How do skill and will affect our work?

jackson2013_fig1.1A year or two ago, I attended the Pennsylvania Association of School Administrator’s Women’s Caucus conference in Hershey.  One of the Keynote speakers was Robyn Jackson, author of Never Underestimate Your Teachers.  During the Keynote, Robyn shared her ideas about masterful teaching.  She talked about how to determine if a teacher had the will and/or the skill(s) to move forward in his/her practice.  Through her skill matrix, she helped us understand we all have different skill levels and will drivers. Recognizing the skill level and will drivers can help leaders determine how to best support teachers. (I think this can also apply to instructional leaders!)

I was intrigued and later read her book. In the book, Robyn offers tools to help diagnose teachers’ skill levels and will drivers.  She also provides ideas and suggestions for helping teachers grow by providing the support they need tailored to their will drivers. Her ideas can apply to new or veteran teachers, and can be applied to a specific context or multiple contexts.

I am thinking about her book in the context of a teaching and learning initiative which we are currently implementing – TL2020.  (You can learn more about this initiative at In this digital teaching and learning initiative, we are asking teachers to create diverse learning opportunities, both with and without technology.  We are using the SAMR framework and Webb’s DOK to guide our conversation and thinking.  Thinking about this initiative and what we want our classrooms to look like, I am applying the skill/will framework.  Do our teachers have the skills needed to make these changes/develop these types of learning activities?  Do our teachers have the “will’?  Do they see the value of this initiative?  I am also making connections to our leadership team. Do our leaders (myself included) have the skills and the will to implement these goals?  If not, what do we need to do to support each other?

You can watch this webinar with Robyn Jackson to learn more about her ideas and how they may apply in your district.

In this blog, which I entitled “Share to Learn,” I am hoping to learn from my readers too!  Each post will have a couple questions to consider in the hopes of engaging you in the conversation.

Questions to Consider:

  • What are some ways you have built skill with your teachers/leaders?
  • What are some ways you have influenced will with your teachers/leaders?

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