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Realistic in demand and innovative in approach, this practical and powerful improvement process is designed to help all teachers get going, and keep going, with incremental professional improvement in schools.
- Grade Level: PreK-12
- ISBN: 9781506340401
- Published By: Corwin
- Year: 2020
- Page Count: 112
- Publication date: December 30, 2020
With all of the everyday demands of teaching, the job of improving classroom practice is a challenge for teachers and school leaders. Grounded by research and field-tested around the world, Teaching Sprints offers a professional improvement process that works in theory and practice.
Including insights from the field, and practical protocols, this book outlines a simple model for engaging in short bursts of evidence-informed improvement work. Using Teaching Sprints, teams of teachers can enhance their expertise together, in a way that is sustainable on the ground.
In Teaching Sprints, readers will find:
- three big ideas about practice improvement
- a detailed description of a simple improvement process
- advice on how to establish a routine for continual improvement
Whether you’re a classroom teacher thinking about your own practice, an instructional leader supporting colleagues to teach better tomorrow, or a school leader interested in enhancing your program for professional learning, Teaching Sprints is a must-read for you.
"Among the greatest unresolved issues within schools is developing great models of implementation: Sprints is certainly one of the breakthroughs. This book can make major improvements in schools and classrooms, ironically by focusing on tiny shifts."
John Hattie, Laureate Professor
Melbourne Graduate School of Education
"Once in a while you come across a book that really cuts through the complexity of issues and provides a refreshing and practical approach to improving what happens in schools. This is such a book. Evidence-based, easy to read and full of down-to-earth ideas that busy teachers can implement. I love it."
Steve Munby, Visiting Professor
University College London
Former CEO, National College for School Leadership
Whether you’re an educator, instructional coach, school principal or system leader, we hope this book helps you to explore key questions that are important to you:
- How can teachers focus on improving, when they’re already overwhelmed by the extreme demands of teaching?
- How can we provide the opportunity for all teachers, regardless of experience and expertise, to incrementally improve their practice in every term, every year?
- What “big ideas” are important to know if I want to improve my own professional learning, or the professional learning opportunities of my peers?
- How can we sustain a focus on teacher learning through the regular pressures of a school year?
- What is Teaching Sprints, and how have others used this simple process to drive lasting practice improvements in the field?
Table of Contents
About the Authors
Part 1 – Big Ideas About Getting Better
Part 2 – The Teaching Sprints Process
Part 3 – Establishing an Improvement Routine
Conclusion – Better Than Before
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Among the greatest unresolved issues within schools is developing great models of implementation: Sprints is certainly one of the breakthroughs. This book can make major improvements in schools and classrooms, ironically by focusing on tiny shifts.
Once in a while you come across a book that really cuts through the complexity of issues and provides a refreshing and practical approach to improving what happens in schools. This is such a book. Evidence-based, easy to read and full of down-to-earth ideas that busy teachers can implement. I love it.
Michael Fullan, Professor Emeritus
In our work we find that 80% of our best ideas come from leading practitioners. This book is a godsend to this domain of learning from doing. With three big components, and three guidelines to quick action for each idea, Teaching Sprints helps people to get to action and learn from it quickly. Identify best bets, and establish improvement routines. Breakspear and Ryrie Jones have given us a strong framework for action in frantic times.
Michael Fullan, Professor Emeritus
Tom Sherrington, Education Consultant and Author
As someone who works closely with teachers to support their development in a wide range of contexts, I found Teaching Sprints absolutely inspiring and illuminating. Simon and Bronwyn have managed to capture the complex process of teacher improvement in an elegantly simple framework with crystal clear underlying principles founded on both practice and research evidence, alongside very practical implementation tools. It's a brilliant concept and I'm sure a lot of teachers and leaders will find this incredibly valuable.
Danielle Toon, Associate Director
Simon and Bron have such a practical way of combining insights from research and practice to help teachers have the best possible impact in their classrooms. This book is a goldmine of practical, tried-and-tested and evidence-informed strategies for teachers and school leaders who want to improve what they do.
Social Ventures Australia
Anthony Mackay, President & CEO
Authors Breakspear & Ryrie Jones, informed and supported by fellow practitioners & researchers, deliver a powerful Guide for a profession committed to getting better at good work. The Teaching Sprints model is an ‘innovation lab in the school’; it is a rigorous, adaptive, and impactful approach to embedding professional learning. Teaching Sprints advocates iterative and sustainable improvement in collaborative professional practice - but it does much more - it demonstrates how to do it!
Leanne Peters, Assistant Superintendent
Teaching Sprints is an important book for anyone who works with teachers on practice improvement. Breakspear and Ryrie Jones provide a simple, flexible process for engaging small groups of teachers in developing their craft of teaching. Using simple, straightforward protocols, Teaching Sprints helps teachers to engage with relevant research, choose one small piece of their craft to change and make that shift to ultimately improve student learning outcomes. I can't wait to share this book with all teachers in my district!
Hanover School Division
Michael McDowell, Superintendent
For too long teachers have been asked to change practice outside of the context of the classroom and outside the realm of engagement with students. Here, Breakspear and Ryrie Jones provide a logical, sensible, and pragmatic approach that enables the busy teacher to improve in the classroom with kids. Start with best bets, practice makes progress, and focus on tiny shifts are the key ingredients to launching doable and long-lasting improvement. This is a brilliant book every teacher, coach, and leader should use as they seek to improve teaching and learning.
