Profile

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Christina
Cantrill

About

Hello! I am an Associate Director for National Programs at the National Writing Project and have been working alongside writing project educators since the early 90s exploring the emerging possibilities of the Internet and networked technology. You can find me hanging out at Educator Innovator. I have a background in curriculum studies as well as participatory arts practice as a former volunteer and then chair at Spiral Q Puppet Theater, a community-based social justice organization based in Philadelphia. More recently I both co-design and teach in a new Connected Learning Certificate program at Arcadia University.

Writing Project Site

National Writing Project

Location

Philadelphia
PA

Contributions

blog

 

 

Colleagues of mine from the Philadelphia Writing Project asked me recently if I had suggestions about ways that they might think about extending their Summer Institute (SI) beyond the summer and into spaces, on and offline. The goals were to allow for beyond-the-summer discussions as well as to support others in joining in and participating beyond that particular SI cohort. Below are a set of Whys followed by a list of Hows ideas that I put together for them; sharing them here as a resource for other writing project sites and colleagues across the country. Feel free to add to an editable version of this list!

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on Mar 9, 2017
by Christina Cantrill
blog

In reading Meenoo Rami’s Thrive: 5 Ways to (Re)Invigorate Your Teaching, I am struck by the fact that her final chapter is about empowering students. I am struck by this because so often teaching narratives start, not end, with the students. And of course, there is very good reason for this—as educators we want and need to put students at the center of the work. Rami argues this too, in fact, in the very beginning of her book. Yet, to get to a point where students are the center of her practice as an educator, Rami shares a set of deeply personal and professional practices that help to create the necessary base; Practices that include robust networking, the cultivation of a set of diverse mentors and colleagues, and the enrichment of her intellectual and emotional life as an person and as an educator. And she does this with a great deal of humility and elegance as well as, I believe, thoughtful clarity of purpose.

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on Apr 13, 2014
by Christina Cantrill
resource

Turning then again to those who have been studying and engaging with teachers networks, McDonald, Buchanan and Sterling write:

At the heart of educational reform, we believe, is the challenge of encouraging practitioners, at all levels, to face the risk of undergoing real change. It is a challenge that does not go away when the reform is scaled up. ... For this reason, scaling up reform involves preparation for risk-taking thousands of times over. … [and to do this] reformers must be prepared to provide opportunities and support. They may also need to displace some of their own beliefs and habits. For example, they may be forced to recognize that reform is ultimately personal, rather than merely technical, and that its usual targets—namely teachers—must also be regarded as its ultimate agents.

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on Feb 12, 2014
by Christina Cantrill
resource

In looking at the Community Education Plan put forward by PCAPS, I note that they call for the building of “collective capacity for high-quality teaching and learning.” Linda Darling-Hammond commits a whole chapter to a related topic she calls “Doing What Matters Most: Developing Competent Teaching.” Here she writes that “Ultimately a well designed state and national infrastructure that ensures that schools have access to well-prepared teachers and knowledge about best practices is absolutely essential.” (197)

How then do we start to unpack what we know, protect what we need, while also working together on new visions of what is possible for teaching and learning today? In what ways can we work towards what Linda Darling-Hammond describes as “genuine school reform” and what is the role of learning and leadership in that mix? In my mind, this is key place where I think that teacher networks come in.

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on Feb 12, 2014
by Christina Cantrill
resource

Supporting the development of alternative visions for schooling, and teaching, and engaging in collective capacity building for this work, is a key piece of what I have been thinking about in my work with teachers at the National Writing Project. Triggered, I believe, by a commitment to supporting students in developing and using their “voice”, writing project teachers have been, for awhile now, at the forefront of tinkering and learning from their students within the context of emerging networked technologies and digital media (Because Digital Writing Matters). This work overtime, originally thought of as technology “integration” soon began to be interrogated as more fundamental to a shifting social landscape and a key provocation in thinking about literacy, learning and teaching.

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on Feb 12, 2014
by Christina Cantrill

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