PD

One model does not fit all

 

One model does not fit all

This session by Tamara Sullivan focused on professional development, and used sli.do to gather delegate feedback. One thing I’ve been focusing on is feedback tools and this was a new one to me.

Sullivan used the AITSL learning design model to frame professional learning at her school. They ask ‘what is the purpose of this PD, and is that clear to participants?’ She took us through the process her school had gone through in trying to instil 21C skills across the curriculum.

This bit became a bit specific to her school and her problem, but she was able to unpack it and think about the bigger principles, though those threads could have been made more explicit.

Some of the core principles and practice she talked about were:

  • Clear purpose, clear purpose to participants
  • Collaborative
  • The tools, features, design, accessibility
  • Taking a ‘flipped classroom’ approach to PD in lieu of physical attendance after school (highly collaborative, self-directed, respecting teachers as learners, aligned to priorities, sustainable, modelled 21C pedagogies and technologies.
  • Shared ownership of the change (6 leaders took a course and became mentors/coaches)
  • These coaches then made the ‘flipped’ modules, using Office Mix.
  • Teachers were then asked to do something practical with the learning – Level 1, Level 2 or Level 3 responses.
  • One purpose was to MODEL their tools. As an Office 365 school they used Office Mix, Yammer, Mosaic and SharePoint. Yammer was important, she argued, in encouraging participation.
  • This learning was followed up with a survey (using Excel?) and a three hour whole staff workshop to look at practice: looking at action plans and auditing existing tasks and assessment.
  • Other factors: a Learning Innovations Committee (about 30 staff)

I liked this session. I had some things to take back to school. I was impressed with the strategic thinking involved and the respect for teachers as learners.

Session details

One model does not fit all – Professional development for the 21st century teacher

Educators around the world are undertaking school wide reforms to ensure that they are preparing students to live and work successfully in the 21st century and beyond. However, teacher professional development is not always designed or delivered to meet the needs of the 21st century teacher. So how can we restructure professional learning to ensure that all teachers are well equipped to cater for the needs of students in today’s environment? This presentation will explore practical strategies to transform professional development at a school level to develop the competencies of lifelong learning for both students and educators.

Tamara Sullivan, Dean of E-Learning, Ormiston College

 

 

Advertisements

Use it or lose it

barge_2013-08-26_20-18-20

That’s what they say about new learning don’t they? Put it into place straight away or it will never happen? It’s the old adage about those PD sessions you attend. You want to come home with at least one good idea  you can try tomorrow. That doesn’t test your very notion of being a teacher. And moves the students learning forward.

So, I was pleased to come home from a Critical Agenda day with Glen Pearsall, from Critical Agendas on Year 12 Literature with a swag of ideas and I’ve been trying them for the last two weeks. Some you know, of course, and just need reminding. Some were brand new. I liked Glen’s approach, which was focused on very practical strategies tied up with good research backing, and I liked his naming of these strategies as a kind of identifying common language.

Since the day I’ve talked more about ‘bundling’ evidence with the students, talked explicitly about ‘woven quotes’, have deconstructed and reconstructed the examiner’s report (as we did), have used Wordle (see above) to help unpack some key passages from Antony and Cleopatra, have used Wordle to compare student essays, have done the ‘May Essay, August Essay’ comparison, have done some peer to peer swapping and have completely rewritten my feedack sheet.

I was also reminded that the most important thing is that the students are doing the thinking and the work, and that despite the pressures of year 12 and getting ‘through’ the content, the richest, deepest learning is likely to come when students themselves are wrestling with the concepts, not being lead through them by the teacher.

So, what have I learned?

I’ve certainly been in a number of sessions over the last three days, many of which I’ve blogged about here, but what have I learned?

