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The Power of Professional Learning: School Leaders and First Teachers Helen Timperley Professor of Education The University of Auckland.

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Presentation on theme: "The Power of Professional Learning: School Leaders and First Teachers Helen Timperley Professor of Education The University of Auckland."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Power of Professional Learning: School Leaders and First Teachers Helen Timperley Professor of Education The University of Auckland

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3 Auckland Wellington Christchurch

4 A Recent National Policy Discussion Document in New Zealand The vision Every student in every school has leaders and teachers who are actively engaged in professional learning and development that supports and challenges them to accelerate outcomes for students. - First Teachers can help to achieve this kind of vision

5 The Evidence Base

6 Professional Development Project in Literacy Over 300 primary schools in New Zealand Writing: Average gains 2.5 to 3.2 expected rate over two years Lowest 20% 5-6 times expected rate Reading: Average gains 1.5 to 1.9 expected rate over two years Lowest 20% 3 times expected rate. Sustained over the three year monitoring period

7 More Recently (2014) Anthony Bryk at the American Educational Research Association on Improvement Science Provides history of improvement failures over 20 years –Too much change expected –Tried to replicate good ideas from other settings –Quickly work out a solution to a general problem Identifies similar inquiry processes to demonstrate what works at scale

8 Moving from Professional Development to Professional Learning

9 What knowledge and skills do our students need? What knowledge and skills do we as teachers have and need? What has been the impact of our changed actions? Deepen professional knowledge and refine skills Engage students in new learning experiences Teacher inquiry and knowledge-building cycle to promote valued student outcomes

10 Some shifts in mindsets 1.External Internal –Participation learning (so must be based on learning theory) –Developing new practices solving challenging problems –Implementation trying things out, seeking feedback, trying again

11 Student learning in the past 11 Transmission

12 Some Things We Know About Learning Where to Next? How are we doing? Where are we going? Having clear goals, co- and self- regulating learning towards those goals is powerful

13 Developing Knowledge / skills Co-constructing meaning is more effective than transmission –Linking new ideas with existing ideas Unpack misconceptions together –Actively construct new ideas in holistic frameworks Students taking joint responsibility for their learning –Feedback and feedforward

14 Teacher learning in the past

15 Developing Knowledge / skills Co-constructing meaning is more effective than transmission –Linking new ideas with existing ideas Unpack misconceptions together –Actively construct new ideas in holistic frameworks Teachers taking joint responsibility for their learning –Feedback and feedforward

16 Teacher learning now

17 Some shifts in mindsets 2.Activities / implementation Systematic evidence-informed inquiry Assessment about student capability assessment provides information about teaching effectiveness

18 Information about student capability Information about effectiveness of teaching Assessment for professional inquiry Shifting the focus Information filed Students told their mark Information reported to parents Students told what they need to learn Teachers identify what needs to be taught again Teachers identify how well they taught something – what they need to learn Shifting the focus

19 How do your teachers think about student assessment results? Deciding on student capability and what students need to learn? OR Identifying how well they have taught something and what they as teachers need to learn?

20 Some shifts in mindsets 3. Professional development focuses on implicit theory of professionalism as routine expertise Professional learning based on an explicit theory of professionalism as adaptive expertise

21 Routine to Adaptive Expertise Routine Expertise Apply a core set of skills with increasing fluency and efficiency Own beliefs taken for granted and not open to scrutiny Based on notions of novice to experts – practice makes perfect Adaptive Expertise Flexibly retrieve, organise and apply professional knowledge Aware of own beliefs underpinning practice and when get in the way Recognise when old problems persist or new problems arise and seek expert knowledge

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23 Assessment from Different Perspectives Adaptive expertise Assessment and learning are integrated Assessment is about the effectiveness of teaching Investigating the impact of teaching is essential to improvement Inquiry cycle provides a framework for learning Routine expertise Assessment and learning are sequential Assessment is about how well students learn Investigating the impact of teaching undermines professionalism Inquiry cycle is a set of steps to endure

