DEC Scan Journal : Volume 36 Issue 1
2017 Volume 36, Issue 1 27 Contents Editorial Learning & teaching Research Share this Resource reviews parents and community members. The school is set in manicured gardens and well maintained playing fields. The school curriculum has particular emphasis on literacy and numeracy. The school is actively supported by its local community and through this partnership has developed excellent educational facilities. Students work within a positive environment which has its focus on individual and team accomplishment. Teaching and learning – writing focus at Narranga Public School, Filmpond Challenges In 2016, largely due to the increased Gonski funding model, Narranga appointed myself and another Assistant Principal, Melissa Fenton, into a school self-funding instructional leader (IL) role for one semester each. Although some team teaching and lesson planning occurred in the previous two years, the IL model was new. Most teachers welcomed the opportunity to work with another teacher in their room, but some questioned the need to improve their practice. Also, with no formal instructional leader training, such as those ILs trained through Early Action for Success, I also wondered about what my role should be and how to maximise the investment that the school had made in improving practice. There was some resistance to formal evaluation. Staff were surveyed about their ideas, and while mostly positive, one experienced teacher commented: I would be very disappointed if we were to implement the formal model proposed at the beginning of the year because that looked and sounded more like an official appraisal, slightly ominous and out of character with the culture we desire to build in our school of building morale in our staff as well as our students. Building teacher capacity Based on NAPLAN results and school-based assessment, writing was identified as our prime teaching focus for the IL model. Underlying this was the aim of improving teacher confidence and quality via the adoption of improved classroom practice. Early in the year, the two ILs and our Deputy Principal, Diane Blevin, produced an observation proforma incorporating the quality teaching documents, the CESE What works best document, continuums, visible learning documentation and many other readings on exactly what ‘good quality 21st century learning’ looks like. This proforma was not designed as a checklist, but rather as something to aspire to and help us to guide discussions with our colleagues. The focus has always been on building teacher capacity to benefit students based around individual teacher needs. Melissa and I undertook many modelled lessons, team teaching, joint lesson planning, feedback conversations and, finally, some formal observations. The process taught me so much about exactly what teaching in the 21st century really needs to be. At Narranga it was not a one-size-fits-all model, but was guided by the needs of each teacher and, of course, each student. We surveyed our teachers at the conclusion of the Instructional Leader program and found that 100% of teachers felt their own teaching, and their students’ writing had improved in 2016. Importantly, 100% strongly agreed with the statement that the process had been supportive. Our 2016 NAPLAN results and school-based assessment reflected growth in student writing outcomes, and we look forward to our 2017 results for a clearer indication of our progress. The strength of the IL model is reflected in this comment by the experienced teacher, whose concerns were cited previously: Being able to work collaboratively with another teacher based on this model is invaluable for sharing ideas, comparing observations and developing further lesson experiences designed to promote further progress in our students.
Volume 35 Issue 4
Volume 36 Issue 2