Community for Learning

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Carla Mayrink is the director and co-founder of The Community for Learning, an International School in the Dominican Republic. For the past 32 years she has worked as a secondary language arts teacher, an academic coach, and school director. She presents workshops on new initiatives in education including restorative practices, student-led learning, coaching, leadership skills, and professional development. Her work on inquiry based professional development has been highlighted in Edutopia. She has presented at AMLE 2020 the Virginia ASCD 2020 Annual Conference, the Equity and Anti bias Conference 2021, the FETC 2022, and others. Carla shares teaching strategies and innovations on her blog, the teaching experiment.

Key Takeaways:
  • It's very important to continually experiment and learn new things.
  • Give students the opportunity to have their voice heard, research ideas, and implement them. They want to make their experience better.
  • Give students the opportunity to not only work cross curricular, but also across different ages so they build a larger network of friendships instead of just their own age.
  • Engaged and empowered students attend school and work harder than when they are conforming to a rule.
  • You need to continuously learn everyday of your life. If you're going to keep up with the pace the world is changing. To do that you need to know how to effectively self assess to see how you're doing.
  • Student think tanks.
  • Insert half days for professional development into every week. Remember that you must model the instruction that you are asking teachers to perform in the PD you are offering.
  • What if we didn't grade our teachers, but instead coach them and have them reflect on their success or progress as we ask students to do the same. Leaders have to teach teachers how to properly reflect.
  • Writing letters for discipline. It's a process, but effective for stopping and improving behaviors. Never make a student apologize if they don't want to.
  • Fear is faster when dealing with difficult behaviors.
  • We need to give up control if we are truly going to improve others to the point where they are the best that they can be.
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Community for Learning