The Plastic Brain

APST “Illustrating Practice” Workshop 3

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Review and Resources

The Workshop began by review some of the successful outcomes from the previous workshop. In particular, the break-down of the Focus Areas using fishbone diagrams was highlight. The diagrams from the session were scanned, and are available through the SkyDrive.

This provided a lead-in to the other files and resources available on the SkyDrive, including a guide to e-portfolios on Google Sites, and a template for annotating evidence.

Pair and Share

The first activity was a pair-and-share, looking at:

  1. How we went with our Lesson Observation (link to tool)
  2. What Annotated Evidence we had brought

It was a useful chance to talk to others about the benefits of lesson observations. My partner and I agreed that it would be useful for schools to have policies and maybe even defined programs to support systematic lesson observation.

Observations

To follow on from the Lesson Observation, we watched DECD Webisode (featuring Evan Polymeneas). Then, we discussed how evidence in the Webisode matched Focus Areas in Standards 3, 4, and 5.

Next, we looked at the benefits and outcomes of our own observations. What Standard did you focus on?

In my observation, we did not explicitly define a standard on which to focus. However, Standard 3 (Plan for and implement effective teaching and learning) became the focus of the lesson.

During our table discussions, we raised the following points:

  1. Some Standards can be assessed by observation (eg 1-5) other cannot (eg 6-7). Within those Standards, some Focus Areas are also easier to observe, and is very unlikely that any observation can address all Focus Areas within a Standard.
  2. It is of value to observe lessons outside of your teaching area(s). Nonetheless, one member of our table (a Maths and Science teacher) had observed an Art lesson and found that they were almost speaking different languages. They needed to do a briefing before the lesson, in order to unpack the learning intentions, so that the observations were more meaningful.
  3. In some small (country) schools, there simply are not opportunities to have a program of lesson observations.

Building your Annotated Evidence

The final part of the workshop looked at how to put together your evidence. Once again, the SkyDrive is populated with resources.

The main formats for evidence sets would be:

  1. A traditional (paper) portfolio. I would not favour this, but I did see some about, and can really see how they could make it simple to collect evidence.
  2. A file or folder with electronic evidence. This is what I have started doing. I have a powerpoint file, with each slide having an evidence artefact and annotations. However, I am beginning to see the limitations of this, and am moving to…
  3. An e-portfolio. This allow easy hyperlinking and sharing, as well as embedding of rich evidence types (audio, video). See a previous post on e-portfolios. The SkyDrive has a walk-through of making a Google Sites e-portfolio. I am currently leaning towards this platform (WordPress) as the host for my e-portfolio. I will generate posts for each artefact, which can be tagged with the relevant Focus Areas.

Summary

The Certification process looks like it will be long and arduous – and all of the final details are still not confirmed. However, it does look like a very worthwhile process. Already, I have learned so much about myself, and what it means to be a highly accomplished teacher. Reflecting on your own practice and planning your professional development is never wasted time.

Whether there will be “bonus payments” in South Australia appears unlikely at this stage. Nonetheless, being accredited as a Highly Accomplished or Lead Teacher will certainly have career implications. Job and person specifications are already starting to use the language of the Standards and Career Levels.

[Link to Workshop 1, Workshop 2]

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Author: Rogan Tinsley

Biology, science and maths teacher with a PhD in Neuroscience and passion for education.

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