Teach for America Model Discussion on Transformational Change

Teach for America (TFA) is a national teacher corps of recent college graduates who commit two years to teach and to effect change in under-resourced urban and rural public schools.

Audience Focus

45 TFA staff members in Chicago

Goals

  1. Give staff the space and time to pause and step back from their work - to ask questions such as: Why we do what we do? What impact are we hoping to make? Why do we make this choice and not another?
  2. Help staff explore the idea of transformational change - What do we mean by it? What does this look like in action?
  3. Provide an opportunity to listen and understand the differing perspectives of colleagues
  4. Have staff walk away with more questions - ones that they will continue to reflect upon and discuss with their colleagues
Teach for America teacher poses with principal and students

Project Description

In May 2012, the Center for Civic Reflection led model discussions on transformational change with 45 Teach for America staff. The discussions served as a professional and leadership development opportunity -- a chance for staff to step back and ask themselves what transformational change would look like and feel like in their work. The discussions honed in on the idea of transformational change because this is one of Teach for America's core values and CCR and TFA agreed that pushing this concept and identifying what it might look like in action would be a productive, thought-provoking activity. The facilitators used the poem, "Imagine the Angels of Bread" by Martin Espada to spark the discussions and the participants found it to be very useful. Teach for America is now seeking to use civic reflection as part of their own staff and leadership development trainings.

Impact

  1. Since the model discussions, 4 TFA staff have attended CCR's Open-Call Trainings to gain a better understanding of how to integrate reflective discussion into TFA's leadership development training.
  2. Participants reported appreciating the opportunity to think and talk deeply about an idea that is essential to the mission of their work.
  3. Participants reported valuing the opportunity to hear from one another and feeling a stronger sense of staff community following the discussion.
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