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11 January 2005: Just Next Door (3 of 3)
And more than helping me cope, I have been indebted to my current grade level team for helping me grow professionally. Though they are young, they are of the highest quality. And because of their constant pursuit of good teaching, they help me be a better teacher. Take Vygotsky as an example. He said that aside from what you already know, thereís a pool of knowledge or theory that you are ready to understand, with the aid of someone else. Thatís the Zone of Proximal Development. Itís great to consider when planning group learning experiences for your students. Itís the academic theory behind the two-heads-are-better-than-one clichť. But, our students are not the only ones with a zone. We, too, have a body of understanding just one step away. Here again, the value of like-minded colleagues is immeasurable--especially for a new teacher, who doesnít have a lot of experience to draw on, or a non-traditional teacher, who doesnít have a lot of establishment to build on.