CHOICE AT A STAFF MEETING – Teacher Feedback

On Monday 12 August forty three (43) @materdeiwagga teachers participated in a Professional Learning Meeting where they were provided with an extensive amount of choice by “setting their own agenda”. That “agenda” can be found at http://bit.ly/1acSj1t

The focus of the meeting was on “Non-Commissioned Work” such as research or project work. There was a clear understanding that the time afforded to the “open agenda” meeting was not meant for “commissioned work” of marking, programming, preparation and/or summative assessment. At the end of the meeting, 43 teachers participated in a survey. That survey can be found at  http://bit.ly/1acSj1t

The findings from the survey included…..

Teachers were asked to respond to the statement, “I appreciated the opportunity to make choices about my professional learning.” On a scale of 1 to 5, 1 being “not at all” to 5 being “totally”,

35 teachers responded “5”

5 teachers responded “4”

3 teachers responded “3”

Reflection: Teachers overwhelmingly appreciated the opportunity to make choices about their professional learning.

Teachers were asked to nominate the focus of their work.

·       16 teachers nominated “research”. This may not be the academic understanding of research but more like teachers doing their own research of digital Apps, digital programs or web 2.0 tools that may support student learning. However, teachers were supplied with scholarly articles and I noticed a few teachers accessing those articles. Also, two teachers mentioned they explored scholarly articles about their own area of interest.

·         16 teachers nominated “A new project for outside of my classroom work”. Examples of this included new bus bay ‘operations’, a suggestion for a new Visual Arts display area and a weekly ‘visiting artist’ to work with students after school. I have had follow up conversations with some teachers and some of these ideas will be explored for possible implementation at a later date.

·         11 teachers nominated “a new project for one/some of my classes”.

There was a need to ask teachers to nominate how much ‘Non-Commissioned Work’ they actually did for the 75 minutes of ‘meeting time’. According to the responses:

·         30 teachers focused on ‘Non-Commissioned Work’ for 100% of ‘meeting time’.

·         8 teachers focused on ‘Non-Commissioned Work’ for 75% of ‘meeting time’.

·         5 teachers focused on ‘Non-Commissioned Work’ for 50% of ‘meeting time’.

Teachers were given the choice to work on their own, in pairs or in groups.

·         22 worked on their own

·         12 worked “with a mix of people within my KLA and outside my KLA”

·         5 worked “with people all outside my KLA”

·         3 worked “with people all within my KLA”.

·         1 ‘no response’

Teachers were asked, “Would you like to see this format continue for Professional Learning Meetings?” 39 of the 43 respondents replied “Yes”. The 4 other responses indicated, “a balance of workshops”, “input from others”, “occasionally” and “sometimes”.

Teachers were asked, “What did you like about the PL Meeting today?” The responses were overwhelmingly positive with the ‘opportunity to choose’ and ‘time to play’ being two themes which came through strongly. Some responses were as follows….

–          Designated time to pursue opportunities I don’t normally have time to explore.

–          I had a chance to ‘play’ with some ideas that others had used.

–          Tossed around ideas and acted on the research behind the idea.

–          Having regular days like this will allow us to really build knowledge/resources for new projects.

–          Discussing and coming up with ideas with a staff member I don’t usually work closely with. I was pleasantly surprised at the creative ideas that resulted.

–          The chance to actually think and learn about my job, not just doing it. As teachers it is vitally important that we are also learners.

–          The time to investigate an idea which has been playing on my mind. A start has been made and so further investigation will be more likely to follow.

–          The opportunity to explore apps, websites, tools and blogs that we never get the ‘free time’ to review in any one school day. A great opportunity – thank you!

–          Can we do this again please!

Teachers were asked “As a result of the PL Meeting today, what suggestions do have?” There were the “more please” and “let’s do it again” responses. Furthermore, there was was a theme of wanting to share and hear more from others about what they were doing. Some responses were as follows….

–          Sharing the ideas that groups may be presenting with others.

–          If this was to continue, maybe also have an opportunity to discuss the directions individual research has taken us to find other like-minded people.

–          Perhaps a ‘report back’ to the group next staff meeting. Offer the opportunity for teachers to share the result of their time today with the rest of the staff.

–          Always have options at professional learning meetings/choice

–          It would be great to have another opportunity to research. It would also be good to hear from others about what was useful in their research.

–          Group or pair workers should have a nominated person to keep the pair or group on track. While I was researching as an individual I heard some discussions go way off track and turn into a bit of social chit chat.

What are your thoughts when you read the above?

Where do we go next?

Greg.

