Educational Leadership: The Bishop as Teacher

The College for Bishops Leadership Institute was established to provide educational resources for new bishops as well as trending informational resources for all bishops. Educational Leadership: The Bishop as Teacher focuses on specific resources related to teaching: 

New items are added monthly.  To comment or suggest new topics or resources, please use the feedback form at the bottom of this page.

Training the Trainers


Recommendations for personal renewal at year’s end

No matter what you call the exhaustion you may be experiencing at the end of this year, one thing is certain: you can’t pour from an empty cup. Here are some strategies that have worked for others who are (understandably) fatigued by daily events and the need to respond. Let’s be clear: since you’re already exhausted, don’t think of this as another to-do list. Instead, consider it a menu of possibilities that may help you to refill your cup so you’ll have the energy you need to do the work you see as important.

Good Leaders Make Good Schools

We’ve spent a lot of time over the past few decades debating how to restructure schools. We’ve spent a lot of time trying to help teachers. But structural change and increasing teacher quality don’t get you very far without a strong principal. Principals set the culture by their very behavior — the message is the person.  This New York Times Op Ed from David Brooks discusses the impact made by strong educational leaders.


Teachers Learn Better Together

Educators often say that education is frustratingly isolating. And if you talk with them about collaboration, you quickly learn that they know it can be a powerful tool to improve teaching and learning and many feel a growing expectation to collaborate. Reducing the isolation starts with the recognition that collaboration is a learned skill. Educators can begin to learn it by focusing on these five key aspects.


Centers for Teaching and Learning Serve as Hub for Improving Teaching Practices

Centers--often with names like “center for teaching and learning” or “center for faculty development” -- increasingly serve as hubs of pedagogical innovation, influenced by but not dependent on flashy digital technology. They allow instructors to ponder new teaching approaches and experiment with new formats. Institutions also position centers to disseminate campuswide strategies and to actively pursue and encourage projects that improve classroom experiences for students.


Why Kids Can't Write

Poor writing is nothing new, nor is concern about it. More than half of first-year students at Harvard failed an entrance exam in writing — in 1874. But the Common Core State Standards, now in use in more than two-thirds of the states, were supposed to change all this. So far, however, six years after its rollout, the Core hasn’t led to much measurable improvement on the page. Students continue to arrive on college campuses needing remediation in basic writing skills.  The root of the problem, educators agree, is that teachers have little training in how to teach writing and are often weak or unconfident writers themselves.


How to Talk to Famous Professors

Imagine you’re Aristotle, and you’re attending a philosophy conference. Normally, you walk down the street unrecognized but at a meeting of the field in which you are an acknowledged leader, others recognize and watch you everywhere you go: the hotel bar, the elevator, the bathroom. People you’ve never met already have strong opinions about you. Many find you intimidating. Some resent you. Untenured academics gaze at you hungrily, thinking that a recommendation from you could transform their careers.  The result: a lot of awkward interactions.  Here are five suggestions for ways to improve communication.

The Tough Work of Improving School Culture

Collaboration is hard work and there is often not a clearly defined path for how we can best communicate with one another.  This is a problem not unique to school settings.  In this brief article form Edutopia, a principal discusses the process used in his school to move from a top-down, principal-driven school culture to a shared, collaborative community.

Teaching the Teachers: Professional Development in an Era of High Stakes Accountability

This paper aims to provide a research-based answer for how to structure professional development so that teachers change their teaching practices, leading to students learning more.  This paper will address the many facets of developing an effective professional development program.  Next, the paper will examine what research says about the structure of professional development that truly changes teachers’ work and the learning of students.  Lastly, the paper will explore what funding effective professional development might look like within a larger district.

Weighing the Workshop

The professional development workshop merits careful examination in terms of the quality of learning it can provide. Designers, facilitators, and evaluators need tools to guide reflection on quality that will lead to the best possible learning experience for teachers. This article explores six key criteria in planning professional development.  Though developed as a tool for formative evaluation, this framework will be equally useful to planners as a guide for designing workshop-style professional development.

Helping Professors Find Time to Think

The mission of faculty development has begun to broaden beyond the traditional focus on teaching. The frantic pace of academic life can drive teachers to distraction — deadlines, teaching demands, information overload, days of back-to-back meetings, the increasingly competitive and resource-squeezed nature of our work.  What could teachers do to simplify work habits, to allow scholarship time to be fruitful and rewarding, to be more "contemplative" than "productive”?

Why Give--Rethinking Clergy Education

What is good stewardship around educating our next generation of clergy? In this article, commissioned as part of ECF’s Lilly Endowment initiative, “From Economic Challenges to Transformational Opportunities,” Gary Shilling, economist and chair of the board of Episcopal Preaching Foundation, invites us to consider changes in the way our Church identifies, recruits, trains, and financially supports, the next generation of Episcopal clergy, the women and men who will guide seekers and followers into deeper relationship with Christ. 

Encouraging Lay Theology

Today, people receive a plethora of religious information on cable television and the internet, and it is imperative that the church add its voice to media presentations on the life of Jesus, scripture, God, the Gnostic scriptures, and world religions, not to mention the superficial and often harmful theologies often presented by popular televangelists.  In a time in which many assert that post-modernism privileges experience over doctrine, open-ended theological reflection has become more essential in the pulpit and the congregational classroom.

Why Don't We Differentiate Professional Development?

A great PD event can really energize teachers to improve classroom instruction. However, the sad fact is that the majority of PDs tend to be repetitive, simplistic, or downright boring. How can we improve the ways in which teachers are taught and energized to teach?

Online Teacher Book Clubs: Promoting a Culture of Professional Development 

Creating a culture of sharing and professional dialogue is an essential element of organizational success, but the reality is that it is difficult for professionals to find time for these valuable discussions.  Learn how creating an online book club for sharing ideas can encourage professional reading and conversation.

Developing a Growth Mindset in Teachers and Staff 

The idea of mindset is related to our understanding of ability.  It has recently been seized upon by educators as a tool to explore and improve student achievement.  Growth mindset may apply to teachers as well as students, improving the educational process for all.

Collaborating to Train Church Leaders  

A pilot course on global displacement created by the Presbyterian Mission Agency and the Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary aims to address a disconnect between congregations and the national church.  Seminary students, the future leaders of congregations, are connected with national resources for multi-faith engagement in order to build potential for new and innovative partnerships.

Starting With Soul

This article from Parker Palmer's website at the Center for Courage & Renewal addresses the question: "How can we nurture teachers for the long haul?"  In typical professional development events, too often the focus is on "subsistence strategies" (content and methods) rather than activities that "probe sense of purpose" and "invite deliberation about what matters most": engaging the soul.  Though this article discusses teacher development, the broader concepts apply to any organization that seeks to develop professional practices that keep dreams whole while cultivating an awareness of current reality.


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