Professional Learning Opportunities For Teachers That Work!

Professional LearningFor years I have heard the groans, moans, and sighs of classroom teachers, when they have heard the words PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT. The idea of teaching and managing the unique personalities of students for hours within a school day, and then to be forced to close the day with a training, in-service, or workshop is not appealing to most teachers. To make professional learning opportunities more appealing, three guiding principles should be considered: relevance, engagement, and opportunities for ongoing support.

The first question that is commonly posed by classroom teachers is “How does this professional development workshop apply to me as a teacher?” If teachers are unable to see how they fit within the equation, then physically they are present, but mentally they are disengaged. The fact of the matter is that all professional learning opportunities do not apply to all educators. For instance, preschool teachers would likely not find relevance in a workshop about the upcoming state-mandated test for 3rd-8th graders. Despite the fact that this population of teachers understand that they provide the fundamental skills that set the tone for the subsequent grades, they look for training that they can implement immediately. If training of any sort does not result in immediate outcomes that influence student learning, student achievement, and the quality of teaching, then teachers experience a lack of interest and rightfully so.

In addition to relevance, professional learning opportunities should also allow teachers to participate in learning engagements. These learning engagements should be developed to allow time for teachers to actually receive guided, shared, and/or independent practice in instructional practices that are modeled by the facilitator. During this time, the facilitator is afforded the opportunity to observe and to provide supportive feedback to classroom teachers, while the teachers are able to learn alongside their colleagues and to pose questions for clarification.

Lastly, it is also necessary that opportunities for ongoing support be integrated as a part of the professional development opportunity. Too often teachers receive a form of “drive-by training”, which is simply a superficial level of training yet, they are still expected to implement it with fidelity. Without ongoing support, teachers are left to implement the information that they gained from professional learning opportunities on their own. They must rely on the information that they can recall and to depend on their fellow colleagues for support and direction. However, for a sufficient amount of support, teachers seek support from other instructional support staff such as instructional coaches or curriculum coordinators. These individuals possess specialized knowledge and have the availability that gives them the opportunity to provide the type of support that teachers seek after receiving professional training.

Professional learning opportunities that work must be teacher-centered and integrate adult-learning theories just as classroom instruction is geared toward student-centeredness and child development theories. The effectiveness of these opportunities must be grounded in the idea that staff developers and facilitators design workshops that will leave a positive impression upon teachers and that easily transfer into their classroom instruction.

Private Tutoring Vs Public Education

Private TutoringA tutor is a professional instructor who tutors or teaches a student. The term ‘tutor’ is largely used in the context of private or personal teaching, either to a single student or a group of students, that are in need of supplementary tutoring outside the classroom.

Tutor profiles in different countries

The title is used to denote different job profiles in different countries. For instance, in the US, the term tutor is usually associated with a professional who instructs or teaches within a school setting. But often, a tutor is a professional instructor in a given subject or field and by and large, the term is used at a higher educational level – e.g. high school and college levels.

In the UK, a class of students or a ‘form’ is the responsibility of the ‘form tutor’ who is headed by a guidance teacher or year head and has full-time responsibility in his or her role as a specialist subject teacher. The form tutor is the person who interacts with parents about their child’s progress, shortcomings and any problems encountered at school and provides the foundation for a well-rounded academic experience.

In Asia, a tutor usually refers to a professional instructor who provides private coaching or teaching. Several countries in south-east Asia maintain different profiles for the job of a tutor; in Cambodia, tutoring is provided by regular teachers, small and large companies provide tutoring in Hong Kong and in South Korea private entrepreneurs and companies use technology to provide tutoring on a large scale.

Fallouts of private tutoring

A study undertaken by the Comparative Education Research Centre at the University of Hong Kong made some very strong observations, chief among them being the fact that private tutoring has created and exacerbated social inequalities and nurtured an unregulated industry which burgeoned at the cost of much needed household income. Besides, it has caused inefficiencies in school education systems and has undermined government and official statements about free-education for all. In short, private tutoring has threatened social cohesion.

This sort of private tutoring is called ‘shadow education’ and the industry is growing rapidly globally. There are several factors attributed to this such as:

• Stratification of education systems
• Perceptions of shortcoming in regular academic streams
• Cultural factors
• Growing incomes
• Diminishing family sizes

This has spurred the education sector to attain the status of a profitable industry segment with a vast advertising and marketing portfolio, much like saleable commodities in the market.

Benefits of tutoring

Besides the institution that gains manifold from having tutors on its roles thereby expanding the scope of knowledge and information, there are certain benefits that the tutors also gain as well as the students.

