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Alignment Involves Constant Nurturing: April 30, 2021
For stakeholders to work effectively as a team, taut alignment must persist among all elements of the teaching and learning system. Weak alignment, or a lack thereof, often causes confusion, frustration, and declining outcomes in schools.
Alignment weakens when scant attention is paid to the transformations among components. Alignment also fails without an established culture and vision, which overwhelm strategies for professional development, instructional resources, and assessment.
Significant effort is required for healthy culture and clear vision. Schools must name, nourish, and norm on these basic principles.
As examples, a traditional school may choose to emphasize procedural fluency (whether it names this vision or not). A more progressive school may choose, say, to emphasize applied knowledge via school-wide themes (e.g., health sciences or engineering).
A school that claims to emphasize conceptual understanding, but holds tightly to the standards as merely skills for students to master, will invariably struggle to implement a progressive-minded curriculum program. A traditional school that expends energy to teach conceptually will struggle to obtain buy-in from the community, if it does not clearly articulate its goals and approaches.