Tag Archives: reflection

Observing and Feeding Forward with Staff

One of my developmental goals for the year is to develop effective strategies for observing and feeding back to staff. My aim is that the resulting observations and feedback strategies contribute to growth in teacher effectiveness.

I plan to:

  • Undertake professional readings related to goal.
  • Explore possible approaches to undertaking classroom observation & providing feedback to staff.
  • Seek regular feedback from staff as to the quality of observations/feedback.
  • Visit other schools to observe and discuss observation/feedback systems.

In my mind I already had a starting point or a vision for the initial approach. This revolved around the learning walk concept, more specifically Cheryl Doig’s Future Learning Walks thinking and framework combined with the integration of elearning tools to capture the evidence during the observation and forming the foundation of the reflection. Another link in the chain was the Taxonomy of Reflection described by Peter Pappas to provide the structure for the reflective discussion.

Let’s briefly unpack each of these:

Future Learning Walks

The purpose of a future learning walk is to generate deep conversations about learning. It is an adaptive approach with the process co-constructed within the staff to meet the needs to the school. In practice it is a focused and regular walk through of classrooms/learning areas for a short period of time, with observations and data gathered, which is then discussed, reflected and projected on. Not just from a classroom teaching/learning level, the process can impact of school wide systems and organisation.

The key philosophies for me that guide a learning walks are:

  • based on a culture of sharing and trust
  • intergal to whole professional learning approach
  • it involves students
  • aligns to the teacher inquiry approach of reflection and continuous improvement
  • agreed upon and co-constructed method and focus

Taxonomy of Reflection

A progressive framework, based on Bloom’s hierarchal taxonomy, for prompting reflection and discussion. It could be used very effectively after a walkthrough when either the observers and reflecting amongst themselves, or when the observee is reflecting on their own lesson/learning.

What do I like about this?

  • Flexible framework for prompting reflection. You don’t need to start at the bottom and work up, rather ask any questions that will develop deeper reflection – in response to what you are hearing.
  • Can be used in a huge range of situations, well beyond a professional observer/observee relationship. Student-student, student-teacher, self-assessment etc.
  • Coach/mentor can use the taxonomy to ensure coverage of a range of questions but most importantly, HOT questions and thinking.

eLearning Tools

My thinking here puts the iPad squarely in the tool of choice category – portable, connected, reasonably unobtrusive, easily captures video, voice and photo. An all in one device for all phases of the process. Nothing new in using iPads for walkthroughs, maybe not in quite the same way I have in mind…

On the whole I was underwhelmed by all of these examples, which essentially turned the iPad into a digital clipboard, through using Google Forms or specific apps like Teachscape with a list of predifined criteria that was checked off during the walkthrough. My vision is a little different. I want to capture a digital narrative of the teaching and learning, enriched by multimedia, capturing authentic voice and examples.

So where to next?

  1. Future Learning Walks, as mentioned above, have an agreed upon focus which forms the basis for a observation/walkthrough. As part of our redevelopment of our school’s curriculum plan, we are currently unpacking and redefining what writing looks like at KHS. This involves clearly stating our shared beliefs of writing and the characteristics of an effective writing classroom. Once co-constructed and confirmed these will form the focus of a walkthrough during writing.
  2. While I like the Taxonomy of Reflection, I have been recently re-introduced to the Question Matrix, a framework for asking questions from basic recall to higher order similar to Bloom’s. I can see this as being an equally valuable framework to use for the same reasons as listed above, but perhaps more user friendly and a tool that is commonly used by students in their learning. The matrix layout means that you could also populate it to suit a particular focus or target.
Image courtesy: https://nli2012.wikispaces.com/Online+Reading+Comprehension

 

Registered Teacher Criteria and ePortfolios

Further to my thoughts on whether teachers should have their own eportfolio, I have spent some time reading up on the Registered Teacher Criteria which have begun to progressively replace the existing Satisfactory Teacher Dimensions this year.