24 Example 1: An Australian High School (FT had expertise in written language) Principal and leadership team established that students were not doing well on national assessments, particularly in those subjects requiring a lot of writing With the assistance of the first teacher, they identified the problem as students not being able to write extended informational texts Teachers worked with the first teacher to mark and analyse classroom writing samples From this exercise, the first teacher suggested they focus on sentence structure, paragraphing and cohesion Teachers not teaching languages did not know what these terms meant

25 What knowledge and skills do our students need? What knowledge and skills do we as teachers have and need? What has been the impact of our changed actions? Deepen professional knowledge and refine skills Engage students in new learning experiences Teacher inquiry and knowledge-building cycle to promote valued student outcomes

26 Sentence structure The production of grammatically correct, structurally sound and meaningful sentences Paragraphing The segmenting of text into paragraphs that assists the reader to follow the line of argument Cohesion The linking of ideas across the text, achieved through the use of referring words, ellipsis, text connectives, substitutions and word associations The Areas of Focus

27 1 Correct sentences are mostly simple and/or compound sentences Meaning is sometimes clear 2 Most simple and compound sentences are correct AND some complex sentences are correct Meaning is predominantly clear 3 Most simple, compound and complex sentences are correct OR All simple, compound and complex sentences are correct but do not demonstrate variety Meaning is clear 4 Sentences are correct (allow for occasional error in more sophisticated structures). Demonstrates variety Meaning is clear and sentences enhance meaning 5 All sentences are correct (allow for occasional slip, e.g. a missing word) Writing contains controlled and well-developed sentences that express precise meaning and are consistently effective Sentence Structure Skill focus: The production of grammatically correct, structurally sound and meaningful sentences.

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29 Monitoring After one term, the teachers with the First Teacher’s assistance reassessed their own students Students were surveyed about the extent to which their teachers were teaching the targeted skills

30 Reading Comprehension in a Primary School: The Importance of Analysing Teaching Practice

31 What knowledge and skills do our students need? What knowledge and skills do we as teachers have and need? What has been the impact of our changed actions? Deepen professional knowledge and refine skills Engage students in new learning experiences Teacher inquiry and knowledge-building cycle to promote valued student outcomes

32 What features of these two examples are relevant to your context? Are there any implications for the work of the first teachers?

33 Getting Started: Gathering evidence about students’ learning and engagement Must be driven by CURIOUSITY about what is going on for student learners in your school Use a range of evidence – test scores, surveys, interviews, family perceptions –Ask students to interpret the data with you Put faces on the data –Means much more to teachers

34 What knowledge and skills do our students need? What knowledge and skills do we as teachers have and need? What has been the impact of our changed actions? Deepen professional knowledge and refine skills Engage students in new learning experiences Teacher inquiry and knowledge-building cycle to promote valued student outcomes The purpose is to provide a baseline for improvement and to find out what teachers need to learn to teach more effectively

35 What Does this Mean for Leaders You need: Good data management systems for quantitative data Ways to collect qualitative evidence Skills in analysis and collaborative interpretation of the evidence with teachers – this is what really counts! Skills to make collaborative decisions about what evidence will be used for baseline to monitor improvement

36 What knowledge and skills do our students need? What knowledge and skills do we as teachers have and need? What has been the impact of our changed actions? Deepen professional knowledge and refine skills Engage students in new learning experiences Motivated by the teacher’s desire to know, not someone else’s desire to tell Purpose –relate new learning to prior knowledge This is why you need baseline evidence

37 Teachers make the difference But they cannot do it alone, nor can First Teachers

38 Some potential issues impacting on the work of First Teachers 1.Ambiguous roles and changed relationships between first teachers and others 2.Too much going on and not enough time to focus on learning to improve 3.Work focused on individual teachers (remediation) rather than developing collective responsibility for professional and student learning through an inquiry process –Exception may be supporting newly qualified teachers

39 Ambiguous Roles and Changed Relationships First teachers cannot take over leadership roles of: –Defining their new role with their colleagues Including conveying to colleagues that their practice needs to change –Addressing all the teaching-related challenges in the school –Finding the time to work with colleagues when no formal time has been allocated

40 Too much going on: The International Research on Improvement More ≠ better Less = Improvement Learn in one area with a deep focus then transfer the learning to other areas

