, designing a program that best fits the needs of the teacher/department
  • Curriculum Documentation: Aligning lesson plans to curriculum using standards and benchmarks, highlighting learning outcomes for each lesson
  • Recruitment: Assisting both schools and educator candidates, ensuring high quality teaching provision at our member schools.
  • Resources: Training teachers to design their own resources to facilitate learning to increase student engagement and motivation in the classroom

 

What challenges are Arabic and Islamic Education currently facing?

  • Arabic and Islamic Education in most schools are not in line with all other subject areas because they are not engaging enough to keep students focused and motivated, and in many cases students do not take pride in their language and culture.
  • Schools do not invest in training their Arabic and Islamic Education teachers on a continuous basis, and when training is provided it is not concise, specialized, or focused.
  • Students are generally unmotivated, uninterested, and shy away from these subject areas in international schools. There is little sense of pride and enthusiasm shown, and the underlying cause is always the method in which these subjects are being taught.
  • Teachers of Arabic and Islamic Education come from varying backgrounds and have different mindsets when it comes to education. Often times, their teaching methods are traditional and lack creativity.
  • Lack of online resources, and lack of engaging use of technology within the classroom

 

Tell us about the teacher training your company offers.

  • We have over 50 training courses approved by KHDA, and are delivered in both Arabic and English.
  • We work directly with teachers in our training’s through a hands-on learning environment.
  • Our training courses are themselves models of how to plan an effective lesson while considering differentiation, assessment for learning throughout the lesson, and engaging activities throughout. The training’s also focus on the ways in which teachers can ensure and measure progress within lessons.
  • Our training’s cover various topics and are based on the teacher’s development needs. The topics covered range from depth of knowledge, visual learning and inclusion to preparing for inspections and assessment data. We work with both teachers, and head of departments to ensure they are successful in expanding their skill sets and applying them into their work.

 

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About Risalla Education Consulting

Rania Nasr is the Managing Director and Head Trainer at Risalla Education Consulting. They are a Dubai-based training and education consultancy, exclusively dedicated to improving the teaching and learning of Arabic Islamic Education and Social Studies across the region. Our goal is to ultimately move away from traditional teacher-centered practices to creating a more learner-focused environment in the Arabic/Islamic classroom. By incorporating the most recent teaching methods and practices, our workshops focus on how to engage students in higher order thinking skills within these subject areas, while motivating them to achieve the standards set by the Ministry of Education.

To learn more about Risalla Education Consulting visit https://www.risalla.com.

KDSL Global interviews Marla Hunter

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Our KDSL Global Intern recently had the opportunity to interview Marla Hunter of Live. Love.Teach!, LLC. Currently, Hunter is based in the United Arab Emirates and passionate about coaching, diversity, and inclusion. She is a new collaborating partner with KDSL Global with plans to focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion in the international education space.

 

Tell us about your work mentoring teachers.

I have been mentoring educators for almost 10 years now. Without mentors or instructional coaches, teachers would flounder in every decision they make. I use practical strategies to support the teachers that I coach and elevate. This helps to improve the quality of education for students.

Below are the steps that I use during coaching/mentoring

  • Reassuring new teachers
  • Providing encouragement to all
  • Offering feedback
  • Being there during the “oh no!” and “ah ha!” moments
  • Reflecting together

 

Tell us about your work towards moving schools to embrace diversity and inclusion.

Diversity and inclusion is something that I have been working on since I began my work in education 15 years ago. It is important to remember that it is the responsibility of educators to embrace diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) of the students in their care; whether the student is in their immediate classroom or not. NPR‘s Bill Chappell reports that, according to the Census Bureau, “By around 2020, ‘more than half of the nation’s children are expected to be part of a minority race or ethnic group.’” Can you imagine that this is just the USA? Just think about GLOBAL education. When I moved abroad I helped to start a Facebook group catered to People of Color (POC) teaching abroad and wanting to move abroad to teach.  I have conducted several Periscopes and Facebook Live conversations to discuss DEI and other concepts of global education.

As a collective we need to stop talking about DEI in international education and start taking action.

  • Building community
  • Building trust
  • Instruction/Professional Development

 

What leadership coaching services do you offer?

