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Understanding Instructional Change and Teacher Growth

Why this article is worth discussing: For most teachers, change keeps their courses fresh and invigorated. It’s an antidote to all about teaching that doesn’t change: content fundamentals, courses taught, passive students, exams, assignments, and grading—a list we can polish off with committee work. Despite the importance of change, we don’t spend much time thinking about the processes associated with it: What makes teachers decide to change, do they make more than one change at once, do changes in one course migrate to another, does a pattern of change emerge across the teaching years? This article merits discussing because it explores what a faculty cohort said about why, how, and when they made changes and whether those changes fit into a trajectory of instructional growth. Reading their answers stimulates reflection on change and growth—that of oneself and one’s colleagues.

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