My last blog post was kinda ages ago, and I feel guilty not devoting more time to reflecting on my practice, but the reality is that I’ve been so busy that there’s not been much time. When I’m not focused on professional learning, or preparing learning resources for my classes, I’m trying to get a mental break by watching One Born Every Minute – there’s something disturbingly addictive about that show, lol. Anyway, back to my last blog post: I wrote about the framework for professional learning that is being introduced at my school to support the range of policy reforms being introduced by the DEC. Since that post, I have developed the Collective Commitments scaling document, and completed a list of teaching strategies and tools aligned to each Collective Commitment. (If you’ll remember, Collective Commitment is term we are using for the evidenced based quality teaching and learning practices that the teachers have identified as essential for the success of learners at our school.) Since the post, I have also presented on the Collective Commitments, and related PLC action research to each faculty in the school – I’ve been completely stoked with how the staff have responded to the plan, considering this was the first time that had heard about it. All of the new reforms can be quite overwhelming, but hopefully our whole school PL plan will make it less confronting for everyone.
Below is the PPT that I used to introduce my colleagues to the PLC whole school PL plan. In it I focus on the interconnections between the new reforms, as well as how these will impact teachers through the Performance and Development Framework. I tried really hard to clearly outline the relationship between the school plan, the PDF and our professional learning community (PLC) action research approach to PL. It was quite nice reading through the DEC PL policy and seeing that a lot of what we are trying to achieve at MSC reflects the expectations of the policy – you can see that in the latter slides in the PPT. It felt great seeing that action research, teachers as co-researchers and professional learning communities were explicitly identified as ideal PL strategies. Yay us!
After the PPT, all teachers were given a copy of the Collective Commitments Scaling document, which they were asked to complete confidentially, and then use their results to identify three Collective Commitments that would like to further develop. Why three? Well, whilst teachers only need one Collective Commitment PDP goal, I needed them to pick their top three just in case I couldn’t form a complete PLC team around their first choice of CC goal. I aim to get goals from all teachers by the end of this week – I already have quite a few (Science got ALL their goals in first – yay Science!!). I’m collating all of these goals in a Google Sheet, with all three goals listed, and then their team (once I create them – that’s next week’s job!). Below is the Collective Commitments Scaling document – you might want to use it just for your own self-assessment. Remember that 1 = not so awesome, and 10 = super awesome.
So where to from here? Well, this afternoon I had a meeting with Tony Loughland who is my go-to guy for all things action research. He is helping me create some proformas to support our PLC teams as they design their own action research projects, and he is also coming to our Term 3 staff development day to give a presentation on action research, and then support PLC teams as they create their action research project plans – big stuff, and very exciting! I loved what Tony said today about team work – that you commit to the team only by taking individual responsibility. I think he said it’s a Dylan Wiliam quote. I love it. Each teacher will have their own personal action research project (because they will be introducing an intervention in their own classes), however they will be working towards the same overarching Collective Commitment goal as their PLC team members. I’ll be providing each team with a range of resources to support the planning stage of their action research – which I learnt today has three cycles, all with an associated epic verb (God, I love action verbs!) plan, act, reflect. Tony and I are well chuffed that these align beautifully with my PBL cycles – discover, create, share – and it was rad to have him reassure me throughout our meeting that I already do action research informally (hello, I’m writing this blog, erm ‘reflect’, lol) and that everything I know about running great PBL projects is applicable to supporting teachers implementing action research, so yeah – rad. The first resource I’ve designed to help teachers is the document which lists teaching strategies and tools that align to each Collective Commitment goal. Phew, that’s a mouthful! Here it is for you…
Anyway, I’m off now to create an Edmodo group for the power team of two – Tony and I – so he can share a bunch of resources with me about action research. I’m such a nerd that I’m actually excited, and Tony thinks I’m a little bit mad, lol. I hope these three resources help you, or your school, to reflect on their teaching practice… and maybe even inspire you to think about introducing a similar style of whole school PL plan. Let me know if you do, I’d love to share ideas!