TC² @ 25
Focus for This Month
Success Stories
Next Steps
Media Release
TC² @ 25
Focus for This Month
Success Stories
Next Steps
Media Release

June: Professional Learning Designed to Transform

“Who dares to teach must never cease to learn.”
—John Cotton Dana

Many educators agree with the message in Dana’s words, and they accept the implied challenge to embrace the attitude of a life-long learner. When teachers take the plunge to improve their teaching practices, however, they can sometimes come away disappointed—as can the system leaders who plan the professional learning in the first place.

The proof in professional development lies in the results

  • Have you ever attended a professional learning session only to have your wisdom, experience, or knowledge devalued?
  • Have you found that one-size-fits-all approaches do not fit you or your classroom?
  • Have you discovered that the checklists or formulas for success turn out lack-luster results?
  • Have you noticed that short-term approaches merely lead to short-term change?
  • Have you ever organized a professional learning session that disappointed your team?
For 25 years, The Critical Thinking Consortium (TC²) has worked to change educators’ answers to those questions. TC² holds dear its commitment to work collaboratively with educators to nurture thinking schools and thinking classrooms. The hard work has resulted in the creation of a responsive and powerful professional learning framework with the potential to utterly transform teaching and learning.

Collaborating with our partners

Perhaps the key to TC²’s successful approach is trust. We have learned to listen deeply, and to engage meaningfully with our educational partners, who are individual educators, schools, school boards and school districts, associations, and faculties of education. By connecting, consulting, and planning, we learn about our partners’ existing practices and work together to develop a plan to integrate those practices with TC²’s framework. In other words, we work collaboratively with educators to help them identify three things:

  • what they would like to affirm about their current practice
  • what they would like to refine, given their new learning
  • what they aspire to achieve to better support the needs of their learners
Our collaborative approach also entails working alongside our partners to understand their budgets and local learning contexts in order to design professional learning programming and approaches that are responsive and respectful, and therefore more likely to “stick.” We recognize the diversity of learning spaces, and seek to offer opportunities that respond to those realities directly.

Working with teachers

TC² prides itself in working shoulder-to shoulder with teachers to refine existing practices, plan lessons and units, and embed critical inquiry into their approach. Being nimble and adaptive to the needs of educators across grades, subjects, and contexts means TC² can enter the conversation at multiple entry points to hone existing routines and strategies.

When TC² is invited to work with a group of teachers, we might start with discussions designed to shed light on their most pressing needs and problems of practice. We use “tweaks and fortifications” to enhance existing practices and work to break down challenges into manageable parts. We work with teachers to help them identify reasonable aspirations. We inspire teachers to move out of their comfort zone and put critical inquiry at the core of learning. Our creative and collaborative approach often leads to a renewal of teacher passion to innovate.

Working with organizational partners

In the case of a partner that is a school, school board or school district, or faculty of education, we might begin by working with the organizational leaders to envision how existing and emerging educational priorities and initiatives can be brought to life through a commitment to quality thinking (thinking that is critical, creative, and collaborative).

TC² has the expertise and professional know-how to work with our organizational partners in widely diverse capacities. Consider the following examples:

  • conducting annual partner needs assessments, for the purpose of better hearing our partners’ voices
  • collaborating with our partners to develop high-quality, relevant resources tailored to the needs and aspirations of our partner and designed to work with the professional development we offer
  • designing multi-year programming to support long-term priorities and goals
  • offering interactive online professional learning sessions (both whole group and one-one-one)
  • presenting powerful conference sessions
Our work with our partners is at the center of TC²’s mandate, and it is the work of which we are most proud as an organization.

Transformative learning in classrooms everywhere

Over time, TC² has evolved—along with our partners—so that today we can together bring transformative teacher and student learning into classrooms everywhere.

Please reach out to TC² to share with us your experiences of integrating critical inquiry approaches into your classrooms and to explore opportunities for us to support your professional learning journeys.

—The TC² Team

Send us an email!