Find out what your students think

The TfEL Review Tools Handbook asks us to view our teaching through three lenses.

  • Self Reflection
  • Peer Feedback
  • Student Feedback

Self Reflection

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This term we have self-reflected on our teaching using the TfEL Reflection document. We will continue to use this document in term 2 until we have reflected on each of Domains and Elements (2, 3, & 4).

Peer Feedback

Classroom observations provide us with the opportunity for a peer to help us focus on a specific area of our teaching. It also provides the observer the chance to experience another teacher’s classroom and see how they teach.

In week 1 of term 2 we will be reflecting on how this process is going at PBAS and discuss the positives and negatives teachers have experienced so far. The purpose of this will be to collect information so that leadership and teachers can refine and improve the process to make it as effective as possible.

Student Feedback

From my perspective this area seems to be the one that many teachers are hesitant to engage in. This is not to say that it doesn’t occur. I am aware that some PBAS teachers have sought feedback from their students about their teaching.

This process does not need to be complicated or drawn out. In my 9/10 class I asked students to write the top 3 things teachers did to support their learning. Click here to read all 41 responses and see how I developed the following four questions based on these responses.

  1. [insert teacher name] explains clearly what is required for the tasks given to you.
  2. [insert teacher name] provides examples of how tasks should be done to help me complete my learning.
  3. [insert teacher name] talks too much in class.
  4. [insert teacher name] is organised for class.

For questions 1, 2 and 4 students had the option to select Excellent, Good, Satisfactory, Partial and Minimal. For question 3 students could select Talks too much, Talks the right amount and Does not talk enough (needs to explain more). While these questions are limited and do not cover every aspect of teaching they do cover what PBAS Year 9/10’s believe is important with regards to teachers supporting their learning. If we are looking for student feedback why wouldn’t we start with what is important to them?

Teachers of 9/10 students at PBAS could use the four questions above knowing that this is what our students believe best supports their learning. I used the online tool Socrative which is easy to use and provides collated Excel and PDF versions of student responses. Adding this feedback to my own reflection and peer observations is helping me to understand areas in my teaching that I can work on and develop.

NB – I would like to try and find some time to run a spotlight session on how to use Socrative if there is some interest from other teachers. With MacBooks and iPads available to use in classrooms it has great potential.

Below: Keen to learn more about Socrative right now? An easy to use tool for quizzing students about subject content or to seek feedback about your teaching. 

You thought you’d been to bad T & D before

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Watch the short video showing Chicago teachers in a PD session. The way the consultant is presenting could be taken in one of two ways:

  1. The presenter is modelling a teaching method pretending that the teachers are students. If this is the case I’m pretty sure there are a number of effective pedagogies ahead of mindless robotic parroting.
  2. Or the presenter is actually trying to teach adults using this method. If this is the case WOW!

You Tube description of video content: “This presenter was one of several consultants flown in from California and the United Kingdom for the Chicago Public Schools’ Office of Strategic School Support Services’ special network. This is a professional development for teachers of Saturday ISAT preparation classes.” 

Source: Washinton Post

Tips for improving practice and how leaders can help facilitate this

In the video below Dylan Wiliam gives his tips for changing practice. For the most part not new or earth shattering but a good reminder of how we should approach our professional learning.

Teacher tips for changing practice

  • Accept the need to get better.
  • Change is slow. Focus on 1-2 things at a time. Make them second nature.
  • If you have to remember to do it it is not second nature. 

Tips for leaders to help teachers to improve

  • Create a culture where every teacher  expects to improve.
  • Keep the focus on the things that make a difference to students.
  • Give teachers the time to innovate and try new ideas.
  • Create a culture of risk taking amongst teachers.

Professional reading from Twitter

Twitter provides a great range of articles for teachers to read allowing for reflection on their own practice. Here are three that I have recently found. Click on the blog post name to view the article.

Reading number 1

Blog: Pinnacle – Trustworthy Advice On How to Excel In Education

Blog post: Principles of effective teaching. Teachers have the largest impact on their students’ results. This blog post is supported by the work of John Hattie, the author Shaun Killian outlines 10 key principles of effective teaching.

Posted on Twitter by @EmpiriEducator

Reading number 2

Blog: Life of an Educator by Dr. Justin Tarte

Blog post: 5 things to consider when designing a rubric. “The best intended rubric can become a limiting and disastrous tool when not used properly, and unfortunately I find more often than not they aren’t used effectively and properly.” This article may challenge your thinking about rubrics.

Posted on Twitter by @KleinErin

Reading number 3

Blog: Centre for Teaching Quality

Blog post: It’s Us Not Them: How Student Failure may Reflect On You. She was crying in the bathroom because she received another failing grade on a test. Melissa’s story is so important because it is the story of many of our students.” This post has a long introduction but the core of the post raises some great points for reflection about our own teaching. A thought provoking read.

Posted on Twitter by @MarzanoResearch


How has technology changed the way we learn?

Here are the Power Point and videos from our student free day session between recess and lunch. I hope that the staff who were unable to be there on Monday will have a look.

If you are really interested in finding out more about what Will Richardson has to say click here to visit his blog. His book Why School? which is available to download is also an excellent read.

How do you use Technology?

SAMR Model for IT use.




Technology allows for creation of new tasks, previously inconceivable Use of iBooks Author to create media rich ePub books


Technology allows for significant task redesign Camera function to record oral retells, recording of reading


Technology acts as a direct tool substitute, with functional improvement Basic functions of eBooks are used such as Read To Me and dictionary definitions


Technology acts as a direct tool substitute, with no functional change eBooks are used in reading groups

 SAMR: Puentedura, R. R., Ph.D., SAMR model.

 Should we be using technology to replace things that we have always done i.e. online worksheets v photocopied worksheets? Or should we be using the technology to allow our students to do things that have previously been extremely difficult or impossible because the technology was not up to it or available?

Above is a model for teachers to use when considering the use of technology in the classroom. At the bottom of the model is Enhancement. Enhancement refers to using IT to enhance things that we already do. The example given at the Substitution level is using eBooks on an iPad as opposed to using traditional books in reading groups. This may enhance the activity slightly through added sounds and activities within the book but essentially it is the same activity. If you follow this example all the way through to Redefinition the use of eBooks becomes about being an author and publishing for a wider audience (online publishing). This is something that without the technology could not be done before.

The model is about moving towards using tech to redefine (enhancement) student learning and not just using tech to do the same tasks but in a different way i.e. reading an eBook instead of a traditional book. This is not to say it cannot be used as a substitution or to augment but it is not the most powerful way to use technology.

For teachers at PBAS I have one question:

Is this model something that could be added to our Professional Development Foundation document in terms of guiding teachers to use technology at a more involved level?

I think it should go into our professional development document because:

1. With the introduction of iPads at PBAS it is timely to consider a model like this.

2. It is a simple model/concept which is easy for teachers to grasp.

3. If a teacher wants to focus on developing ICT use in their classroom we currently have nothing to guide them at PBAS. This gives us clear guide providing us a common language and reference point as teachers at PBAS.

4. This is a widely used model in the education community.


Primary Maths Association Training and Development Term 1 and 2 2012

The PMA offers good training and development for staff directly linked to the Australian Curriculum. A large range of options to choose from for term 1 and 2 are now available. If you see something you like you may need to ring the PMA as I noticed some locations were missing for workshops. Go to the link below to access the PDF flyer from the PMA. I haven’t checked yet but if we have any PMSS funding left the school may (I say may) be able to assist with cost.

Please note as this is a Google Docs link it will not work at school. Sorry, tried to unblock Google Docs but it would not work.

PMA Training Term 1 and 2 2012