Sunday, March 20, 2011

Writing lasting material

It makes me laugh that we invest time in our teachers, but rarely invest time in the resource bank of a school.  This causes a massive information loss each time a staff member leaves the school and requires significant effort to regain capacity back to the previous level.

We are at present putting material together for our after school classes and the lack of extension resources is amazing.  The most common response is that extension classes after school are usually just repackaged classroom material at a higher level.

This can't be right.  If a student seeks extension it's because they want material not found in the classroom - this is one aspect of summer school success we have.  We don't just teach year 11 material to year 10's, we repackage it such that it is context specific, timely and interesting.  One of the joys of an after school class is that you are not confined by syllabus and delivery points and you can delve into topics in a little more detail if students are interested.  Hopefully students that didn't quite get it can now see where the majority of students are.  Students that have a solid understanding can draw connections to other areas of mathematics and other learning areas.

I believe the resources I seek have been written and are sitting in drawers around WA.  I understand why teachers are proprietary about their resources.  Little time is given to developing resources and they have to be done in your own time.  DOTT is taken up with marking, meetings, behavioural resolutions, recouping sanity time and parental contacts.  It leaves little time for planning and developing of resources.  If schools were better able to value what after school programmes could achieve, monitored what they did achieve, set goals to maximise future achievement and provided time to prepare resources to meet these goals then just maybe a few more students in the middle would find success and a few more high achieving students may be able to seek the stars.

Given the changes in curriculum, I'm not writing material to fit state or national curriculum, IB or NCOS.  I'm sticking to topics that can be used across year groups and ability levels.  The first two topics students have asked for are Linear functions (lower school) and Vectors (upper school).  I've designed a written format and a method of delivery and I have some material on Finance that I can bend into this format.  We'll see how it goes tomorrow and Tuesday.

There are opportunities "beyond the classroom" where schools can and do make real differences.  It's a shame that all too often it is because of individuals rather than by initiatives by the school itself.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Hi, thanks for leaving a comment.. it's good to hear what people think!