I offer the following services that can be found on my website:

https://www.missmarlahunter.com/coachingservices/

  • Teacher Mentoring
  • Leadership Coaching
  • Technology Coaching
  • Employee Training and Development

https://www.missmarlahunter.com/professional-development/

 

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After a successful career of teaching in both public and private education in Nashville (TN), Memphis (TN), and Orlando (FL), Marla Hunter is now teaching internationally and has taught in the following places: China (Shenzhen), Nigeria (Abuja), and currently the UAE (Al Ain).

Marla graduated from University of Memphis, by way of Oakwood College (now University), with a Bachelor’s in K-8 Education and from Nova Southern University’s MATL (Master’s of Teaching and Learning) program where she earned a degree in Curriculum and Instruction.

It is believed that as educators we must work to inspire the students with a love of learning. We must also teach them how to learn and equip them with the tools necessary for their next step in life. The child must work to be teachable, to practice their lessons faithfully, and to learn from their mistakes and from the mistakes of others. Finally, the classroom must encourage curiosity, foster thinking, and facilitate productivity. It must be a safe and inviting environment in the eyes of the child.

Marla is a firm believer in the use of EdTech & a lover of Maths. She has participated and facilitated several math initiatives in Tennessee and Mt. Holyoke University: SITES-M School (Strengthening Instruction in Tennessee Elementary Schools) – Focus on Mathematics, Summer Math for Teachers Working with Data: DMI Training/ DMI Facilitation Training, Summer Math for Teachers Geometry: Examining Features of Shape DMI Training/ DMI Facilitation Training, and SITES-M DMI Training for Teachers Number and Operations, Part 1 Building a System of Tens: Calculating with Whole Numbers and Decimals. She also provided quarterly Parent PD (Early Childhood Parent Sessions) in Reading, Math, and STEM/STEAM at the International School of Abuja.

Marla’s school in Nashville, TN was also the anchor school to begin the use of Common Core State Standards for the state. Marla receive training and became a trainer in CCSS for both K-8 Maths. She developed workshops to help educators in Memphis & Orlando. She also helps school districts, homeschool co-ops & various educational companies development EdTech and other curriculums for their various programs.

 

 

MENA Teacher Summit 2018

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Dubai, 11 October 2018: The MENA Teacher Summit was held in Dubai last weekend, on 5th and 6th of October. Organized by KDSL Global and an initiative of the ASCD Connected Community in the GCC, the Teacher Summit seeks to improve teaching and learning and connect education professionals throughout the MENA region to the resources provided by ASCD. ASCD is dedicated to excellence in learning, teaching, and leading so that every child is healthy, safe, engaged, supported, and challenged.

Hundreds of educators from 8 countries and over 40 partner organizations from across the region and the world participated in the professional learning opportunity held at Marriott Hotel Al Jadaff. Attendees had 35 different workshops to select from with topics as diverse as teachers as same designers, developing resilience in young people for all aspects of life, inclusive education, coaching as a framework to improve student achievement, and teaching students to self-assess and reflect for deeper learning. The participants were welcomed on Saturday by His Excellency Salem Khamis Al Shair Al Suwaidi who shared the importance of schools in uniting the 200 different nationalities who live in the United Arab Emirates. Featured presenter and ASCD author Starr Sackstein said, “The conference was a well-organized learning opportunity for all who attended, participants and presenters. The conversations and collaborative problem-solving were unique opportunities to provide better learning for all students.”

The day one pre-conference and opening keynote speech on day two was given by ASCD author Dr. Victoria Bernhardt. Victoria is known worldwide as a leading authority on data analysis for continuous school and district improvement. She is the author of 22 highly praised books on data analysis, school improvement, Response to Intervention, and more. Teams of teachers were introduced to a program evaluation tool featured in Dr. Bernhardt’s book Measuring What We Do in Schools and used this resource with an example from their own school.

For more information about the summit and partnering organizations visit http://menateachersummit.com. The group has changed the name of the summit to the GCC ASCD Conference and the next professional learning opportunity will take place during 4-5 October in 2019.

 
ABOUT KDSL Global

KDSL Global is a UAE-based leading learning organization focused on empowering educators and education businesses globally.

ABOUT GCC ASCD Connected Community

Our goal as the GCC Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD) Connected Community is to unite educators throughout the region, inspiring all of us to learn globally and teach locally.