It’s been refreshing to immerse myself again in the IB world and its vast labyrinthe infrastructure which only becomes (frighteningly) apparent at times like these. It’s been good to catch up with some familiar colleagues, spend some intensive time with a colleague from my own school and meet some interesting new people. I’ve had an invitation to a primary school in Bangalore, seen a new and interesting looking anti-LMS called ‘teamie’ and have had the new iPad Shakespeare app demo’d for me by a super-keen Cambridge University Press man. I’ve taken the subway to Chinatown (*like every other system in the world the ticketing system is better than Melbournes) gone to the top of the tallest (twin) towers in the world and enjoyed performances from a range of talented students who’ve been featured every morning.
And that’s without mentioning any of the sessions at all, including some great keynotes and a session on leadership lessons from Shakespeare’s Henry V that was entertaining and moving and had some good lessons from the leader’s experience of the ‘dark night’. (Interestingly, the sessions I took notes with the stylus using Penultimate haven’t really featured in the blog; I have to type them up again afresh and that seems an effort at the moment.)
I’ve been to some great workshops and some infuriating ones, have put my hand up to contribute only to be ignored for the keener student with the straighter hand at the front (oh yeah, that’s how that feels), have listened to some teachers and leaders who talk about themselves and their school but never their students and seen others who have made it their life work to change the world one conversation at a time.
Taking up my pet topic of technology I’ve been heartened to see more conversations that ‘get it’, and less that talk about how kids ‘only play games and muck-around with computers’ and only a few outright annoying ‘Google is making us all stupid (except me)’ presentations, warm, nostalgic and comforting to much of the audience as they are, like a nice cup of Ovaltime in your pyjamas in front of the fire.
There are problems with the IB; it’s huge Gormenghastian indifference, the transitional moments, the elitism, the dotpointing and the bureaucracy it serves, creates and fosters.  But, at the heart of it, there’s also some compelling learning that’s possible within the structure, and some passionate people working in it.
I fly home tomorrow, with only four days of the term left until Easter, and then back up this way to Vietnam for a holiday. I’ve been there before and was entranced. I hope to have some new learning there too.
Above and below: some images from a short time in Kuala Lumpur. Photos: Warrick. Below: Green view from the 22nd Floor
Below: Dr Paula Barrett talking about the importance of preventative work in mental health.
Below: Cooling down in Chinatown.
Below: View from the Two Towers
Below: Conference essentials.

Managing Professional Learning and Development

In his always readable learning blog, Derek Wenmoth this weeks shared a NZ report on Managing Professional Learning and Development in Secondary Schools which I think is worth reading.  Maybe I think that because I agree with most of the findings and recommendations, some of which are summarised below. One-off external speakers and reliance on external seminars are out, in-house teacher teams focusing on pedagogy is in.

Research on teacher professional learning and development In January 2008, the Ministry of Education released its Teacher Professional Learning and Development: Best Evidence Synthesis Iteration (BES) report. This document details the nature of effective professional development for schools. PLD can vary considerably and depends on each school’s context. Despite this complexity, certain themes or principles can be summarised concerning the nature of high quality PLD. Helen Timperley, lead author for Teacher Professional Learning and Development, has synthesised 10 principles in a monograph for the International Academy of Education (IAE).6
PLD needs to:
• be focused on student outcomes, with links between classroom activity and the desired outcomes;
• be based on worthwhile content, such as the findings of established educational research, and related to the particular context of the teacher;
• integrate theoretical ideas about teaching with teaching practice;
• use assessment information about the performance of teachers and students to make a difference in the classroom;
• provide many different sorts of activities for teachers to learn and apply newly acquired knowledge;
• work with and challenge teacher assumptions about learning;
• allow teachers to work with others to explore and develop their new knowledge about teaching;
• draw on experts (including subject teaching experts) who can also facilitate teachers to develop their own understandings of new ideas;
• have active school leaders who can create a vision for professional learning as well as lead and organise staff learning;
• sustain momentum where theoretical understandings continue to develop teacher practice.

Research on teacher professional learning and development In January 2008, the Ministry of Education released its Teacher Professional Learning and Development: Best Evidence Synthesis Iteration (BES) report. This document details the nature of effective professional development for schools. PLD can vary considerably and depends on each school’s context. Despite this complexity, certain themes or principles can be summarised concerning the nature of high quality PLD. Helen Timperley, lead author for Teacher Professional Learning and Development, has synthesised 10 principles in a monograph for the International Academy of Education (IAE).6

PLD needs to:

• be focused on student outcomes, with links between classroom activity and the desired outcomes;

• be based on worthwhile content, such as the findings of established educational research, and related to the particular context of the teacher;

• integrate theoretical ideas about teaching with teaching practice;

• use assessment information about the performance of teachers and students to make a difference in the classroom;

• provide many different sorts of activities for teachers to learn and apply newly acquired knowledge;

• work with and challenge teacher assumptions about learning;

• allow teachers to work with others to explore and develop their new knowledge about teaching;

• draw on experts (including subject teaching experts) who can also facilitate teachers to develop their own understandings of new ideas;

• have active school leaders who can create a vision for professional learning as well as lead and organise staff learning;

• sustain momentum where theoretical understandings continue to develop teacher practice.

A direct link to a PDF of the report is HERE (350kb)