Last time I blogged about the CTeach programme I talked about the Professional Development plan I had written and what I am planning on working on throughout the year. I am going to have my first call with my mentor tonight to talk about this plan and what I might want to change before I submit the final version. This plan isn't formally assessed in terms of what I have written and how, my mentor just has to sign off to confirm that I'm thinking of my development, it's realistic and it has a range of formal and informal development opportunities. It's up to me to keep it updated throughout the year and make sure I am making progress in the areas I have identified. I will be assessed on the reflective journal entries that I submit along the way.
One very interesting part of the programme is the Online Debate. I won't go into the topics here, but we had a choice of three - all of them looked really interesting. Then we have been provided with suggested readings and an expert webinar to help us form our ideas. We then have to give our response to the debate topic and reply to at least two other participants. The only thing I'm finding hard about this is that I can't get it done when I might like to as I have to rely on when the other participants respond. That's not really an issue though, unless they all do it at midnight on the last day!
The next thing I need to do is start thinking about my Impact Portfolio - 1 change I have made that has had a positive impact, and one that hasn't worked out how I would've hoped. I've got some thinking to do about how to approach this one, luckily the first deadline isn't for another month. We then get to peer review someone else's submission before redrafting which is a really interesting idea. Of course, it's always a good idea to read other people's work, but to have a peer review as part of the assessment is a different approach to anything I've experienced in the past. I'm just trying to think about the changes I'm going to write about, the Impact doesn't only have to be on student progress so I'm considering changes I've made that colleagues might be able to comment on. That's tomorrow's job once I've planned my lessons for next week!
I'm also pleased with how the workload has been spread out so far. The deadlines have all seemed reasonable and tasks have been broken down into chunks where necessary. As the title says - so far, so good.
One very useful task we have been asked to do early on in the CTeach programme is to write a Professional Development Plan (PDP). It involves identifying the Professional Principles that we feel we need to develop, stating what our end aim is for developing this area, demonstrating how we are going to develop in that area and evaluating why we have chosen specific ways of doing this.
I have decided to share the areas I am working on in this post as I think it not only enables me to reflect further on this choice but also to help me to connect with others who may be working on these areas, or have knowledge and experience to share on them.
1) Has a critical understanding of a wide range of subject-specific pedagogical approaches, knows how to deploy these effectively, and builds this through engagement with a community of specialists. (2.1)
I want to be able to justify the decisions I am making in planning and teaching and feel like I have something to really back them up. I have that for some things now, but more often than not I think I'm just teaching how I was trained to, or the way I've got used to without enough reasons behind it other than 'it seems to work ok'.
2) Has up-to-date knowledge of theories and research from the field of cognitive science and understands how these can be used to inform practice in education. (3.4)
Something I've heard a lot about and I think could have a lot of benefits for language learning if used in the right way. I need to read a lot more about it and see what I can start to do based on the findings.
3) Understands how to design, implement and evaluate a range of assessment types (4).
I want to have a range of assessment methods available to me and to know what to use and when. I'd like to be more consistent in my assessment methods and be able to use them for targeted intervention. This is an area that I think there is probably a lot to learn in.
I am going to do these things hopefully via reading (book suggestions welcome), attending relevant events and interacting with the relevant networks online and in person. I'll test them out and hopefully survey students and ask colleagues to look at resources/observe parts of lessons to see what they think.
I'll be getting started as soon as I can so any pointers in the right direction would be greatly appreciated.
Today was the launch event for the Chartered Teacher programme. It was a great day, other than the rain that drenched my whilst my phone insisted I had arrived at my destination - UCL Academy was nowhere to be seen. We were greeted as we arrived by Dame Alison Peacock, a small touch, but appreciated on a miserable Saturday morning.
The day started with an inspiring introduction by Dame Alison which included hearing about her personal experience and her hopes for the programme and the College more generally. Then Laura McInnerney talked about ‘How to handle the beests and the birds’, having heard Laura before I was looking forward to what she had to say. The analogy she used to describe immediate threats as wildebeests and issues on the horizon as birds made sense and got me thinking about my knowledge of education policies and trends and how I need to become more knowledgable about what is going on.
