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The difficult c: contention

One of the inevitable byproducts of conversation, especially purposeful conversation, is contention. Inthe story above, both schools experienced some level of disagreement in finalizing their mission statements. The differencewas that, in the first school, teachers retreated from the point of contention rather than attempting to explore and understand it. TheEnglish teacher, John, made a legitimate point: how can teachers say that they ensure student learning when there are so manydifferent, important variables that are out of their control?

When educators are asked to make collaborative decisions, there are bound to be differences of opinion. If you andI are required to give a common assessment at the end of a unit on adding and subtracting fractions, we are also going to have toagree on certain curricular and instructional points. I may favor a quiz full of multiple-choice questions and short word problems,whereas you may favor a performance task in which students apply their knowledge of fractions to a novel situation. In order forstudents to be successful on either of these assessments, they will need to have participated in activities that align with thoseassessments, i.e., curriculum and instruction will both need to lead toward the assessment. Now we are not just talking about acommon assessment, we are talking about philosophies of teaching and learning. Once the assessments are graded, what if I requireevery student with a failing grade to retake the assessment until they score at least a 70, while you count the first score no matterhow low it might be?

In PLCs, teachers have to work through contention. In fact, research suggests that it is the way in whichteacher teams deal with conflict that ultimately determines the extent to which a school can become a true professional learningcommunity. In a comparison case study of two middle schools, Achinstein (2002) examined the micropolitical factors that canaffect the development of teacher community. One of the key features that emerged from her study was the way in which teachersmanaged conflict within teams. According to Achinstein (2002):

The kinds of organizational learning purported to result from building community among teachers are deeply linkedto how they manage the difference amid their collaboration. The processes of conflict are critical to understanding whatdistinguishes a professional community that maintains stability and the status quo from a community engaged in ongoing inquiry andchange. (p.446)

So how does a school leader help teachers address contention in productive ways? First, it is important toremember that many educators have never been required to collaborate in this manner. In traditional schools, teachers canretreat from contention, returning to their classrooms to do things the way they want to do them. Therefore, while it is important torequire that teachers work together and achieve some level of team consensus despite contention, it is also important to supportteachers in this process. As a school leader, sit in on formal conversations that have a chance of becoming contentious(department or grade-level meetings focused around developing curriculum or assessments, or meetings that include analysis ofstudent data are good candidates), and model for teachers the ways in which contention-laden conversations can be addressed. Onestrategy in this arena is to emphasize practice over personality; that is, in discussing teaching or assessment strategies in theclassroom, use language that focuses on the actual practice disconnected from the teacher who employed it. Take the temperatureof faculty members through formal data collection practices (e.g., staff surveys) and informally through casual conversations, and bewilling to slow down if disagreements or frustrations are interfering with organizational effectiveness. While somecontention is a healthy sign that important issues are being addressed, be careful that feelings are not getting hurt and thatteachers feel supported and valued in their efforts. Finally, consider the following strategies:

Questions & Answers

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Shanjida
Need to simplify the expresin. 3/7 (x+y)-1/7 (x-1)=
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. After 3 months on a diet, Lisa had lost 12% of her original weight. She lost 21 pounds. What was Lisa's original weight?
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Cied
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Porter
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Porter
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Yasmin
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Cesar
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Uday
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what is system testing?
AMJAD
preparation of nanomaterial
Victor Reply
Yes, Nanotechnology has a very fast field of applications and their is always something new to do with it...
Himanshu Reply
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AMJAD
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AMJAD
what is the application of nanotechnology?
Stotaw
In this morden time nanotechnology used in many field . 1-Electronics-manufacturad IC ,RAM,MRAM,solar panel etc 2-Helth and Medical-Nanomedicine,Drug Dilivery for cancer treatment etc 3- Atomobile -MEMS, Coating on car etc. and may other field for details you can check at Google
Azam
anybody can imagine what will be happen after 100 years from now in nano tech world
Prasenjit
after 100 year this will be not nanotechnology maybe this technology name will be change . maybe aftet 100 year . we work on electron lable practically about its properties and behaviour by the different instruments
Azam
name doesn't matter , whatever it will be change... I'm taking about effect on circumstances of the microscopic world
Prasenjit
how hard could it be to apply nanotechnology against viral infections such HIV or Ebola?
Damian
silver nanoparticles could handle the job?
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not now but maybe in future only AgNP maybe any other nanomaterials
Azam
Hello
Uday
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Uday
this technology will not going on for the long time , so I'm thinking about femtotechnology 10^-15
Prasenjit
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Prasenjit Reply
At high concentrations (>0.01 M), the relation between absorptivity coefficient and absorbance is no longer linear. This is due to the electrostatic interactions between the quantum dots in close proximity. If the concentration of the solution is high, another effect that is seen is the scattering of light from the large number of quantum dots. This assumption only works at low concentrations of the analyte. Presence of stray light.
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Source:  OpenStax, Hennis test course. OpenStax CNX. Jun 27, 2007 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col10430/1.1
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