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  Professional Development

 

Trevor works as a consultant and Critical Friend with schools and organisations to provide professional support and development in  a number of aspects that include:

 

Inquiry Learning, Thinking, Questioning, Teacher Questioning Skills, Vision Development and Review, Belief Driven Practice, Curriculum Review and Implementation, Key Competencies, Principal and Deputy Principle Mentoring, Staff Observations and Appraisals, Principal Appraisals, Critical Friending

 

Inquiry Learning

A number of options or combination of options are available to schools including:

  • Examine some base theory of learning,

  • Compare a range of inquiry models,

  • Develop or revise a school based learning mode

  • Experience using a learning model at an adult level,
  • Assistance to implement or modify a chosen model,
  • Discuss practical school wide issues that relate to implementing inquiry Learning

  • Implement assessment of critical learning and thinking skills

Thinking

Because there is no learning without thinking the facilitation of thinking skills is a core part of the role of school and teacher. To do this well we need to have considered the following questions:

  • What is an effective thinker?

  • What attitudes does an effective thinker have?

  • What skills does an effective thinker need?

  • What is the reasoning process?

  • What is the relationship between critical, creative and caring thinking?

  • How do we assess thinking?

  • How do we effectively facilitate thinking?

Questioning 

Questioning: The driving force of classroom thinking for teacher and pupils.

 

Questioning is a tool that is central to thinking and learning. De Bono says that 'questioning is the engine-house of thinking' and Neil Postman says "questioning is our most important cognitive tool". We know that questioning is important but do we have classrooms that are questioning friendly?

during the professional development provided we will look at factors like:

  • What is an effective thinker?
  • What are the base skills taht empower us as effective questioners?
  • How can we effectivelyu make a positive impact on students' questioning abilities?
  • How can we measure or identify the effectiveness of our approach?
  • how can the quESTioning matrix be used as an effective tool in the classroom?
  • how do we disband the myth about comparative values of open and closed questions?
  • What are some effective startegies to create a question friendly classroom?
Teacher Questioning Skills

When it is used well, questioning is a powerful tool for teachers, however many teachers use questions poorly as they play a game with their pupils of ‘guess what is in the teacher’s head’. When teachers use questions as a tool to challenge, provoke, probe, and draw reflective reasoned responses from students they impact powerfully on thinking and learning. This section offers teachers strategies and frameworks to assist them in asking powerful questions.

Turn your teachers from beinf convergent questioners to being divergent questioners.

Vision development and review

There is much research that points to the empowering value of a focussed school vision that is corporately owned and is then used to drive school action and decisions. It is too easy for schools to fall into the situation where the school vision is just words on a piece of paper that has little impact on the daily life of a school. I can help with a process that :

  • renews/reviews the school vision
  • brings vision back to life so that it is corporately owned
  • implement a structure that allows the vision to drive the school

Schools who have gone through this process have found it brings increased understanding to staff, greater ownership and engagement with aspects like curriculum and assessment, it also helps schools to work much smarter in terms of their main goals.

Belief driven Practice

Professor Nuthall says that for many teachers and schools there is a big gap between what they know and believe about effective learning/teaching and the actualities of daily practice.

This approach takes schools through a process of:

  • determining their beliefs about effective learning,

  • examine these beliefs in the light of current research and evidence

  • translating their beliefs into statements of expected practice

  • examining current practice in the light of the statements

  • celebrating the matches

  • identifying the forces that cause disparities

  • implement strategies to ensure that classroom and leadership practices  are belief driven

Curriculum Review

and Implementation

Support for schools in developing or reviewing their school based curriculum.

The goal is to implement a curriculum that;

  • Makes sense to and engages the teachers
  • Is simple to understand
  • Allows teachers plenty of scope to meet the needs, interests and talents of the students in their classroom
  • Meets the requirements of the National curriculum in a manageable way.
  • Enagages the students in learning.
  • Implements and develops the competencies

A school curriculum can be a pile of paper, or it can be a gateway to exciting changes that will impact dramatically on our students for their future.

Key Competencies

Each competency is a complex composition of skills, attitudes, values, and understandings. implementing the competenciew in a manner that meets the NZC requirements (Schools need to monitor the development of the competencies and the effectiveness of the programmes implemented to develop the competencies) is proving to be difficult for schools.

This is a refreshing approach that identifies a set of skills and attitudes from across the competencies, and targets the development of those skills and attitudes through each learning experience. It is a simple but effective approach that has tools for monitoring specific skills, a method of tracking the student skill development, and startegies for teachers to use in their classrooms.

Principal Mentoring

Deputy Principal Mentoring

In these busy and demanding roles people often need someone, from outside their own school and professional circle who:
  • they can have confidential professional discussions with
  • can challenge them professionally
  • support them where necessary
  • they can bounce ideas on
  • can help them set goals
  • support them in their own professional development

Trevor has the experience and background to get alongside school leaders and support them in their own personal professional development

Staff Observations and Appraisals

There are times when schools are serious about implementing change and challenging existing practice that it can be very useful to have an outside person to carry out classroom observations and personal appraisals. Negotiate the specific aspects to be examined, approve the observation sheets that will be used , and then have assistance to analyse the results and establish ongoing actions.

 

Principal Appraisals

Principals have complex roles that are combinations of leadership, management and supervision. The goal is to carry out rigorous professional appraisals that target the realistic merge of these three aspects and all the related issues in a manner that is constructive and looks towards professional improvement.

 

Critical Friending

 I am often asked to work with schools, or groups of schools, as a Critical Friend over a 2 or 3 year period to assist in implementing a number of the above aspects. As a Critical Friend come with 'cold eyes' and 'warm heart'.  The first part of the role provides critical eyes that will look at the designated aspects and pose challenges to the leadership team and the school staff. Alongside this comes a person who has experience teaching a wide range of class levels, and in school leadership. The other part of the role provides someone who comes alongside the school team to help them formulate their responses to the challenges provided. The goal will be to thoroughly embed the chosen aspects into the school, this means that we will address a wide range of applicable issues such as:

  • success criteria

  • curriculum modification

  • classroom delivery,

  • assessment

  • recording and reporting

  • digital portfolios

  • school review

  • professional development,

  • in-class support,

  • documentation,

  • designated friend support in ERO reviews

  • appointment processes

  • appraisal processes

  • job descriptions

  • strategic planning

  • library and resource management

Updated 7th June 2011