Collaboration and Partnership
June 14, 2021

Educational Collaboration: Partnership at the Tang Institute

Partnerships play a key role in strengthening and enhancing Institute work
by Tang Institute

Partnership and collaboration have always been central to the mission and vision of the Tang Institute. Over the past year, the Tang Institute has been fortunate to participate in a collaboration with the Klingenstein Center through their Private School Leadership (PSL) program. As a practicum site, the Tang Institute worked with graduate students Mary-Patricia Moynihan, Matthew Spotts, and Amy Wilson to research and reflect on the mission and work of the Institute. Together, we explored two topics: how to enhance our faculty fellows program and how to enhance our “innovation diffusion” — the ways in which we collaborate with partners and share our work more broadly.

As part of their work with the broader community, our PSL collaborators interviewed 20 former Tang fellows, coded these interviews, and shared their findings with the team in two different research reports. They provided a literature review around professional development that will inform our subsequent work. They spent extensive time with Tang Institute staff and offered recommendations that have energized our work on campus and with partners.

More than anything, our time with these three collaborators allowed us to think deeply about what the Tang Institute is at its core. This deep engagement with questions of mission and vision have informed our ongoing strategic planning process, and help us see with greater clarity the role that reflective communities of teacher-practitioners play in the work we have done and aspire to do going forward.

An example of this networked approach to professional learning took place in April as part of a different collaboration between the Tang Institute and the Klingenstein Center. In partnership with Dr. Nicole Furlonge, Director of the Klingenstein Center, the Tang Institute brought together educators from public, private, and charter schools to discuss and reimagine a central topic in education: professional development (PD). Educational research is clear that much of the professional development available to educators is expensive and ineffective (see this 2015 report, “The Mirage” from TNTP as only one example). How might we do better?

Daylong gathering brought together educators from public, private, and charter schools.

The day featured presentations from educators in a range of contexts: Dr. Alisa Braithwaite and Lisa Baker spoke about the Milton Humanities Workshop; John Camardella spoke about his ongoing partnership with Harvard DIvinity School’s Religion and Public Life initiative; Deep Sidhu spoke about developing GOA’s Designing for Equity course; Caroline Lee and Dana Kooistra spoke about their partnership with UPenn’s Independent School Teaching Residency in mentoring new teachers. In the afternoon, the group worked to reimagine what professional learning could be. How can we take what we know from the educational literature and our own practice as educators to design learning experiences for teachers that lead to enhanced student learning?

Our collaborations around professional learning can only strengthen our ongoing growth efforts. More shared language, shared protocols, and shared learning across independent schools foster not only community but also shared responsibility to the larger question of professional learning in schools.

Indu Singh Dean of Teaching and Learning, Milton Academy

As the Tang Institute continues the process of refining our strategic vision for the years to come, we remain grateful to have the opportunity to collaborate with individuals and institutions who are leading the charge to rethink good teaching and learning. Our work with Klingenstein exemplifies our commitment to creating time and space for researchers and practitioners to connect, supporting networks of teachers focused on common problems of practice, and then widely sharing what we’ve learned in conferences, papers, and other publications. We look forward to keeping you updated on this journey. Stay tuned!

Categories: Partnerships, Featured

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