41 Student learning Teacher learning Start with learner- related challenges

42 Student learning Teacher learning Start with students in an area of focus then transfer learning: To other contexts – students, curricula

43 Student learning Teacher learning

44 Where to Next? How are we doing? Where are we going? Answers three questions Where are we going? Goal How are we going? Feedback Where to next? Feed-forward

45 A Leadership Task: Setting Goals for Students Goals are broad statements about what you want to achieve for students in your focus for inquiry They may be ‘vague’ but that is OK if supported by SMART targets They form the basis of your strategic and annual plans They are likely to be a focus over a number of years – not just one, as they represent major shifts you are seeking e.g., –To improve numbers of students gaining qualifications –To improve numbers of students reaching standards –To improve numbers of students reaching x in written language

46 Exercise 2:Baseline Data Very few (usually only one) – and student focused Directly linked to your strategic and annual plans Based on evidence of the current situation (baseline data) Everyone who influences the achievement of the goal is involved in setting it (including students) Most people feel these are worthwhile or the right goals Realistic but challenging Confidence that there will be support to achieve them They are a priority – other decisions made with reference to them There are ways of monitoring progress towards them Very few (usually only one) – and student focused Directly linked to your strategic and annual plans Based on evidence of the current situation (baseline data) Everyone who influences the achievement of the goal is involved in setting it (including students) Most people feel these are worthwhile or the right goals Realistic but challenging Confidence that there will be support to achieve them They are a priority – other decisions made with reference to them There are ways of monitoring progress towards them ©Auckland UniServices Ltd, 2013. Characteristics of Effective Goals in an Area of Inquiry

47 A Leadership Task: Identifying Targets for Students Targets are SMART - Specific, Measureable, Achievable, Realistic (but challenging), and Time- bound. They are very specific to the student challenge you have identified at the beginning of the inquiry process e.g. at a year level, in a subject, with a specific group of students They articulate the shift you want to get (usually annually) in reference to baseline evidence

48 Leadership Task: Identifying Baseline Evidence Baseline evidence gives a picture of the current situation in the area of inquiry This is a must – It justifies/describes the challenge you are trying to resolve It provides a base from which you measure progress – and monitor progress at least each term

49 Targets – relationship to baseline data 2014Target for Year 6 - 2015 Year 5 exceeding … 12%In 2014, 77% of Year 5 met or exceeded the... In 2015, we are aiming for 85% of Year 6 to meet or exceed. Year 5 achieving … 65% Year 5 below …23% After examining names.

50 Where to Next? How are we doing? Where are we going? Teachers also need learning goals and ways to monitor progress

51 Learning Goals for Teachers Where to Next? How are we doing? Where are we going? Students’ learning goals … My new understandings to achieve these goals … My new practice and which students I will try it out with … How I will monitor if this new practice is making a difference to those students ….

52 Changes in Organisational Practices For your collective improvement efforts to be successful in achieving goals for students and teachers and not fragmented across many different areas may mean: Systematically creating time for opportunities to learn in relation to your goals –Meeting times – every face-to-face should be an opportunity for professional learning –Where else can you create time?

53 Monitoring and Measurement “You cannot improve what you cannot measure” Tony Bryk (AERA, 2014) Short- term, long-term evidence for both process and outcomes

54 Monitoring To keep the goals and targets a priority, progress must be monitored several times a year (develop a timetable) The monitoring needs to include: –Evidence of student actions and evidence –Evidence of changes in teacher practice –Evidence of changes in organisational practices

55 Area of intended change and outcomes Baseline What did the data tell us about what was happening At half Term What changes would we expect to see and how will we know? After a Term What changes would we expect to see and how will we know? After 1.5 Terms What changes would we expect to see and how will we know? Student learning and engagement Changes in teaching practice Changes in organisational practice e.g. meetings

56 Leaders’ Role: Work with others to set goals and targets and identify how they will be monitored and develop a culture of collective responsibility to achieve them First Teachers’ role: Work with groups of teachers to facilitate a focused inquiry process to achieve the goals and targets for themselves and their students

57 Identify some possible implications for you as a leader and as a first teacher (you may disagree with the material I have presented)

58 Thank you for listening and participating - Helen


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