Sunday, 5 May 2013
Classroom based teacher development
This is a summary of a webinar I attended recently. It was presented by the wonderful Willy Cardoso (@willycard on Twitter). You can read more on Willy’s blog: authenticteaching.wordpress.com.
So, how can we develop as teachers whilst we are actually doing our jobs?
1. Video recorder
Ø Watch yourself teaching.
Ø Record your lesson, or ask someone else to.
Ø Give students the camera to record the lesson for you. Get them to pass the camera around.
Ø Record activities – group work and pair work, for example.
Ø Develop a culture of having a camera in the classroom.
Ø Watch the videos back with the students and talk about what’s happening.
2. Audio recorder
Ø Have a mini recorder in your pocket to record secretly.
Ø Listen to yourself later. Yes, your voice is horrible – get over it!!
Ø Peer observations – observe your peers and encourage them to observe you.
Ø Describe, don’t evaluate.
Ø Discuss later and ask/explain why things were done.
Ø Could use these occasions to count things, e.g. number of corrections per student.
1. Give them an observation task
Ø Use questionnaires or set a specific question, e.g. How many times did the teacher correct me in this lesson?
Ø Data can be used for learners’ reflection and development as well as the teachers’. For example, ‘Was there little correction because I didn’t speak very much?’ ‘Am I too good for this class?’
Ø From the teacher’s point of view, ‘Why did I correct this student more than the others?’ ‘Why does this student think I corrected him only three times when I know I did it six times?’ ‘Should I be more explicit with my error correction?’
2. Discuss pedagogy
Ø Everyone thinks they know how to teach!
Ø Encourage learners to discuss how they’ve learned something other than English.
Ø Find out what students think about teaching and learning and use the information to help with your own development.
Validity of Bottom-Up Knowledge
Documentation is very important. Share the knowledge and make it available.
Ø You should include – photos, lesson plans, student testimonials, blog articles, videos of your teaching, certificates of attendance, etc.
Ø A blog can be your best business card!
Ø It doesn’t really matter whether it’s good or not, but it advertises the fact that you are a developing teacher.
Ø You can use your blog to reflect on your lessons.
Ø A good blog can also show what kind of knowledge you have.
Ø Blogs bring teaching down to the chalk face – they reflect what is really happening in the classroom and contribute to the body of knowledge of our profession.
Ø Start small – within your own institution or even just for yourself or a few colleagues.
Ø Share things you find out.
Ø Try to develop yourself by creating materials that can be useful for others.
Critical Teacher Development
Ø What is behind what we do?
Ø What principles and beliefs underlie the metaphors we use to talk about teaching and learning?
Ø Localise the lesson in its social and political context.
3. Be self-critical
Ø Beware of the Apprenticeship of Observation
Ø Our training and development as teachers began with the very first lesson we ever had as a learner.
Ø Be critical of ourselves – the technology we use, the jargon, etc.