Meeting with Anne Giles
Area of focus: Sustainability

  • Sustainability is everywhere...it is a word used by many! Are we setting up sustainable practice? How can we set up sustainable practice and principles? How do we manage this because we cannot afford to pay for PD that is not sustainable.
  • IMPACT: Release teachers do not come to the PD - expectations that these teachers are involved in the PD so that the continue with the programme.

A new understanding of best practice:
Hargreaves and Fullan (2000) maintain that these are key to effective PD and mentoring

  • Teachers must learn to teach in ways that have not been taught
  • Professional learning is a continuous process, where teachers grapple with complex and evolving issues
  • Continuous learning is both an individual responsibility and an institutional obligation.
  • Professional learning is not to be found in a choice between school-based and course-based modes of provision, but in an active integration and synergy between the two.
  • Collegial professionalism means working with, and learning from, teaching colleagues.
  • Teaching muct be framed and informed by professional standards of practice that define what good teachers should know and be able to do, as well as what qualities and dispositions they should possess to care for and connect with their students..

Key Questions:
How do we ensure the programmes we are implementing will last?
What aspects should be lasting in one years time - five years' time - ten years?

What are the features an effective professional development process?
How do er evaluate its effectiveness?

What is the impact of the new NZ curriculum going to be?
What does a competency-based curriculum mean for us?

Discussion of the key aspects of Effective PD:

  • Continuity of personal, message and vision.
  • Keep things simple and focused.
  • Principals involvement - important.
  • Conference - balance of workshops, working with individual teachers...
  • Presentation of product in a public forum - DIGI SHARE.
  • Re-culture - confidence, sharing, presenting.
  • Requirements of SMART GOALS and WIKI so there is accountability for teachers.
  • School wide development.
  • Develop other key personal within the school - filter the leaders throughout the school so that when people leave it is sustainable.
  • Create mentoring/critical friends that can support and facilitate professional discussion/feedback for next steps.

Research:
This is not just about teachers 'learning to implement what others require of them' - it is much more than that!

  • Improved student outcomes based on test results - very simplistic approach
  • Adaptations of practice - don't always lead to improvement - Does this fit my beliefs and my classroom programme?
  • Opportunities for teachers to inquire into their practice - help teachers with support to inquire into classroom programmes.
  • Depth of 'principled knowledge' - knowledge is still important
  • The social context in which the teaching/learning is situated i.e. how well the wider policy and organisational arrangements in the school support of inhibit sustainability - (barriers effect sustainability - so break them down...is your school well organised, do you have enough resources...?)

Shirley Clark - what are you thinking?
Teachers need to invest their time into finding out what their students are thinking. Students provide clues from what students say, do and show. (notice, recognise, respond)
.

Mentoring:
The Importance of Mentoring...

  • Renewal
  • Re-engaging people
  • Bringing people on board
  • Coaching programme - put the enthusiastic ones together because they will drive the school forward.
  • Teachers need to understand that it is not an option to be a continuous learner, it is not an option to contribute to the wider school community.
Suggested reading from Anne: From A Climate of Mentoring; Building Teams for School Improvement, O'Mahony and Matthews; 2005

Nurture - Nudge

  • Induction of new staff - essential (this needs to happen over a period of time - 1 1/2 doesn't cut the mustard).
  • Lead Team Concept - support from the school - maintaining the momentum between facilitator visits.
  • For new teachers mentoring is crucial as it provides support for them to learn the ropes
  • For experienced teachers this has to be different - mentoring plays a vital role in the renewal of teachers.