After this there was a carousel of sessions. I started with Sarah Harrison talking about the CTeach and what we should expect over the coming 14 months. I was impressed at the amount of preparation and research that has clearly gone into the design of the programme and the new ideas it brings with it. She was keen to emphasise that we are the pilot cohort and are key to helping shape how the programme will work in the future. Whilst I won’t talk too much here about how we are going to be assessed I’ll give a rough idea of what I know. There are a couple of assessment days later in the year which include things like simulated tasks (think roleplay but not?) and a short written exam. There are also reflective journals, an impact portfolio and a research project. Whilst it will certainly be hard work, it does seem to have been set up to work alongside our normal teaching and to help that as opposed to adding totally unrelated work. It also seems that there is a lot of scope to fit the focus of the programme to what we individually want/need which is great.
We also had sessions by Ben Ward and Stuart Kine about what makes good professional development and how to self evaluate. These two sessions were both really interesting, gave me lots to look at and really made me think about what it is I need to work on in terms of the professional principles that guide the whole CTeach programme.
Finally we got to meet our mentors and spent a good amount of time just chatting and getting to know them, discussing the day, next steps and our hopes for the programme.
I’ve left feeling much more confident about what is to come and excited to really get started. I know it’s going to be tough, but I’m convinced it’ll be worth it.
I had a minor flap this morning when I realised that for all I know there could be a year 9 assembly tomorrow, my first one, and I can't find the rota... So I've prepared an assembly which I'm now looking forward to when the time comes. The assembly is on JOMO - the Joy of Missing Out and was inspired by this article on the TES back in November.
In the powerpoint, attached below, I've spoken about what FOMO is, how social media makes it worse, and what JOMO is. I'll emphasise to the students that adults can be just as bad for this, and to prove that I'm sharing my plans for JOMO with them. I'm encouraging them to share theirs with me too. It's all on the slides more or less, but obviously it'll be backed up by what I say.
I'd love to know if anyone is doing anything similar, and feel free to use mine.
Unfortunately I'm struggling to get the ppt to upload. I can share the pdf but that seems the best I can do for now...
I wrote my Teacher5aday pledge the other day, but I haven’t set out anything specific that I want to focus on professionally this year as of yet. I think this will be a useful exercise and posting it serves as a way of holding myself accountable for the resolutions in a way.
1) Focus on my subject-specific pedagogy.
I’m going to focus some of my reading on MFL specific pedagogy. Attending the Chartered College of Teaching Languages Network event made me realise again just how important this is. I don’t think this is something I’ve really given myself the time and space to focus on until now.
2) Try our new ideas, stick to them and properly reflect on them. I have a tendency to want to try new things but not implement them effectively and they end up passing me by. I need to focus on one thing at a time, give it a really good shot and then if it goes well, integrate it into what I do and don’t let it disappear.
3) Get to grips with my new role and how to manage my time. I have been pleased with the balance of hours I’m spending at work and what I am willing to do at home and I’m hoping my new role won’t completely throw that out the window. I’ll have to work hard to do this now that I am both Learning Manager for year 9 but also Second in MFL (Curric lead for Spanish). My HT and DHT must believe I can do this but I need to prove it to myself!
4) Use the Chartered Teacher programme to help me achieve the above, and more. I want to make sure I use the CTeach as a tool, not extra work. It seems like it will from the look of the assessment but I need to make sure this happens.
When Martyn tweeted me to review last year's teacher5aday pledge my instant reaction was that I didn't want to look at it, knowing how badly I had followed the pledge!
So here is the quickest review before I move on to what I will do better this year:
#connect - visit the staff room more often... I've been going every Friday breaktime and talking to more people around the school in other ways, I haven't quite lived up to the pledge but it's not too bad.
#notice - The positives. I think I've done this fairly well, although I could've shared these more.
#exercise - This is the one I've been avoiding... I have been going swimming, although still not as regularly as I'd like. Never did start going to the park run, maybe when it's warmer?
