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Engaging Teachers - Creating Confident Classroom Teacher Facilitators

The iPlus Focus Teachers and classroom teachers, describe the success of the transition from Cluster Shares to Mini-Conferences based on, creating the conditions for distributing leadership by developing the leadership of others.' Teacher Professional Learning and Development: (BES), 2007.

Context:
National Goal 3:
teachers to integrate e-learning effectively into their practice creating an innovative and exciting learning environment for all students

Cluster Goal 3: Teachers develop the skills to teach students in a way that enables students to become independent thinkers and inspires them to become life-long, 21st Century learners.

Success Indicators:
Teachers are more effective and enthusiastic for teaching and offer more varied, motivating and creative teaching/learning activities in their classrooms.

Teachers are more confident with the use of e-tools. Knowledge and good practice is being shared around the cluster including unit plans.

Background:
Our cluster is diverse in terms of ethnicity, roll numbers, school size and is geographically wide spread. We wanted to created a distributed leadership model so that our external facilitators and Focus Teachers could train classroom teachers to become leading facilitators within their own school environment and across the cluster.

Our initial baseline survey results from classroom teachers showed varying degrees of teacher confidence and understanding using ICT/eLearning and Inquiry Learning in a classroom environment. One of our aims was to empower the classroom teachers to be confident users of ICT/eLearning tools and to become creative users, providing more varied, creative teaching/learning activities in their classrooms.

Data from November 2009 compared to November 2011

 

November 2009
There is a small percentage of teachers who have indicated that there has been no change for them. This has been noted and the cluster management team will identify those them and differentiate the professional development to target them. 46.5% of teachers have indicated that they have experienced great change in the area of increased confidence of using eLearning in their classroom.

 

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November 2011
All teachers are now in the, 'some change' and 'great change' areas. This data indicates that everyone in the cluster has improved their understanding and confidence regarding Inquiry Learning and using ICT/ELearning in their classrooms.

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Aims and Purpose
The Focus Teachers wanted to involve all teachers in the cluster with shared professional learning.  The aim of this was to share new learning, but more importantly, to begin to create ICT leaders across the cluster and build the confidence of classroom teachers by empowering them with the necessary skills and confidence to facilitate ICT/eLearning workshops to their peers.

Method, Interventions and Actions
We used the Teacher Professional Learning and Development BES - Link , specifically the finding that,  'Active school leadership -  created the conditions for distributing leadership by developing the leadership of other.'  Teacher Professional Learning and Development, BES, December 2007.

The Focus Teachers developed a series of Cluster Shares whereby two of the schools in the cluster hosted a cluster share and teachers within these schools provided a range of workshops for the rest of the cluster to attend.

The Focus Teachers gather reflective data from the teachers to ascertain the success of the Cluster Shares. It was found that this model was not conducive to cluster because of travel, time, etc.

The Focus Teachers spent some time as a group reflecting and redesigning the Cluster Shares to suit the iPlus Cluster schools and developed the mini-conferences which included the following components:

  • Use of classroom teachers as facilitators,
  • In-school support and release time for classroom teachers to develop and test their presentations,
  • Full engagement and support from the cluster Principals,
  • One school location for the mini-conferences,
  • Criteria for each classroom teacher presenter to adhere to,
  • Change in timetable so that the mini-conferences occurred partly in school time and extended after school,
  • Certificates for presenters,
  • Prizes for teacher attendees,
  • Two workshops for teacher to attend, each presenter, presenting the same workshop twice to reach more classroom teachers,
  • Time for each school to meet as a school, to reflect and gather data for sharing.

Here is a video link of one of our Focus Teachers discussing the move from Cluster Shares to Mini-conferences.

The Focus Teachers captured their staff, both mini-conference attendees and teacher presenters reflecting on their mini-conference experience.

Here are some refection examples;

Presenter Reflection 

Attendee Reflection

Students as Leaders
The mini-conferences have had an impact on how our teachers value leadership and facilitation skills both for themselves, their peers and for their students. Teachers have made a pedagogical shift towards enabling students to take a more active role in eLearning leadership. Here is an example of a year 3 student teaching his teacher about the basics of operating an iPad.

Student teaching

Student Techperts - explaining who they have helped in the school 

Summary of Key Results

  • Distributing leadership is an important function of creating the conditions for sustainability beyond MOE funding
  • Empowering classroom teachers to facilitate gives them confidence to try new things in the classroom
  • Reflection time gives teachers the ability to articulate their learning and create real change
  • Improved teacher confidence and competency has an impact on how they empower their students to be leaders
  • The Principals have agreed to continue with the mini-conferences beyond the MOE funding