Opinion
Education Opinion

Taking a Lesson from the Fashion Industry

By Learning Forward — February 07, 2011 1 min read

The fashion industry has no patent protection. This means it’s completely legal for competitors to create knock-offs or imitation designs.

What’s surprising about this is that designers themselves wouldn’t have it any other way. They understand that this openness to copy provides the fuel for rapid innovation and improvement. The fact that they are free to copy allows them to take a great base product and embellish it in a way that meets the needs and demands of a consumer. Johanna Blakley of the Norman Lear Center at the University of Southern California argues that this feature of the fashion industry is the secret to its success.

In this way, the teaching profession can learn a lesson from the fashion industry. For the most part, teaching remains a private practice. The culture of teaching constrains many teachers to develop and refine their personal teaching styles in isolation. Innovation and improvement often happens in pockets, rather than at scale. As a result, students experience a wide variation in teaching effectiveness within the same school. This phenomenon is unacceptable.

The good news is that the culture of teaching is beginning to evolve. Educators are now more open to allowing their colleagues to observe them teaching, collaboratively designing lessons, and receiving coaching from their peers and experts.

At Learning Forward, we are trying to accelerate and support this change in culture through our definition of professional development, which promotes improved teaching through study, sharing, and structured collaboration among teams of educators. We want schools to be safe environments where designers of teaching and learning can improve their collective practice so that students are guaranteed the best teaching every day regardless of the classroom in which they sit.

M. René Islas
Policy Advisor, Learning Forward

The opinions expressed in Learning Forward’s PD Watch are strictly those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Editorial Projects in Education, or any of its publications.

Let us know what you think!

We’re looking for feedback on our new site to make sure we continue to provide you the best experience.

Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Future of Work Webinar
Digital Literacy Strategies to Promote Equity
Our new world has only increased our students’ dependence on technology. This makes digital literacy no longer a “nice to have” but a “need to have.” How do we ensure that every student can navigate
Content provided by Learning.com
Mathematics Online Summit Teaching Math in a Pandemic
Attend this online summit to ask questions about how COVID-19 has affected achievement, instruction, assessment, and engagement in math.
School & District Management Webinar Examining the Evidence: Catching Kids Up at a Distance
As districts, schools, and families navigate a new normal following the abrupt end of in-person schooling this spring, students’ learning opportunities vary enormously across the nation. Access to devices and broadband internet and a secure

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Data Analyst
New York, NY, US
New Visions for Public Schools
Project Manager
United States
K12 Inc.
High School Permanent Substitute Teacher
Woolwich Township, NJ, US
Kingsway Regional School District
MS STEM Teacher
Woolwich Township, NJ, US
Kingsway Regional School District

Read Next

Education Obituary In Memory of Michele Molnar, EdWeek Market Brief Writer and Editor
EdWeek Market Brief Associate Editor Michele Molnar, who was instrumental in launching the publication, succumbed to cancer.
5 min read
Education Briefly Stated Briefly Stated: December 9, 2020
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
8 min read
Education Briefly Stated Briefly Stated: Stories You May Have Missed
A collection of articles from the previous week that you may have missed.
8 min read
Education Briefly Stated Briefly Stated: Stories You May Have Missed
A collection of stories from the previous week that you may have missed.
8 min read