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Invest in Teachers, Focus on Learning, and Put Test Scores in Perspective

Other Titles in:
Education | Principalship

December 2012 | 176 pages | Corwin
Do you feel bogged down by endless administrative tasks? Do you wish you could focus more on what truly matters—learning? Learnership provides both insight and solutions for moving past the distractions and becoming a learning leader. Cathy Toll illustrates this transformational process through activities and focused "learning conversations."

Toll uses supported actions, theory and research, real-life stories, and narrative bibliography to explain how the practice of learnership can be implemented on a daily basis. This book offers:

Practices to help teachers improve their effectiveness using problem-solving techniques

More effective ways to approach data, testing, and accountability

Strategies for supporting Professional Learning Teams (PLT) and educational coaches

Learnership is an invaluable resource for principals and teachers in school-based leadership roles, or anyone who wishes to focus on school improvement and their own personal growth as a leader in education.

List of Figures
About the Author
1. Introduction to Learnership
Felicia Robertson, Washington Intermediate School

Gordon Fielding, Centerville High School

The Difference

2. Look for Learning
Teacher Learning as a Path to Student Learning

How to Look for Learning

Principals as Learning Leaders


3. Understand Learning
Systems Learn

Shifts in Identity

Shifting Perspectives


4. Inquire into Learning

Sources of Information

Contradictory Claims

Differing Viewpoints



Data Redux

A Role for Principals


5. Put Test Scores in Perspective
Mile Markers on the Journey

What Information?

Information of Greater Value

So What?

Principal Attention to Student Learning

Teacher Learning

Teacher Supervision

These Curious Times


6. Influence Learning

Tune In to Disequilibrium

More on the Question

Prompt Disequilibrium

Processes that Enhance Learning


7. Support Learning
Educational Coaching

Professional Learning Teams

Principal Leadership


Frequently Asked Questions
Narrative Bibliography

“Administrators will find this book to be a useful tool in working with their staffs to encourage 'Learnership' throughout their buildings.”

Nancy M. Betler, Talent Development Facilitator and National Academic League Commissioner
Eastover Elementary, Charlotte, NC

“In Learnership, Cathy Toll reminds us that we didn’t get into the teaching profession to make 'data-driven decisions' and shows how starting with an issue and 'thinking data' can enhance learning. This book came at the perfect time in my career. It’s a book I’ll keep around to reference & refuel.”

Andrew Goodin, Chemistry Teacher
Soldan International, St. Louis, MO

“Cathy Toll makes a contribution in the professional field and calls educators to focus on student learning instead of data and instruction as the tools for student learning.”

Patricia J. Burke, Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction
Freeport School District, IL

Sample Materials & Chapters


Chapter 1: Introduction to Learnership

Cathy A. Toll

Cathy A. Toll is a consultant and author who supports learning by helping professional learning teams, educational coaches, and school leaders to invest in teachers’ capacity to make a difference for students.. She has published widely for teacher leaders, including four books for coaches and numerous articles in professional journals. She has served as a teacher at the elementary, middle, and high school levels, a reading specialist, a curriculum coordinator, a principal, director of literacy research and development, university professor, grant director, consultant, and educational coach. Her PhD is from Pennsylvania State University,... More About Author

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ISBN: 9781452216461