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Learning Styles Pashler 2008.pdf
Golparian, Chan, Cassidy 2015, Peer Review of Teaching: Sharing Best Practices
When teachers co-teach they’re more vested and held accountable for their work and their strengths and weaknesses are more visible to one another, which allows for greater reflection instead of on their own where it tends to be more private and introspective. (Chanmugam, Gerlach 2013).
“Through sustainable cooperative teacher work in so-called professional learning communities (PLCs) (cf. Gräsel et al. 2006), teachers share their experiences with other teachers in order to benefit from each other’s knowledge. Thereby, they improve their content knowledge and their process related competences. In addition, collaboration supports teachers in reflecting on their professional performance in class so as to promote more meaningful (mathematics) learning for students (cf. Lomos et al. 2011).”
In order to improve student achievement through teacher collaboration in my school here are a few actions I want to begin exploring with my community.
- During our team meetings teachers will give a quick summary of their goals for this coming’s month curriculum in each class they teach. This change will increase transparency, communication, collaboration, and preparedness for everyone.
- Establishing a mentor program for all new teachers to our school. This program will match up veteran teachers with new teachers, which will increase collaboration, communication, and self-efficacy for both new and veteran teachers.
- For my school change project I’m going to study our current K-5 Language Arts curriculum and compare that to the California State Standards and then finally present my findings to our faculty that will hopefully lead to a discussion to find gaps and opportunities to improve student achievement.
As more and more parents and kids become educated on student learning needs, differentiating the instruction in the classroom can be vital to reach the entire spectrum of your students’ readiness.
We can’t attend every workshop and every professional development pitched to us in our inbox because of time, funds, etc…, but that doesn’t mean the teachers who are able to attend at your school can’t bring back valuable tools to their community. This is why as an administrator it’s important for us to advocate to make time for teachers to share their experiences with one another. The list of strategies to help students with learning needs grows and grows every day. Some strategies work more effectively than others and some don’t work at all depending on the student. However, the more tools you have in your toolbox the more effective you’ll be as a teacher and one of the best ways to grow your toolbox is to collaborate with the teachers who are already at your school.
Self-efficacy is not only important in learning but it’s also a cornerstone of life. As we grow older we learn every day and if we have the confidence in our abilities to learn we’ll have a much easier time accomplishing our goals and creating more meaningful and impactful experiences within our own communities.
Improving student self-efficacy because of improved teacher self-efficacy through teacher collaboration
The more teachers have time for meaningful interactions (project collaboration, planning, evaluations, etc…) with each other the more each teacher will grow. According to research done by Lachance and Confrey “successful schools had teachers who had continual and substantive interactions…there is substantial research in the broader area of school reform that suggests that peer collaboration and support is a crucial pre-requisite for teachers to be successful in restructuring their classrooms and their schools” (Lachance, A., & Confrey, J., 2003)
” In response to the question ‘Why are some teachers better than others?’ a human capital perspective would answer that some teachers are just better trained, more gifted, or more motivated. A social capital perspective would answer the same question by looking not just at what a teacher knows, but also where she gets that knowledge. If she has a problem with a particular student, where does the teacher go for information and advice? Who does she use to sound out her own ideas or assumptions about teaching? Who does she confide in about the gaps in her understanding of her subject knowledge? -“The Missing Link” (Leana, 2011)”
If a teacher shows up every day, shuts their door to their classroom, teaches for the day then leaves, no matter how good of a teacher they are they’re going to be missing out on growing professionally and supporting their community. They’ll miss out because there is always room for improvement and growth in teaching practices and if they’re already a strong teacher then they should be giving guidance to newer teachers. They can accomplish all of this by making time to collaborate with other teachers.
For the purposes of this project I want to define what I mean by teacher collaboration. Also, for this information to be most useful to my community I’m using our K-8 departmentalized model.
To me teacher collaboration is most effective when time is given to the following:
Co-planning, either in person or through the use of technology (wikis, forums, etc..), allows teachers to improve their competency and effectiveness in the execution of their lesson (Egodawatte, McDougall, and Stoilescu 2011).
Allowing one of your colleagues to come in and evaluate you may not be easy for all, however, allowing this process to take place is critical for professional growth. The person being evaluated gets helpful feedback on their teaching practices while the evaluator gets to watch a lesson that they too can most likely get valuable techniques from.
For teachers being observed and receiving feedback from peers is critical for improving teaching practice (Darling-Hammond 2014). Peer observation allows the reviewer and reviewee to be exposed to different styles and techniques of teaching (Golparian, Chan, Cassidy 2015).
Bill Gates suggests we record ourselves teaching and use this video to help us reflect on our teaching practices and use to show how to effectively teach a specific lesson.
3. Cross Curricular Content
Expanding one lesson from a subject into another not only allows students to further develop their understanding of that content but it also shows how different topics often overlap and the reason why a well-rounded education is so important. Additionally, collaborating with another teacher for a cross curricular project may further your understanding of the other’s teacher subject and allow you to see how another teacher executes a lesson on this topic.
Taking the time to meet to discuss student progress and curriculum goals will give all teachers a big picture view of where everyone’s resources are being allocated the most and where they may be ineffective.