In recent times we have not had formal PLC’s within our school. We have had variations on the theme including this blog and at one point primary staff were traveling to Kadina to meet with other primary teachers from a variety of schools. We have teachers communicating with colleagues in other schools around their subject areas and the use of social media by some to broaden educational knowledge and understanding. What I feel we are missing is a time where R-12 PBAS staff get to more regularly discuss their professional responsibilities including programming, assessment, reporting and pedagogy.
The spark for this idea came from our student free day in week 8 term 3. Our morning session centred around our reporting proforma but also included some sharing about how teachers kept records of student learning and how we use this evidence to support our reporting to parents. When I initially organised this (which was Joelene’s great idea) I had asked for some staff to share how they went about this process. I thought that this session might go for 20 minutes or so but the discussion went for about an hour with some great sharing of practice.
My suggestion is that we continue this type of sharing and discussion into 2015 on a more formal basis. The idea being that twice a term we set aside time to discuss predetermined topics. A general invite would be put out to staff a week or two in advance to share with the aim that we have 3-4 staff organised to share practice. This will then hopefully lead to others sharing, as it did on the student free day or encourage discussion by the wider group on what had been shared.
Topics might include:
- Using IT in the classroom
- Behaviour management
- Making the classroom an inviting space
- Using higher order thinking
- Homework – Expectations, Value, How do you use it? Do you use it?
- Connecting concepts to the real world
- Providing different entry points to a topic or task
- Connecting with parents
- Different ways students present learning
A number of responses to the Teaching and Learning Coordinator survey recently completed by staff said that this idea of sharing is powerful and should be something that is developed.
Some of the responses included:
More sharing of good practice (this has occurred at student free days/staff meetings). I believe this can be very powerful.
I find the times during staff meeting where we work on professional development collaboratively to be useful as I can compare what I’m doing with others.
I would like to have more sessions where staff can provide details of tasks, pedagogies, best practice. Being in the secondary department I often feel very removed from the other sections of the school and have really got a lot out of sessions like this. An example was the sharing of how staff keep records of student achievements and work samples.
As this process would involve a commitment from all PBAS staff I am asking for a response to this post firstly giving your opinion of the types topics you might like discussed and secondly would you support sharing your practice with others if approached?