PRESS CONTACT

Kevin Simpson, KDSL Global, menateachersummit@gmail.com, +971 55 344 9286

KDSL Global interviews Collective Learning

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How can collaborative learning systems best benefit schools? KDSL Global recently had the opportunity to interview Dr. Sarah A. Boswell to learn more about the approach at her company called Collective Learning. Dr. Boswell is a scholar-leader who continues to lead change in schools.  Her international experience and research interests serve as the catalyst for her success in helping teachers globally become leaders of their learning & well-being. Her international experiences with teachers range from exploring teacher support programs in Ghana, West Africa, designing curriculum for teachers in Liberia, West Africa to training teachers in United Arab Emirates and Jakarta, Indonesia.

What are the most common problems CLS sees improving for schools?

Collaborative Learning Systems (CLS) seek to improve for schools their ability to maximize teachers’ talents … helping teachers tap into their personal power. We believe effectively and authentically navigating teachers’ personal power allows their talents and expertise to thrive is the first ingredient in handling common concerns relating to teacher retention, teacher satisfaction, teacher quality, and teacher efficacy.

Through our process of establishing collaborative learning systems in schools, we build in the necessary components within the school’s culture that creates a productive, safe, mutually respective environment for sharing and learning. These components include trust and rapport, healthy communication and listening skills, and reflection and application. Teachers are at the core of designing, facilitating these systems. Hence allowing them to gain a sense of ownership as well as an opportunity to utilize their expertise, ingenuity, and knowledge. They guide the process for effective learning, problem solving and innovation. It becomes an inner support for teacher consisting of teachers.

An article I recently read regarding teacher burnout coined a term that I have not heard before, demoralization. It shares that burnout and demoralization can both lead to teachers’ dissatisfaction but distinguishes them way by saying that burnout – requires individual teachers to determine the resolve via mindset, stress management remedies, etc. But the author, Doris Santoro, states that demoralization relates more so to the conflict that teachers have between their desire to do good work and what is expected by school policy. Therefore, placing some of the resolve on the system versus only on the individual teacher regarding burnout.

I do recommend one to read the article in its entirety (The link is below). An example of a moral conflict she shares that I feel many can relate to is: “Failing to meet students’ learning needs due to a scripted curriculum or mandated textbook.” Conversations relating to this are commonly seen or heard in the teachers’ lounges, grade level meetings, etc. but hardly ever brought up to school leadership as an area of concern to try to resolve. Yet, Ms. Santaro indicates through her over 10 years of research in the area of teacher dissatisfaction, she’s noticing these and other similar conflicts are a key cause of teacher dissatisfaction. She gives one good example of a teacher named “Diana” who had brought up moral conflict to leadership who in turn dismissed her point of view and considered it unprofessional.

So the point that I am making here by bringing up this article (besides I think every teacher and leader should read it) is I’m grateful to the author for bringing attention to an elephant in the room that needs to be addressed. By being a teacher and working with teachers via my teacher conversations (coaching sessions) and/or my teacher collaborative (teacher group discussion) these conflicts –where teachers have to decide between what is in the best interest of children and the expectation of school policy and practice — are not new.

My service to teachers stems from wanting to help teachers to navigate, within their realm of control, strategies to manage and effectively cope with these systemic situations. Being able to change the situation has never been the resolve nor could it be or would it ever be. BUT what Collective Learning has been successful in doing is giving teachers an opportunity to talk productively and exploring what can be done and create a strategy towards it. That mere momentum can shift the feelings of helplessness and victimization, a source of unhappiness and dissatisfaction, to a feeling of hope and possibility.

Teachers are often aware of the top down organizational models that they are walking into when they decide to teach. Yet they still do for the love of teaching and impacting the lives of children. What my CLS models do is teach ways to create space to pause, and allow teachers individually or collectively to use their ingenuity to create solutions, strategies, alternatives to manage the day to day events in their work lives stemming from their own professional learning needs and beyond. Going back to the article, the author speaks about the need for leaders to first identify the true cause of teacher dissatisfaction and continues to offer leaders suggestions of ways to respond to the moral concerns of teachers.

Read the article to get all of them. However, the themes of her suggestions include the concepts of communication and listening (key concepts of CLS process). One specific suggestion states to invite teachers to write a proposal to resolve and address conflicts within their work. That is an awesome idea & my Teacher Collaborative is the perfect solution to facilitate a discussion among teachers to create a concise proposal.

