Welcome to the Companion Website

Welcome to the companion website for Teaching Better: Igniting and Sustaining Instructional Improvement. This site provides practical tools and resources for incorporating the improvement portraits and other central ideas from the book in your daily settings and practice.

Contexts for Use
The resources are primarily designed for the building level but can also be adapted for system-level leaders working to effect change at the building level. Possible use cases include professional development seminars, faculty meetings, leadership team meetings, principal training events, teacher team meetings, university courses, and teacher induction settings

Flexible Sequence
The suggestions and resources need not be implemented in a linear sequence. Rather, the starting point depends primarily on local school context and specific implementation needs. Leaders at one school already underway with collaborative inquiry but struggling to effectively mobilize leadership and assistance might begin with the key principle and practical resources in Chapter 5. Leaders at another school, working to effectively structure newly established settings for collaborative inquiry, might focus attention on resources from Chapter 3. And leaders at yet another school, seeking to revive problematic groups through joint productive activity, might focus on Chapter 6. As needs change and implementation cycles progress over a period of years, leaders can continue incorporating additional resources that best align with their immediate priorities.

Important Tips

  • Spread out the introduction of “Improvement Portraits” over time (one or two per year) to gradually deepen knowledge of improvement principles, develop shared language around key terms and concepts for inquiry, and renew faculty commitment for sustaining the process. Focusing on one portrait at a time allows for elaboration on the metaphor and key principle through steady application and deliberate teaching efforts across the year. This approach also extends the value and utility of the portraits over multiple years of implementation.
  • After studying the presentation notes and metaphor descriptions, create your own talking points by determining the length of your presentation or discussion and specific elements of the metaphor you want to emphasize.
  • Develop your own presentation and application ideas for the portraits. Exchange ideas with your colleagues, and use #TeachingBetter on Twitter to share what you learn.
  • Be sure to download the presentation slides, which include full digital images of the portraits!