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Seattle WA 98117
It is my belief that caring educators of the world, if given chance and opportunity, will naturally work together toward a more evolved perspective of reflective, collaborative educational leadership, in commonly-funded schools, where participants are enabled to construct spaces, open risky dialogue, and be present in a reciprocal relationship with others.
While at North Seattle College I examined the essentials of learning and teaching with videotape and audio recording to inquire into the events of leadership in a classroom of three to five-year-olds, which always included children referred for learning or behavior concerns. I have always been interested in learning to create opportunities for adults to discover themselves becoming effective educators, to do what I can to improve general professional practice, and to bring democracy to every child and every classroom community.
After I retired after 36 years teaching preschool children, educating their teachers, and stimulating discussions of pedagogy among other college teachers, I decided to take resources I developed and pop them online for free. Since I have been a trusted public employee all my life, my work ought to be in the public domain for others to use, plagiarize, and to build upon. I’ve got WordPress, so why not have it all up?
From the beginning I’ve used whatever technology I had available to create better opportunities for young children. Even in 1970 I could capture events of the classroom in black and white with big cameras on 1″ rolls of videotape. For twenty yeas I have used remotely operated closed circuit cameras and hanging microphones to watch myself and learning teachers almost every day. Believe me it was pretty distressing at first, but after years of discussions with other students of the craft and trying something different, we noticeably improved our ability to listen to the children and become more helpful to their sense of agency and belonging. These recordings were the centerpiece of daily and weekly meetings, where we contributed our perspectives and constructed agreements about what things meant.
Here is tomdrummond.com to explore and return to time and again. What you’ll find is not derived from textbooks or commercial materials; the language may be different, too. My students and I grew this together, gradually, from the meaning we co-constructed out of our daily experience with hundreds of (often challenging) children, hours of counts using unique observational tools, and multiple videotape replays. Stuff is here because it has been tested, tweaked, and lived-with long enough to see what happens to children over time. The students have taken this work into their practice and agree it works. They like who they are with children.
On these pages I share what I have learned over many years through continuous action research. I have proved to myself and others that these ways work for learners, educators and communities.
That something “works” means (1) what the children do is congruent with my values, and (2) I am aware that I am authentically present in the moment fully aware of the community of children being enthusiastic, participatory, and thriving.
That something “works” comes with constant reminders that we can get better. The provision of educational spaces is a journey towards an aesthetic, through research and uncertainty, moving towards a never-obtained ideal. We are “on the way to becoming” as Mortimer Adler put it in The Paideia Proposal: an educational manifesto, acting together with loving kindness, compassion, and equanimity toward a democratic society.
That being so, what is the goal to be aimed at, one that is practical rather than utopian? It is that teachers should be on the way to becoming educated persons. What signs indicate their tending in this direction? One is that they manifest competence as learners. Another is that they show a sufficiently strong interest in their own education and a sufficiently strong motivation to carry on learning while engaged in teaching. (p. 58-59)
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