Consulting Overview

I am an advocate for literate human beings. When I consult, I facilitate a focused discussion about maintaining balance and overcoming barriers when designing a literacy program.

Designing professional development for literacy is challenging. Success requires thinking through the following questions:

  • What are the qualities of an effective literacy program?
  • How does the faculty and administration determine those qualities?
  • What qualities already exist once they have been determined?
  • What kind of staff development design supports the needs of the faculty to implement the determined qualities?
  • What other initiatives compete with a literacy focus for staff development?

What actually works in designing professional development for literacy? A key concept is balance.

  • There needs to be a balance between a focus on literacy and all the other initiatives demanded of teachers.
  • There needs to be balance between learning new content and the process of building commitment and community.
  • There needs to be balance between teachers independently trying out new applications in their classrooms and opportunities to reflect and analyze with colleagues.

Workshops coupled with in-class support, coaching and collegial study groups go a long way to maintain these balances.

The research literature on educational change has identified ten barriers to change. They include the following:

  1. unstable environments
  2. no clear vision
  3. isolationism
  4. rigid organizational patterns
  5. separation of departments/grades/groups
  6. fear of leading
  7. paralyzing sameness
  8. fear of failure
  9. oppressive power relationships
  10. the desire for a quick fix.