The benefits enjoyed by a tutor through glimpses into the teaching segment and interacting with qualified and experienced teaching professionals are:

• Increases knowledge of specific subjects
• Widens scope of subject-related information
• Improves the ability to manage study strategies
• Enhances motivation to improve knowledge in order to be competitive
• Encourages higher levels of thinking

For the students the benefits are numerous; however, the important ones are:

• Provides greater interaction between teacher and learner and creates a role model for youngsters
• Greatly improves academic performance
• Improves personal growth and self-esteem
• Motivates self-directed and self-paced learning
• Provides greater opportunities for intensive study practice of subjects

Honesty and Truth A Message to Teachers

A Message to TeachersReality lies in the fact that one can acquire peace and contentment only when he is into that which pleases him and makes him a better person in addition to making his life worth-living.

I believe, real people are those who roll honestly no matter what grounds they fall on. Honesty undoubtedly is the best policy and not all have the power to be honest in everything that they do. We can not force anyone to be honest neither can anyone be asked to be honest nor can a law be made against such a person who fails to be honest.

Being honest with one’s profession is the best of all the core values. There are certain core values that define a person. We all have some good points and some negative ones. Some positive traits and some negative traits.

Life is not at all about being perfect, but if we need this world to be a better place and everything to go smooth, we should be honest. ALLAH blesses a person so much when he rolls on being the way ALLAH has asked him to be. The right path has been told to us.

The good and the bad lies ahead of us. At every point in life, we find hurdles that do not let us move forward achieving all that we want to. Being honest costs nothing. The conscience of a person when stays satiated, nothing goes wrong. Even in the little a person can find goodness and peace.

The only thing that we entirely fail to understand is the importance of the core values. Core values need to be guarded and looked-after.

Wonderful are the teachers who teach wonderfully and impart knowledge asking students what they lack and how can improvement be brought in their technique and style of teaching on the contrary, absurd are those who keep grudges against students in their hearts when they themselves do not teach, HONESTLY.

Not all the students are alike. Some stand up for their cause alone and some represent the issues of others. Types vary from place to place and time to time.

It is not right to go against students just because they said the truth which merely was against you and you did not like it. If all that they said as in feedback was true, then there lies no point to do deductions in their papers or look at them with anger.

Students who do well; get 100% paper done and marks get given to them on the basis of a grudge, YOU HAVE ALL THE RIGHTS TO STAND UP FOR TRUTH. NO MATTER WHAT SOMEONE TELLS YOU. WRONG-DOERS keep doing wrong-doings because WE people stay silent.

Prophet Muhammad (P.B.U.H) said:

“whosoever of you sees an evil, change it with your HAND. If you can not change it with hand, change it with your tongue and if you can not change it with your tongue, consider it bad in heart”

Elucidation:

Halt the bad with force. If you can not, then talk about it and try stopping it and even if you can not do that then at least consider it bad in your heart.

10 Tips To Ensure Staff Observations Improve Teaching, Learning and Assessment

Improve TeachingI have been considering the decision of Ofsted to stop grading individual lessons during inspections. The reason is understandable – they did not want to give the impression that the impact of teaching, learning and assessment can be condensed into a snapshot of one lesson. This has triggered many providers to evaluate their procedures for judging the quality of their provision with some implementing non graded observations. But is this ‘throwing the baby out with the bath water’?

Many words have been written on the effectiveness as well as the detrimental effects on staff of carrying out graded observations. But what must not be forgotten is that, when the approach and focus is right, observations themselves are an integral part of a staff member’s continuous professional development.

How to make sure observations really do contribute to improving teaching, learning and assessment? You must ensure the following apply:

1. All staff know the purpose of observing/being observed – a tool for informing CPD, an opportunity to share good practice.

2. Observers are well trained to observe, record and deliver feedback.

3. The observation judgement criteria focuses on learning.

4. There is an equal ‘power’ balance between the observer and observe; they regard each other as supportive professionals. The types of observations carried out include peer-support observations.

5. Observees actively contribute to the feedback.

6. Observations are only one of a number of sources of information used to assess the quality of teaching, learning and assessment. Others include learners’ progress, the standard of their work and their feedback etc., over time.

7. Judgement grading descriptors are less contentious and more supportive. e.g. support needed, good practice seen etc. Giving some criteria judgement make it easy to see improvements after remedial actions.

8. Staff are encouraged to be involved with their own learning by contributing to observation feedback, discussing their future needs and how they do/can contribute to the organisations improvement and by completing their own CPD.

9. The process has credibility and shows clearly staff development needs as identified, actioned, followed up – and the impact they have made.

10. Good practice is identified and readily shared through the organisation and with subcontractors.

Do you agree with the above but lack of time and the weight of the admin burden is preventing you getting the most from your observations? Maybe your present system is built around spreadsheets? In this case I would encourage you to investigate an online software system that allows layered levels of access, according to staff positions in the organization.