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Leigh's discussion posts

  • Leigh 17 Nov 2015 9:18am () in Success and Challenges of TLIF - Checkpoint 1

    Hi Kerry 

    We have 9 teachers (including the Reading Recovery teacher) and 4 teacher aides from NE to Year 3 involved in the project.

    There are two team leaders in the school focus team and then I am the project lead teacher (Deputy Principal) and I essentially co-ordinate the project, while supporting the team leaders to drive change across their teams.  Our collaborative 'Teaching as Inquiry' sessions currently involve both teams (NE-Y1 and Y2-3), although we see this branching off into two again as time goes on.  I support the team leaders to take lead with these sessions and I become a member of the team.  We have the advantage that our two team leaders are new to the role and to leadership, so it is working well as a shared leadership model by helping to build their leadership capacity and confidence.  So in this respect, we have essentially one lead teacher/leader, but kind of two others who share the role and help to oversee the project.  I thoroughly recommend building the team this way if you can, so it doesn't all fall on one persons shoulders and ensures sustainability in case someone leaves the school. 

    Hope this helps. 


  • Leigh 16 Nov 2015 2:12pm () in Success and Challenges of TLIF - Checkpoint 1

    Our TLIF project is focused on raising student achievement in literacy using a structured approach to teaching Phonological Awareness (PA).  It's innovation lies in the implementation of latest research findings into practice in order to promote early literacy success, particularly for at-risk students and students with special learning needs from NE to Year 3 (e.g., dyslexia, dyspraxia and speech-language impairment).  

    What has worked well?

    • Structuring the project by having one term dedicated to PLD, gathering baseline data and developing necessary teaching resources. 
    • Starting from a 'puzzle of practice' identified from prior PLD on ways to raise student achievement in literacy for students with special learning needs. 
    • Using research presented by academic experts who conducted the research raised the bar for teachers. 
    • Using collaborative 'Teaching as Inquiry' as a vehicle to drive this initiative. As we are adapting and modifying a programme that was intended for 1-1 intervention, these meetings have led an authentic need to share professional knowledge and expertise with each other, while analysing and making sense of student achievement data. 
    • Shared leadership with the project lead teacher working alongside and supporting other team leaders has proven a sound model to build leadership capacity, especially using 'BES - School Leadership and Student Outcomes' to underpin this. 
    • A strong cluster relationship where systems and processes for communication and sharing of practice exist already. 
    • Establishing a relationships with the University has led to support in areas indirectly related to this project. 

    What have been the challenges? 

    • The funding structure of getting 1/4 in the first two terms, 2/4 in the third term and 1/4 in the final term.  The highest proportion of funding is required in the first two terms due to external PLD, teacher release, resourcing etc. 
    • Launching the teaching element of project in Term 4 has presented some issues with timetable clashes and students moving into Year 4. 
    • Sustainability - PLD, induction and mentoring for new teacher appointments.  

    We thought we would share this, as it may help some of you to consider these things when applying for TLIF in the future.   

  • Leigh 23 Jun 2014 10:47pm () in MLEs: Learning spaces and resourcing | NAPP Kōrero 6

    Michelle, I really appreciated you suggestion to involve the whole school community, including support staff, PTA etc.  Too often we focus on the teachers and parents and not on those who communicate daily with stakeholders, often from dual perspective as a staff member and a parent. I am eager to explore this idea.

    It is reassuring to see so many people indicating that the starting point when exploring MLE’s in our schools is in the core values and beliefs (why) leading to the principles (how) and then exploring the practices (what). We have made such good progress with pedagogical developments in the past few years, by inquiring into and applying theories of teaching/learning, unpacking and evaluating our practice in order to measure and raise student achievement. To disregard this and leap into personalised learning pathways or innovative physical spaces with a superficial depth in thinking and pedagogical understanding would be self-limiting.

    I often ask myself “Do I want my children to be taught in a school environment where they work it out as they go along?”   I would be very happy with this if I knew innovation was built on strong pedagogical foundations and quality teaching practice to begin with.

    As much as I believe this is a strategically planned process of evaluating our core believes, values and vision to identify the non-negotiable elements we aspire to uphold - I do see the value in expanding our ideas and exploring the wealth of learning environments and organisational structures available to us.  To consider things from different perspectives, contexts and learning/leadership journeys.

    I also agree that MLE’s put far more urgency on the need for students to be able to access and share their learning through e-learning and BYOD. This has the potential to lead to a deeper pedagogical and more critical approach to personalised learning pathways.