Ross School District
Adrian Piccoli, Professor
This book delivers exactly what teachers want – a structured, logical and achievable strategy to improve their classroom practice and reflect on evidence of impact.
University of New South Wales Gonski Institute for Education
Barb Isaak, Executive Director
Teaching Sprints provides educators with a lens to think about and explore their practice in tangible ways. The clearly articulated process facilitates collaborative conversations among teams, with a focus on evidence informed decisions. The opportunity to practice, adjust and reflect supports teachers’ professional learning through ongoing intentional and incremental adjustments over time.
Manitoba Association of School Superintendents
Richard Gerver, Speaker, Educator
As the world turns faster and with increasing uncertainty, we, as educators, need to be agile and excellent. We need to project our professionalism and do everything in our power to ensure that the system we deliver is worthy of our children and their futures. This book is brilliantly researched, incredibly pragmatic and, most importantly, profoundly important in helping us all to meet that challenge.
Author, Education: A Manifesto for Change
Lindy Smith, Principal
As a school principal, I’ve found Teaching Sprints to be the most effective way to facilitate teacher improvement. It is simple but powerful because it gives teachers a real sense of satisfaction. Through each Sprint, and sometimes in a short space of time, they see both personal improvement and improvement in their students.
Trinity Catholic School
Neil Barker, Former Director
Brilliant! As school leaders we live, eat and breathe school improvement. In Teaching Sprints, Simon and Bron give us a practical and effective way to make it happen. I wish they had written this 20 years ago when I was a principal.
Bastow Institute of Educational Leadership
Kylie Donovan & Donna Beath
Our teachers are proof of the impact Teaching Sprints has on improving their practice and ensuring impact. Teachers meaningfully engage in Teaching Sprints because they know it works.
Hoxton Park Public School
Angela Dobbin, Assistant Principal
Teaching Sprints has enabled our teams of educators to refine and improve their teaching practice by engaging with research. The Sprints process fosters collaborative learning and has been a valuable form of professional development in creating lasting change. I like that teachers reflect on their current practice and then identify areas where they could improve their expertise. The change is evident in the conversations you hear in meetings where the first step is engaging with research to inform the decisions we make. It is not uncommon to hear teachers say, ‘Well, what is the best way of teaching...?’ Sprints has reaffirmed the need for teachers to be continual learners who constantly strive to get better, regardless of their experience.
Northbridge Public School
Steven Hooke, Principal
As a school leader, I credit the role Teaching Sprints has had in shaping staff culture – it’s one of continual teacher improvement. Through Sprints, teachers at my school routinely improve their effectiveness while simultaneously building strong relational trust.
Joanne Graham, Principal
The Teaching Sprints process has become embedded in our school’s practice. Teachers collaborate, using the three phases of a Teaching Sprint to research around best practice, implement, review, refine, and assess. Improvement in student learning outcomes is evident as a result of the focus on improving and refining teacher pedagogy.
Kurnell Public School
Kate Foley, Prep One Teacher
Teaching Sprints is a great process that allowed our team to have some engaging professional dialogue on our teaching practice. It gave us a safe space to reflect on research and share our learning.
Trinity Catholic School
Karen Graham, Deputy Principal (Instructional Leader)
Transformative. Timely. Teacher and research informed. Teaching Sprints provides us with the space for deliberate dialogue around two critical aspects of education; improving student outcomes and shifting pedagogical practice.
Blairmount Public School
Adam Box, Education Director, Partnerships, Schools, and Preschools
Teaching Sprints has enabled our portfolio of schools/pre-schools to be involved in a consistent organisational process for developing teacher practice and collaboration. As a local Education Team, the impact of this approach has been clearly identified through the collection of evidence which is enhancing our overall Site Improvement focus.
Department for Education
Ryan Dunn, Lecturer
This book starts with a compelling proposition for anyone involved in teacher learning: “If it doesn’t work for teachers, it doesn’t work.” What Simon and Bronwyn outline is an evidence-based, field-tested, no-nonsense process to support teachers in continually improving their teaching practice. This is a timely and welcome addition to the teacher learning discourse.
Graduate School of Education, University of Melbourne
Simon Lindsay, Manager
Through Teaching Sprints, thousands of our teachers and leaders now have another, and arguably better, way of moving through a disciplined inquiry process - the intentional experimentation, the fast fails, the iterative improvement. It is these small shifts that have added up over hundreds of our schools to make improvement across a system. We now have more expert teachers who not only know the most impactful teaching strategies, but where and how to use them, for which students and at precisely the right time.
Improved Learning Outcomes
Nicole West, Deputy Principal
Teaching Sprints are so successful because the core values privilege teacher need and student improvement above anything else. Sprints have transformed our approach to professional learning and teacher growth. We now have a truly authentic and impact driven model for our teachers to engage with.
Beaumaris Primary School
Pasi Sahlberg, Professor of Education Policy
It is evident that if we wish to make education systems significantly better, we need to focus simultaneously on transformation of education system and improvement of teaching. The art of sustainable educational change is to find small steps that would make big impact in teachers’ practice. Teaching Sprints is a book about that. It is a great resource for leaders and teachers who are looking for practical ideas that can improve what teachers do in schools every day.