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Leigh Hynes's blogs

  • Principals and their Very Necessary Involvment in the Professional Learning and Development of their Staff


    In 2014, I decided to conduct an inquiry into the involvement of principals in the professional learning and development project that I was facilitating in their schools.  I had found that in 2013, some principals were not active in the professional learning and development (PLD) that they wanted their staff to particpate in.  When this happens, some staff see the project as being of lower priority in the school.

    I had about 30% active involvement of principals and decided I wanted 100%, so my inquiry was to see what I could do about it, as research had told me that the PLD would be more successful if principals were actively involved.  I decided to approach the principals and ask them to complete a checklist of indicators that they were actively involved.

    This strategy had a twofold purpose:

    1. To alert the principals to the fact that they should be involved (even though the Memorandum of Understanding clearly stated they would be)
    2. To give principals some ideas of how they could be involved (because sometimes these things may be as clear as the big nose on your own face but not to others)
    Principals were asked to help me with my inquiry by assessing their own degree of involvement and also adding any other factors that they could think of that would indicate that they were involved.  
    There were unexpected outcomes.  As I watched some principals complete the checklist, I saw them waver as they filled out the sheet.  They WANTED to check the indicators positively but they knew they had not , in all honesty, done what they indicator had suggested. But they went ahead and checked it anyway!  And then they started doing it from that point on!  
    So I suddenly became aware that some principals need a little help in meeting success criteria.  They need to know what is expected of them spelt out in black and white.  This year, I had over 80% active involvement by principals in the PLD.  A big improvement.
    Principals also added some criteria to my original list and I am publishing this list of indicators so that it can be used by others working in schools in the same way that I do, and by principals if they wish to do a little self review on how well they are involved in PLDs in their school.
    If you have a suggestion to add to the list, please do so by adding a comment below.  Here is the checklist:


    Be involved in the PLD visioning development - establishing goals, targets and opportunities

    Communicate to the staff that the PLD  is a major focus for the school this year

    Touch base with the facilitator when she/he is in the school to give feedback on how the PLD is progressing

    Attend, visit,  or take part in any PLD  that the facilitator leads or facilitates

    Ensure that teacher inquiries continue in the school, between facilitator visits

    Encourage staff who are trialling PLD by visiting their classes when appropriate

    Make the PLD inquiry part of appraisal cycle  for some / all teachers

    Respond in a timely fashion  to emails from the facilitator

    Give feedback in the collaborative google document for your school

    Releasing staff with relievers when possible

    Read recommended research like BES re leadership around PLD in schools

    Encourage staff to attend relevant PLD outside the school like ULearn

    School subscription to relevant literature like Interface magazine/ ipad Tech

    Belong to and participate in VLN

    Contact primary and intermediate schools to see who and what skills are coming (regarding digital technologies)

    Inform board what is happening internationally

    Do the self -review from STA called Falling Behind ? Not sure if this is the correct resource but I have added the link here.

    Visit local schools to see what is coming

  • I watched this interesting TED talk video from Andreas Schleicher who runs PISA, the international assessor of student achievement.  There are many, many interesting concepts in this video that compelled me to watch it more than once. To help me get a grasp on what was being said,  I used the fabulous VideoNotes in Google Drive to collect my thoughts.

    For those of you who have not used this function before, let me tell you, it must be one of the most useful for any learner to have in front of them.  It allows you to take notes while you watch a video, and your notes are automatically saved in Google Drive

    I first found out about VideoNotes from  the FreeTechnologyforTeachers blog by Richard Byrne.  All you have to do is add it to your drive and when you go to the Create button in your drive you see the VideoNotes option.  Press on that and you just put the URL of the video into the bar and away you go.  As you write your notes, it automatically synchronizes it to the correct place in the video.



    And here  is a screen shot of my notes and here are the actual VideoNotes  for what they are worth.  I will use them to write a blog about the video a little later.  I can imagine every teacher and student/learner in New Zealand being able to use VideoNotes in some way or another!

  • School is between emerging and engaging, because we have planned for use of technology and many are using with in the limitaitons of our infrastructure.  We do have wireless, we do have the snup upgrade, we are desperately waiting for UFB as our internet is only slightly faster than dial up on a good day! Some staff are trialling initiatives.  Others are lagging behind, although they are aware of technologies and the need to change their practice.  Some staff crow that they dont need technology to have a damn good lesson and I know that in some cases they are right but they have not made the shift to the new paradigm and I fear for when they suddenly realise they have been left behind because they havent invested time in learning technologies.  We have a facilitator starting in the school to help shift the pedagogical approach of these laggers, but at the same time i think that there has to be an injection of professional development right across New Zealand, expecially when I hear teachers talk at other meetings/courses.

    I personally am stuck in the spot between engaging and extending.  Restrictions of the infrastructure are frustrating and inhibiting.  I do have students collaborating on google documents and making youtubes and commenting on other youtubes but they too are frustrated with the slowness of the internet.  My students have started using portfolios but as for uploading videos....dream on.  

    About one third of the community do not have landlines at home, so internet is not on their landscape.  I hope that Computers in Homes will help address this shortage of computer.Frown

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