But here is where I think the author and many, many other people tend to create the gap when asking teachers to do things like common planning time, professional learning communities, co-teaching, and write a proposal with your colleagues. I think you get my point.

BUT … if the school culture has not gone through some sort of trust and rapport building to create safe space, have not provided learning around productive and polite conversation protocols for tough topics, have not practiced effective ways to listen and respond, then why do you think teachers will all of sudden be able to effectively comfortably openly honestly delve into these collaborative open system mechanisms for resolution, innovation and progression? Then when it doesn’t work leading to the potential of having the cycle of demoralization continuing.

With all the great intentions of so many researchers, school policy makers, school leaders and administrations –wanting to create collaborative concepts among teachers in schools … to apply distributive leaderships in schools … to have teachers openly share their concerns with schools …. they are sometimes remised in not tapping into the pulse of teachers and developing effective safe group dynamics needed in an educational system that has historically focused on and been driven by isolation, individualism, authoritative models of governing and functioning.

It’s a process to genuinely create these safe collaborate environments but starting is the key. I understand that schools generally are working from a product result oriented intention but it’s my sincere belief that schools will need to shift to embracing “process” and celebrating the change as it occurs incrementally over time.

So what does CLS seek to improve in schools? We seek to close the gap. Doing so by offering solutions that help school cultures be open and safe environments where teachers’ talent and personal power can be safely and respectfully expressed and utilized to co-create with leadership resolves around whatever is needed. This could be their professional learning, stream lining the curriculum, best ways to handle lunch duty, value conflicts that impact their work, etc. With the key goal of keeping in mind the interest of all involved in order to best serve and meet the needs of students.

How does using CLS improve things for teachers and students?

CLS improves things for teachers by giving them tools to help them improve things for themselves. We believe teachers come into the schoolhouse with much valuable knowledge. Teachers’ talents can be best maximized when given a means to identify problems, a process to resolve it, a procedure to evaluate and revise it, if needed. That’s what CLS does. We give them the means, processes, and procedures to facilitate self-guided improvements.

So what’s the source of CLS success. It is organically and authentically driven by teachers’ needs. If they have issues dealing with a student in the classroom, they can have a teacher collaborative around it that fosters a structured way to creatively brainstorm solutions. If the school decided to implement the 4C’s of a Learning Culture then they can engage peer collaboration where they see peers in action and have a constructive learning conversation around the teacher specific learning need.

But again, these solutions aren’t just collaborative models that are dumped onto teachers. We build the foundation for healthy safe collaboration to occur. Now things improve for the students by being the beneficiaries of teachers who are open and comfortable to sharing their skills and talents; to maintaining and even innovating new approaches to teaching and learning.

And other sweet benefit or improvement for students includes teachers who are happier, who have an increased level of teacher efficacy, teachers excited about coming to their work environment and showing up in the best possible way they can.

I am not trying to create this Polly Anna world of teaching … there will be situations, experiences, and encounters that will not be able to be resolved or resolved to the satisfaction of people involved. BUT having a system in place where the mere support of a listening ear and validation could make a world of difference in the life of teachers.

 

Does CLS require a large host of teachers to actively collaborate? Or could a smaller school use it?

Nope definitely not! School size does not matter. What’s awesome about our CLS solutions is that it’s geared toward meeting individual, team, and organization needs. This stems from our theories derived from the concepts of organizational development and dimensions of a learning organization.

Our Teacher Conversations are geared toward teachers who want to engage in a one-on-one conversation about their practice, dilemma, and/or ambitions with a professional coach outside of the school. Teacher Collaborative provides opportunity for supportive teams to convene for learning and/or problem solving purposes. The 4C’s of a Learning Culture is a school-wide process for providing ongoing learning for teachers.

The size only constitutes the amount of knowledge that is resting under one roof. However the ability to share, learn, grow, and innovate from that knowledge has no barring on the size of the school. The only thing required for CLS are teachers and school leaders who are open to the positive and productive impact that teachers’ talents (their personal power) have on creating, innovating, and problem solving solutions within schools.

 

To learn more about Collective Learning Systems visit https://www.clteachertalent.com/ and to read the ASCD article referenced go to https://tinyurl.com/ya46qasn.