Showing posts with label PD. Show all posts
Showing posts with label PD. Show all posts

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Websites found whilst on PD

I'm not a fan of PD, but I do like the networking possibilities. One of the good things about recent PD was picking up a few online resources.

Jigsaw planet allows you to create a jigsaw that students can reconstruct.

Search-cube is a nifty 3D search engine in the Minority-Report vein.

Flaming Text allows the creation of nifty (though often annoying) animated headings is a free screen grabber for those sick of the PrtScn and msPaint alternative.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Thoughtful material

As with any material that makes you think, information was provided at yesterday's PD session that has the mind racing. In particular was the advice (not directive) to not publish anything online that might criticise your employer.

This was of particular interest to me as this blog forms an important part of my teacher reflection and I do comment on public figures from time to time (Julia et al.) who is my indirect employer (being a part of government) and DET who is my immediate employer. Much of it is tongue in cheek - but hopefully constructive criticism and investigation of topical issues.

I strongly agree with the presenter that information needs to be anonymised and any reference to an individual student on this blog is an idealised representation of students gained through day to day interaction (no student mentioned on here actually exists, although the situations may have occurred in some form)... and that has always been on purpose.. similarly there are no direct quotes from named individual staff... nor is my school disclosed (although if you know me, you could probably figure it out - which is ok - as you would know where I work anyway).

Although information suppression was not the intent of the PD yesterday, the inferred blanket ban on comments from teachers about schooling is a problem as it suppresses idea development and gives the impression to the public that teachers are not inclusive and won't interact with the community to better serve. This ivory tower where schooling is only discussed in the school is not right. It is interesting to see the public encouragement of involvement with the community yet the blanket that is put around what appropriate involvement is.

Teachers are professionals and have a responsibility to develop the concept of schooling with the community. It is interesting to see schools responses to Web 2.0 technologies like Facebook and mySpace. As stated in earlier articles, I believe direct communication between teachers and student via this mechanism (at present) is inappropriate, fraught with danger and misadventure, but to distance ourselves from it is to create another disconnect with our students in addition to the emotional and physical disconnects that currently exist. To ignore it is to limit our ability to monitor cyber-bullying and create situations where students are put at risk (as students quickly recognise unmonitored resources that can be abused).

With open internet based resources available, teaching has an opportunity to widen it's ability to communicate and interact more with parents, past students and community organisations to improve the behaviour and intellectual output of students.

I think this is one of those issues that needs further investigation.

Monday, October 12, 2009

PfD day

The first Pupil Free Day worth going to. No PD of limited value, just an information session, an examination of needs of the school, some solution sessions and some planning time. Someone did a lot of work to make it come together. Yay!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

PD Days

Here we go, about to hit another set of PD days. Admin is currently looking for topics to use for in-school PD. Luckily I'm off to an out of school PD, which I am hoping is going to be ok.

So that I'm not all critic and no solutions, I thought about what would I like to have at a PD session.

Firstly I'd like it at the end of term and to be more of a planning session. The last days of term are rife with missing students and kids on holiday. Let's use one of the days when students are generally AWOL for PD rather than one where the kids would be present fresh and keen.

Being the last day of term it would be the best time to reflect on what has been done and what could be done better next term and next year. Review each course and note what has worked and what has not. Do any handover to the teacher for the following year if teaching loads are to change. If we have set performance management goals at the start of the year, let's review them now. I know teachers are tired at this time, but if team lead (and teachers are encouraged to share successes and failures) and line management driven it could be a very effective tool to promote student performance especially if teachers are forewarned at the start of term of this intent.

Secondly I'd like it HoD lead rather than admin lead. Heads of department report on successes and failures and course/staffing changes to line managers such that changes can be implemented and hopefully improvement seen the following year. The success of the department becomes a performance management measureable for HoDs.

Lastly I'd like it to take a long and short view. There needs to be time to address/discuss immediate issues and report on what has been done about past issues. There also needs to be time dedicated to setting medium to long term goals that are meaningful. Managed statistics should be collated of where students are headed - initially teacher based decisions in earlier years leading to student based intentions as students move to year 11/12. For instance from year 8 cohort, 22 identified possible TEE students. Year 9 cohort, 15 of 17 originally bound for TEE in yr 8 + 2 new possible students etc. This could also be used for future proofing/planning for staffing issues. It would also help hone identification of students at an early age, the ability of the school to mentor students through middle years, identify where the system is working/failing and overall measure the performance of the school in converting students from potential to actual university/VET candidates.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

PD day 2 Yawn...

They say you only get what you put in. It's a bit hard when the opportunities for comment are limited to predetermined answers. The issues with planning in today's environment were clearly circumnavigated. It amounted to, plan guys, you're professionals do what you think is right. Oh, and here are five teaching stratagies.

Here were some of my questions and comments by PD staff
1. How many schools engage in values based education planning: few
2. Has middle schooling research been analysed before implementation at new schools: no, currently being investigated by ECU
3. It is important to know what is taught above and below your year group in any subject as kids may be at multiple levels: Duh!
4. There is significant slippage in year seven and nine due to adolescent hormones: True for some, excuse for most.

Here were some answers given by my fellow primary teachers.
1. "It is more important that students enjoy maths than have developed skills that they will retain."
2. "It is ok to teach to level three as lower ability students will switch off if they don't understand."
3. "Oh, is that what is taught in year 8. Why are you complaining - you don't have to do that much!"

..and I suppose it is ok to be able to write sentences with poor spelling, without capitals and full stops too. Numeracy is as important as literacy. Maths should not always be fun - it should have a fun element but there is a need to learn the skills too. Understanding without the ability to retain knowledge is a useless pursuit; you are building a house of straw without retention in mathematics. This is not rocket science people!

Here is some other useful stuff that is not common knowledge (apparently):
1. If a student is meeting outcomes and standards framework 'targets' then they are performing at the level of a reasonable student (eg. a 'B' student). Targets are meant to be the mean teaching point.
2. If a student is just reaching a NAPLAN benchmark, it describes a minimum performance requirement indicating assistance required. The child probably requires an IEP to lift him off the benchmark.

The obvious conclusion here is that many teachers are only teaching to targets and not extending into higher levels. This has always been the concern with developmental strategies - a developmental strategy in a heterogenous class relies on teachers teaching multiple levels nearly all the time and having strategies available to monitor performance and stretch students (a notoriously difficult task) - saying that good kids will pick it up later is clearly not good enough.