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TEACHER DEVELOPMENT NETWORK MISSION & VISION STATEMENT

To teach is to make an incredible Journey--and the stage of the journey largely predicts the needs teachers have. There are many, many teachers who have been developing their craft a long enough time that there is a kind of "generativity" need to convey the wisdom they have acquired and to have an effect in this era of ed reform on the directions public education will take in the next 10 years and beyond. This need has few outlets at present.

Particularly on the horizon is the shift toward Small Schools and to more strategic involvement of parents and families. More caring and responsive relationships among teachers, administrators, students and parents are possible through pursuing these two aims, and they are definitely on the radar screen for ed reform now.

Along with these directions there seems to be a focus on learning as a student responsibility, much of which can be done independently--including on-line, in internships, libraries and museums.

A present need and probable future direction is the recruiting of teachers who will "learn to teach by teaching. These and related emphases are touch on in the on-line courses, workshops, and web pages I have developed, and that the Teacher Development Network is now beginning to market.

Part of the problem is that teachers have worked largely in isolation, and that there is no tradition of craft-sharing. Web-based professional courses can be part of the answer. They bring teachers into contact with what other teachers and their students have done, give opportunities for choices of what to look at, voice in responding along with teachers from other districts and states--even countries, and even the opportunity to develop their own professional development tracks and courses.

Along with learning or further developing their abilities to create web pages and develop web-based course segments, teachers can help shape a future of smaller, community-based schools, networked with other schools around the globe, and fostering a more personalized form of learning that includes some classroom, some service learning, some web-based education, some independent projects, some school-to-work--with varied assessment including standardized tests, portfolio assessment, exhibition before public evaluators, and gateways to higher levels based on performance rather than time.

This is where I envision we are heading, and I want to be in the vanguard of this, accompanied by teachers and educators interested in their own and others' empowerment.