Getting to Know You


First of all, let me say “Happy New Year” and “Happy New School Year” to all those of you who have returned to work this week to begin a whole new year of learning.  2015 already hey… How on earth did that happen!?  Ah well… we’d better make it a significant one.  How about a New Year’s resolution to devise and utilise a tool that will help all of us to learn and grow as teachers?  Fantastic.

We’ve got a lovely collection of Co-Creators now – and we are more than happy to welcome far more to the fold.  Over the last couple of months I’ve emailed everyone who has signed up to say “Hi” and then I’ve left you alone.  Well, you needed to enjoy the summer, Christmas, New Year and your holidays!  Needless to say, we’ve been working away at this end to get things into place so that we can really get rolling with Reflect Growth.  On my desktop, hot off the digital press, is a copy of an e-book which contains the first draft of a Criterion Reference for Reflecting on Teaching Quality.   I can’t tell you how happy I am that it’s finished so that I can begin to share it with you.  I have read so many papers and reviewed observation practice from so many different contexts and it was such a wonderfully rich challenge to place it all in its current form.

I started with AITSL’s Classroom Practice Continuum; taking the 6 levels that they had defined and pulling them apart.  I attempted to identify where they were covering the 13 standards that they had highlighted.  I then looked at trends and common themes in what they had written and ‘quality teacher’ assessment models from all over the world including OFSTED from the UK, documentation from British schools who conduct regular lesson observations, the Measures of Effective Teaching from a group of universities in the US and a whole heap of papers on the various themes and topics which came up. Boy is my head full of facts I never knew I needed!! What was fascinating about all of these documents is that they all had their own cultural identity what was even more interesting was that very few of the frameworks I have read actually deal with the teacher as an individual learner.  It was actually good fun piecing it all together.  What does that say about me I wonder!?

Now I have a draft of what I hope represents a well rounded view of quality teaching.  Although I haven’t been too restricted by it, in this draft,  I have focused mostly on the standards identified in the Classroom Practice Continuum.  Everything within it ties to one of the standards identified by AITSL so it will definitely be possible for the system to provide you an assessment report which links to them.  What I need now is our cultural perspective.  There’s no way that I can possibly write something like this on my own.  Not unless we want it to be biased by my teaching and learning experiences and passions.  I promise that I have done the bulk of the work but now we need to get your input and insight.  This is where we have the chance to define what the best practices in quality teaching are and how we want to measure them.

questionnaireLast week we sent out a questionnaire to everyone on the Co-Create list.  We also sent it out via our social media networks and collected a few more members for our team.  The questionnaire is designed to help us to get to know you.  One of the questions within it asks what your passions are as a teacher.  It also asks if you’d be interested in being involved in reviewing this document that I have sat open in Adobe Reader right now.   If being involved in shaping this tool sounds interesting and valuable them please don’t hesitate to come forward.

The next step will be to allocate parts of the criteria to people to feedback upon.  Based upon the feedback from the questionnaire (which I intend to leave open for another fortnight) we’ll be organising several ways for us to connect, discus and learn from one another as we move this document forward.   If you’ve completed the questionnaire and told me you’d like to be involved then you’ll get an invite. It’s as simple as that.

One of the major themes that is coming out of the responses we’ve already seen is your desire to connect with other educators so that you can learn from each other and get a better understanding of your own current practice.  So,  at the top of Matt’s list next week is the creation of a member only area for our co-creators.  This will be a space where you can get to know each other, swap stories with all of us and take part in conversations (like the on about this Criterion Reference for Reflecting on Teaching Quality).    I can’t wait for those virtual doors to open 🙂  Rest assured we’re doing our best to make sure we listen to what you’re telling us.  If we have the skills between us to provide it for you, we will 🙂 That may even include cake… I make a mean cake… 😉

So, if you haven’t done so already, get over to the questionnaire and fill it in.  Let’s grow our network and get co-creating.  I can’t wait!

Coffee and cake Coffee and cake  by AnnieAnniePancake is shared under Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic


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