BEGINNING A THREE MINUTE OBSERVATION CLUB
Sophie State, a 2012 Knowles Teaching Fellow, received a Knowles Leadership Grant to start a three-minute club in her school during the 2014–2015 academic year. In its first year, approximately eight teachers conducted observations and met on a monthly basis to debrief, with the goal of becoming more critically reflective through a practice of guided observation and peer feedback. Another Knowles grant funded the expansion of the club into a second year. Building on these efforts, Sophie was awarded a Knowles Seed Grant to introduce the use of protocols—tools used to structure collaborative conversations between teachers—during the 2017–2018 academic year. The Seed Grant provided funding for a planning meeting to engage staff members interested in this type of work, as well as funding for subsequent meetings. The team hosted four pilot meetings between February and May 2018. The meetings provided opportunities for more than 40 teachers to experience the use of protocols to structure school-wide conversations and build trust. Conversations among teachers following these meetings were overwhelmingly positive: not only did participants return for subsequent sessions, but they drew in their colleagues by sharing what they had gained. The next steps in this initiative involve training a group of teacher leaders to facilitate the use of protocols with the rest of the school, an effort that will be partially funded by Knowles. During the 2018–2019 academic year, teachers will work in groups to improve instructional practice across the school.