Designing a series of Teacher Development Meetings for others to facilitate
A small NGO STIR Education started an initiative to encourage more student-friendly classrooms. It did this by organising a network of elementary schools whose teachers would meet after school for two hours each fortnight. Each network was led by a more experienced ‘lead teacher’.
The aim was to make a pack of activities that the lead teachers could use as the basis of their fortnightly meetings. It was decided that the focus of the initiative would be to ensure that every student was involved in classroom activities. Central to the pack was the Key Resource ‘Involving all’. Also relevant were the associated videos. These were particularly motivating because they were not model lessons but instead were authentic, everyday classroom situations that contained examples of this inclusive practice.
Many of the OER contained activities related to involving all students. These were located by using the search facility of the website, using key words and phrases such as ‘student talk’, ‘active learning’, ‘continuous assessment’, ‘handwriting’, etc.
Once suitable input material had been identified and listed, it was mapped against each meeting to create a planning document. Each meeting had a similar format, which involved teachers:
• watching and discussing a video
• reading from a Key Resource or an OER
• planning an activity to try out in their classroom.
The teachers were also expected to make notes on the classroom experience so as to share this with others at the next meeting.
Guidance notes were also written for the lead teacher facilitating the meetings, as were explanations on how to download the videos onto a tablet or mobile phone.
The following outlines indicate the broad content of each teacher meeting, as detailed in the planning document and accompanying guidance notes that were provided.
Network Meeting 1
Lead teachers show several of the ‘Involving all’ videos and lead a discussion about what the teachers notice in them that is student-friendly or student-centered.
In pairs, teachers read the short section ‘Using praise and positive language’ from the Key Resource ‘Monitoring and giving feedback’. Lead teachers ask teachers to reflect on how often they use such language in their classrooms.
In groups of four, teachers read Section 2, ‘Classroom chats’, in the Language and Literacy OER ‘School–home communication’.
Teachers plan an activity similar to Activity 1 for their classrooms on the theme of getting to know one’s students. They then try it out before the next meeting.
Involving All Videos
Key Resource ‘Monitoring and Giving Feedback’ the section: ‘Using praise and positive language’
Language and Literacy OER section ‘Classroom chats’, Activity 1: A daily chat
Network Meeting 2
In pairs or small groups, teachers share their experience of trying out the activity planned at the end of meeting 1.
Teachers watch selected videos on ‘Talk for learning’.
Lead teachers use the Key Resource OER ‘Talk for learning’ to guide a discussion on the key points.
Teachers read from Section 3 of the Language and Literacy OER ‘Speaking and listening’: the case study about Ms Bhumi, and Activity 4, about listening to students, followed by the ‘Pause for thought’.
Teachers plan an activity to listen to their students in a lesson they will teach the following week.
Talk for learning videos
Key Resource ‘Talk for Learning’
Language and Literacy OER section ‘Using student talk to inform your teaching’ Activity 4 and Case Study 2
Network Meeting 3
In pairs or small groups, teachers share their experience of trying out the activity planned at the end of meeting 2.
Teachers watch selected videos on ‘Using pair work’.
In pairs, teachers read the Key Resource ‘Using pair work’ and discuss the different pair work techniques outlined.
Teachers try out pair work ideas in short micro-teaching sessions.
Teachers read Section 3 from the Language and Literacy OER ‘Pair work for language and literacy’, and plan a pair work activity for a lesson that they will teach the following week.
Videos ‘Using Pair Work’
Key Resource ‘Using Pair Work’
Language and Literacy OER ‘Pair work for language and literacy’
Network Meeting 4
In pairs or small groups, teachers share their experience of trying out the activity planned at the end of the meeting 3.
In this meeting, the focus is on teachers using more English in their English lessons to improve their confidence in using the language.
In groups of four, teachers read Sections 1–3 of the Elementary English OER ‘Classroom routines’. The groups report back on what they have read.
The teachers try out some of the language games and the classroom routines for using English in micro-teaching sessions.
The teachers plan to incorporate at least two of these activities into their lessons in the following week.
Elementary English OER ‘Classroom routines’
Activity 1: Using teacher talk, a planning activity
Activity 2: Increase your use of English