The Criteria are designed:

  • to describe the essential professional, relationships and values required for successful teaching.
  • to promote quality teaching for all learners
  • to guide the professional learning and the assessment of teachers as they work towards full registration
  • for the assessment of teachers to maintain a practising certificate/full registration
  • to guide career long professional learning and development
  • to provide a common language for professional reflection and dialogue
  • to promote the status of the teaching profession
  • to strengthen public confidence in the profession

It is suggested that evidence against the criteria can be gathered a number of ways including;

  1. Observation: formal with structured feedback and next steps.
  2. Discussion: including meetings, structured mentoring, critical self-reflection.
  3. Documentation: collections of evidence including reflective journals, analysis of learners assessment, records, PD

Needless to say, an eportfolio would be the perfect container for bringing all of these elements together. What a great opportunity for school leaders to ‘encourage’ staff to create an online space as an authentic collection of evidence and critical reflection to demonstrate successful teaching.

I do have a couple of questions/challenges for the NZTC:

  1. Instead of providing (i.e. Word templates) which use a text based solution for teacher self-assessment against the criteria, why not provide an online tool that allows teachers, school leaders etc. to access, revisit, comment on where teachers are at? Sure, lots will do this using Google Docs, but how could we be more proactive in getting teachers online, creating PLNs, and using the tools we all expect our students to?
  2. Why is there no mention or modeling of how this evidence will be collated? How exciting would it be if the NZTC gave us access to an ePortfolio account using Mahara through myportfolio or similar. Or is the old process i.e. evidence is text based, printed out, highlighted and sloted into clear files still OK?
  3. My concern is that we have a new set of criteria, so change going to happen already, but we are not going to make the most of it. Why not grab this opportunity to move this process into the 21st Century with the use of some collaborative learning tools?

Don’t get me wrong, I have no complaint at all regarding the criteria, gathering evidence, critical reflection and discussion. I can see them dovetailing quite nicely with a Teaching as Inquiry approach. My questions are more process based about packaging this up in order to ‘present’ your professional outcomes.

And… it is not all doom and gloom. If you watch the Part B of the introductory DVD, portfolios do get a mention. I just couldn’t catch if there was an ‘e’ on the front…

Also, I wasn’t able to attend any of the provided workshops for this, so maybe these points were discussed..?

Student Voice

Below is a short presentation for the EBE ICTPD cluster focusing on student voice in schools.

Unfortunately I am not able to present this in person nor am I able to Skype in to facilitate the meeting. So I have undertaken a new learning experience in creating a slidecast/webinar in Slideshare. A straightforward process but the recorded voice just doesn’t have the same impact as F2F…

In the presentation I have tried to give a brief overview of student voice in four areas:

  • student voice in reflections on learning
  • student voice in student led conferences
  • student voice in learning and school design
  • student voice in a democratic curriculum

Pulling together all the threads of student voice has been a great process to go through for me professionally. There are some great resources out there that support the importance of engaging students in discussions about learning and school. This quote sums it up nicely:

What pupils say about teaching, learning, and schooling is not only worth listening to but provides an important – perhaps the most important – foundation for thinking about ways of improving schools. Rudduck, Chaplain & Wallace (1996).

Have also being playing with LiveBinders to act as the online portal for this presentation. This allows me to collect all the resources the audience needs for the presentation, organize them neatly and easily and present them with ‘pride’.

For example, the Livebinder below has a tab for the presentation, my blog, two videos to view, my Delicious tags for studentvoice and a Google doc of the presentation notes. Essentially a one stop shop for supporting the ideas presented and any follow up.

Thanks to @janenicholls for alerting me to this tool. Would appear to be a really simple way to effectively support a presentation you are giving.

Although, having seen Jog the Web (thanks @miriamtuohy) used before for a similar purpose, and liking the layout and look better, will probably jog rather than bind. What do you think?

[iframe http://livebinders.com/play/play_or_edit?id=20133 600px 350px]