7 thoughts on “CHOICE AT A STAFF MEETING – Teacher Feedback

  1. Hi Greg. Great post and I love the idea of staff choice in their own learning.
    I also like the idea of focussing on “non-commissioned work” rather than just another opportunity to catch up on paperwork. That’s not really professional learning when we do programming or other tasks that we know how to do, just wish we had more time to do it. The model you’ve suggested actually engaged teachers in a learning process where they walk away knowing or being able to do more than they did before. I’m trying to think of a way to apply this same principle of “play” or exploring rather than mandated learning in the area of elearning/ICT/technology. Teachers always seem to say that time to play or tinker with new technologies is really what they need. But they need it (1) in the presence of peers and (2) in the presence of people who can act as mentors or coaches.
    Though teachers can always have more time for marking and other admin, it’s clear that your staff appreciated the time to explore real professional learning and being treated like adults who can direct themselves. I’m sure that it will increase momentum for further PL of this type!
    Happy learning,
    Matt

  2. Greg
    It is good to see that you have the qualitative data to show the day was worthwhile. It would be interesting to see what teacher think about the day at the end of Term.

    The things that stood out for me were:
    1. teachers want and appreciate TIME to think and consider their profession
    2. play is good
    3. if you are going to do open non-commissioned work you need to build in feedback/sharing of the learning (to their peers)

    Well done!
    Phillip

  3. Hi Greg
    I think this is a really great response to the plethora of emerging research on building teacher capacity. I believe that you definitely provided an enough scaffolding for those that would require it and enough diversity for choices to satisfy the majority of staff.

    I think it is a great first step towards teachers autonomously and collaboratively taking on responsibility for the identification and development of their continued growth both in their professional practice and learning.
    I also think it was an excellent strategy to begin to collect feedback data in a very simple way which immediately models to the staff a feedback structure they could also use tin their own classroom practice.

    I guess, for me, the next steps would be identifying and aligning how their choices forward their own goal setting using the AITSL framework.

    Excellent work

    Natalie
    p.s. I have forwarded this on to my own Leadership team.

  4. HI Greg – I love that you had a great balance of choice, input (research articles available), guided reflection. As I was reading, my thought was that it would be grrat to have a follow-up where staff could start to share their learning/ideas as this is what helps build social and individual capacity – but you were already ahead of me, and your staff articulated the same! How did you pitch the idea to staff to begin with? Did your leadership team or middle leaders suggest the idea, or did you pitch to whole /selected staff? It seems like you had great buy-in – just keen to know how you got there. Thanks for inviting me to read/share. Looking forward to reading another post on the staff sharing with each other!

  5. Hi Greg,

    Looks like your teachers responded really well to the choice. The shifting pedagogy at the moment is seeing us encourage teachers to give students choice to increase their motivation….so why not give it to teachers! Perhaps by leaders allowing this kind of flexibility we are allowing it to be an example of how we’d like teachers to work with their students as well? I like the way you broke it up into the three choices.

    We were fortunate enough (start of term 3 we have a whole week of PL) to have a whole day for our P-12 staff to spend on this. The out working of this time has been incredibly visible within classrooms throughout the term and across the College as a whole.
    We are trying to encourage our staff to see the benefit of twitter as a PLN so we set up a hashtag and expected that staff tweeted prior to the day about what they were working on as well as a tweet through the day and again at the end. Wish I could say it had a knock on effect with staff continuing on twitter, sadly, not yet though!
    It’s so great to hear of your work and encouraging to see that we are starting to value teacher PL. I’m keen to hear how you develop it further, as yet, ours has remained as the one off day but I’d like to see it move into a regular slot eg twice a term etc. I’ll keep an eye on your blog to learn how you progress with it.

    I love the catch phrase purpose + choice = motivation and I believe these types of PL really harness the power of this!

  6. Hi Greg,
    Looks like your teachers responded really well to the choice. The shifting pedagogy at the moment is seeing us encourage teachers to give students choice to increase their motivation….so why not give it to teachers! Perhaps by leaders allowing this kind of flexibility we are allowing it to be an example of how we’d like teachers to work with their students as well? I like the way you broke it up into the three choices.

    We were fortunate enough (start of term 3 we have a whole week of PL) to have a whole day for our P-12 staff to spend on this. The out working of this time has been incredibly visible within classrooms throughout the term and across the College as a whole.
    We are trying to encourage our staff to see the benefit of twitter as a PLN so we set up a hashtag and expected that staff tweeted prior to the day about what they were working on as well as a tweet through the day and again at the end. Wish I could say it had a knock on effect with staff continuing on twitter, sadly, not yet though!
    It’s so great to hear of your work and encouraging to see that we are starting to value teacher PL. I’m keen to hear how you develop it further, as yet, ours has remained as the one off day but I’d like to see it move into a regular slot eg twice a term etc. I’ll keep an eye on your blog to learn how you progress with it.

    I love the catch phrase purpose + choice = motivation and I believe these types of PL really harness the power of this!

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