SNIPPETS FOR EDUCATORS (12)

More thoughts that may be helpful.

______________________________
APPRECIATING VOLUNTEERS
So many teachers and educators give of their time and talents in out of hours, voluntary activities supporting students and their schools. They go the extra mile and deserve thanks and appreciation.
_________________________________

SCHOOL ATMOSPHERE – HARD  TO  BUILD  AND EASILY LOST

School atmosphere is precious. It can be built but not bought. It’s establishment comes from hard work. Without dedication it can be easily lost.
Schools are like weather maps. There are highs and lows. Principals are like unto the forecast. There is a need to disperse the lows and bring on the highs. Maintaining optimal atmosphere is challenging.
______________________________________________
THE PRIME PURPOSE OF EDUCATION

Teachers and educators should always consider how their contributions and efforts can benefit and enrich student learning outcomes. What they can do to build the school collegiate is also important.

______________________________________________
REPUTATION – LONG ON DEVELOPMENT, SO EASILY LOST
Building a school’s reputation takes time and effort. It requires the focus and concerted effort of staff. It is added to by the contribution of parents and students. And it can be so easily lost.
________________________________________________
ENRICHING STUDENT LEARNING OUTCOMES

Teachers and educators should always consider how their contributions and efforts can benefit and enrich student learning outcomes. What they can do to build the school collegiate is also important.

_____________________________________________

KNOWING STUDENTS

As a principal, educational leader or teacher, make every effort to know your students and give them every opportunity to know and appreciate you. Knowing and speaking to students by name is a must.

____________________________________________
TEACHERS SHOULD SET STANDARDS

Teachers  should “model” for their students. This extends to include dress standards maintained by teachers in schools.

In my opinion it would be a good thing if the state and territory departments work to establish dress codes for teachers which were mandated. At one stage that used to be the case in some of the states.

With the passing of time departments have vested confidence in teachers that they will dress appropriately and according to standard setting. For most teachers follow a reasonable and sensible dress code, there are some who don’t enter in the correction.

Correcting teachers by advising on dress standards can be difficult and embarrassing. Where practicable it is advisable that female teachers should be spoken to about dress standards by a female member of the senior team. Likewise if mile teachers need advice that is best offered by a male member of the senior staff (if indeed there is a male in the senior leadership cohort).

I believe that the teacher dress does not need to be “over the top”. Neither should people dress scantily or inappropriately because this let’s the standard of our teaching profession down quite badly in the eyes of the public. Whether we like it or not, members of the community do talk about the way we dress and comment on our general behaviour and deportment.

Recently (2014) the New South Wales Department of Education introduced minimal standards of this for teachers which will be regulated in that state. This may have been because of a need for this issue to be addressed. Whether other departments will follow in a similar direction remains to be seen. It is to be hoped however, that teachers will dress in a way that shows their respect about profession so that regulation is not necessary.

I believe at the end of the day, teachers are modelling and setting standards for students. That is something we need to do in a respectful and empathetic manner. While it may be considered not proper to talk about these sorts of things the way we dress and our quality of deportment as teachers is certainly something that students and the public take into account when considering teachers and the profession.
_______________________________________________
WATCH OUT FOR TRENDINESS

Education is exciting, often because of the chance to innovate and try out new ideas. However, it is important to consider and study the merit of new ideas. ‘Reform’ and ‘initiative’ are words often overdone.

Education that bounces from one new idea to the next, to the next in rapid succession, can present a destabilising and hard to follow classroom experience for children. There seems no end to the plethora of ideas, approaches and priorities that come along.

It is important that schools and teachers apply a filter to suggestions of change. The pros and cons of issues need to be considered. To grasp at something new for the sake of its novelty is unwise.

Schools and staff who take and consider ideas and change suggestions are wise. This is where the value of collaboration and conversation comes to the fore.  Within every group, there are those who want to run with change, others who prefer dialogue and careful consideration and a third group who dig in and avoid change at all costs. from this delightful mix, school organisation evolves.

Some thoughts:

* Discuss issues with colleagues and also be a sounding board for them.
* Read and research new initiatives.
* Make a list of the pros and cons relative to change in teaching approaches.
* Discuss ideas with people who may have trialled them.
* Make the subject one for discussion at unit meetings and possibly whole staff
meetings.
* Consider whether changes will build on what has gone before, or whether
they will mean starting all over again in particular areas. There is a lot to be
said for ‘steady state’ or incremental development.
* Take into account budgetary implications of change. Programs that are resource           heavy can finish up costing schools a lot of money.
* Consider if change addresses major learning needs or if it is simply about        embellishment or ‘prettying the edges’ of learning; is it about superficiality or
substance?

Change ought not be resisted by habit. Neither should it be blindly accepted for change’s sake. Consider new ideas on their merit including thinking, reading and discussion with others.

Importantly, consider that change builds on what has gone before. To throw out everything that has been developed, using change as an excuse to ‘start all over’ would be the extreme of foolishness.

____________________________________________

THE NUMBER ONE PRIORITY

Teachers and educators should always consider how their contributions and efforts can benefit and enrich student learning outcomes. What they can do to build the school collegiate is also important.
____________________________________________
COMPUTER FOCUSSED LEARNING HAS ITS LIMITATIONS

It seems that the thrust of education is toward developing opportunities for students to progress  through  the practise of technology supported learning . Devices from electronic smart boards to computers, iPads and other devices are front and centre. More and more schools are developing a “bring your open device” policy when it comes to technology. It seems that the children are increasingly immersed in technologically focused learning.

There is a place for technology in our schools. However if devices replace teachers  it will be to the detriment of education. The best learning outcomes are achieved through direct interaction.  When using computers and iPads, children can easily log out of learning and go onto some amusement or games application.

Approach to lessons and learning needs to be based on time and organisation. There needs to be a patterned and ordered approach to  learning.  Taking teachers out of the equation and replacing them with computer controlled programs, detracts from education.

The emphasis in the NT is toward Direct Instruction (DI).  Concern about poor educational outcomes has lead to a revival of this instructional method.  “The Direct instruction strategy is highly teacher-directed and is among the most commonly used. This strategy is effective for providing information or developing step-by-step skills. It also works well for introducing other teaching methods, or actively involving students in knowledge construction.” (Instructional strategies online, Saskatoon Public Schools)

Explicit teaching, lectures, drills, specific questioning, demonstration and the guiding of listening, reading, viewing and thinking are direct instructional practices. DI is about close interaction of teachers with students to enhance teaching and learning opportunities.  Computers and iPads by their very nature can put distance between students and teachers. If their use is not carefully managed they can become a distraction.

A very important part of teaching and learning is the way body language and facial expression impact on classroom outcomes. Teachers can sense confidence about what if being taught through student responses. Similarly, students can sense how their teachers feel about work being completed. Shared personal contact within classrooms is a very important part of learning. Computer based education does not allow students or teachers to appreciate body language or facial expressions.

Technology has its place in education as a support to learning. However classroom focus should be about interaction between teachers and students. Replacing teachers with computers will impact negatively on the quality of learning and educational outcomes.
____________________

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s