#volunteer - I got an email just the other day to say that a year later I am still waiting to be matched up as a phone befriender for Age UK. Maybe I should've found something else to do when that clearly wasn't happening?
#learn - ha! Italian I said.... didn't happen, not even slightly. A few minutes on Duolingo maybe?
For 2018 I am going to learn from the past and try and make my pledges achievable, so without further ado...
#connect - I am promising myself to keep in touch with my friends better than I have been. I'm very lucky to have a group of friends from secondary school and one uni friend that it's very easy to catch up with, even with no contact in ages - but it shouldn't be this way. I'm going to make an effort to keep in touch more often.
I am also going to try and connect more on Twitter. At the moment I feel like I sit on the outskirts watching what is going on and occasionally interacting with a few people, I want to change that.
#notice - I'm starting a Bullet Journal and will make sure I spend time every day noting down the positives, tracking my habits and reflecting on the day. This should encourage me to notice much more.
#exercise - I don't want to be too ambitious here. Lets start with swimming on Tuesdays and then maybe Park Run once it gets warmer?
#volunteer - After last year's disaster I'm going to look out for another opportunity, although I don't know what just yet.
#learn - I'm on the pilot for the Chartered Teacher programme so I think the amount of reading and reflection for that will lead to a fair amount of learning.
Here's to a more successful 2018 #teacher5aday than the 2017!
This year I have decided to take on yet another challenge, this time in the form of the Chartered Teacher (CTeach) Pilot. I've just been writing my first Reflective Journal entry for my mentor to read before the January launch event and I thought this was as good a time as any to write about why I've decided to join the programme.
When I first joined the Chartered College of Teaching in January 2017 I was hoping to join a group of like minded people, wanting to engage in research and work together to change the teaching profession for the better, to be a voice outside of the unions. I even signed up to be an advocate for the College, promoting it to my colleagues, something I need to try harder at in 2018. I've enjoyed receiving the journal to read and the Languages Network event I attended a few days ago. I'm hoping that in 2018 these opportunities are going to grow and I'll really feel part of something, which at the moment is where I am unsure.
I joined the CTeach pilot for a number of reasons. Firstly because I want to help to develop what I have talked about above. I don't feel like I can complain about not feeling part of something if I haven't tried to help improve it, I hope the CTeach will help me do this. Secondly, I want to develop myself further. I enjoy reading edu-books and joining in on Twitter, but I feel at the moment I don't have much of a direction for it. I am hoping that CTeach will give me the opportunities to carry on doing this, but purposefully and with a positive outcome and changes in my practice. Thirdly, I really want to share my reading more with my colleagues and at the moment I don't feel like I have a platform for doing that. I am hoping that now I am on the CTeach Pilot I might have a stronger voice for sharing these things with colleagues and have more of a chance of them trying them out too.
I'm looking forward to getting started in the new year and seeing what opportunities it will bring for me.
Last week Simon Jenkins wrote an article which I probably don’t even need to link to, it has prompted a huge response, both from those who teach languages and those who don’t. In his article Mr Jenkins makes a number of points as to why he believes that learning languages in school is a pointless task. The comments on the article go some way to showing how people felt about what he said, but I wanted to put a response together to combat this rather disturbing suggestion.
I’m not going to deny that there is some fact in the article. Yes, on a practical day-to-day level there is no pressing urgency for people that speak English to be fluent in any other language. You can easily get by without it on holiday in major tourist destinations, and international businesses will have English speakers. Even the EU is likely to keep English as one of the key languages of communication as it is spoken by so many people. However, what I reject is that this therefore makes learning languages pointless.
Last week I read this blog by @TLPMsF about feedback, which also linked to this blog by @MrThorntonTeach. This post by @jo_facer talking about the way they give feedback at Michaela is also mentioned. What I am about to talk about comes from these blogs, I can't take any credit, other than making a very similar sheet and presentation to those mentioned.
This year I intend to take a different approach to marking and feedback.