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The Learning Studio

John Holland

December 6, 2015

My Friend Shoko

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Recently, I had an incredibly unique professional development opportunity. My principal asked if my family would host an exchange teacher from Saitama, Japan through the Richmond Sister Cities Commission. After some discussion we decided we would do it. Through the experience I made a new teacher leader friend even though Shoko had never heard of those in Japan. Before this experience I had never wanted to travel to Japan.

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John Holland

November 15, 2015

Learning is Uncomfortable


Recently my new principal, who is showing every sign of empowering teachers and students, showed us the following quote in a staff meeting.

“Teachers who truly understand what they want their students to accomplish will almost surely be more instructionally successful than teachers whose understanding of hoped-for student accomplishments are murky.” -W. James Popham

She then asked us how we could relate to this quote. It struck a chord for me. It is terrible to have irrelevant experiences like Renee Moore, but an entirely different tragedy to get wrong information that could prevent student learning. As a mid-career teacher, I know when I am learning, so I shared the following experience with my colleagues in our staff meeting.

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John Holland

October 30, 2015

When Teacherprep Creates Teacher Leaders


I want to introduce you to my newly minted colleague Taylor Dayton. Dayton was in my Seminar on Educational Issues, Ethics, & Policy course in the fall of 2014. In my classes we grapple with some pretty heavy issues but the main focus of the course is to help these future teachers to discover who they are and how they will “be” teachers. I challenge them to start an inquiry in the real world that will help them build skills and introduce them to the idea of teachers as leaders in their schools and community.

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John Holland

September 28, 2015

Nudging the Boulder


A friend in higher education asked me recently if my teacher leadership, especially in education policy, has been worth the time I have put into it. Essentially, he was asking, “Have you made a difference?” It is easy to say yes, but hard to say why.

Education policy is huge and unwieldy, like a boulder. It is possible to move but not alone.

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John Holland

September 1, 2015

7 Steps I Took to Become an Advocate for Students


I have been working for some time, going beyond my classroom, to help create the educational system students deserve. I sort of consider it my side job. It began when I was in teacher preparation and I accepted teaching as my calling. Since that time it has been a constant passion and lived in the underpinning of the opportunities I seek out.

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John Holland

July 26, 2015

Craving Criticism

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I crave criticism. I think it is a holdover from my years of training as an artist. People don't realize that is what really happens in art school and art classes. You spend several weeks working on a project, put it out there for everybody to see, and then you pick at it, look under the hood, ask and answer questions. It is a called a critique, and that is how you learn. In order to learn, an artist prostrates him/herself on the body of knowledge of the collective. There are no right answers.

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