Principals, Tracey Simeon and Lee Whitelaw, talk about how they share teacher practice between the schools in their cluster and what their learning focuses on.
Tracey: Every term the teachers come together with a PLG and we learn something based on research. Lately it has been looking at the practices of a teacher so that they can promote accelerated learning with our students.
Lee: A huge part of the collaboration is the toolkits and they are held in different schools. Each school has different turns of hosting the toolkits. All the teachers come to those and if it’s a digital toolkit, normally people opt into the need that they have. The last toolkit, because it was very based on writing and we wanted every single teacher to see every single presentation, we had teachers and they got up and actually said to them, you have got seven weeks to fix up this writing, what are you going to do about it? Everybody sat up and there’s been amazing feedback because it was real stuff that people were presenting that teachers could take back to their classrooms and hopefully make a difference. We’ve even had toolkits in year groups, like junior teachers sharing, senior teachers, college teachers, so it’s really very, very needs-based and based on, as well as writing in the last one, about acceleration, front loading. People were interested in how we accelerate children, in a different way, not a digital way, so even though it’s a digital Chromebook Manaiakalani outreach cluster, it’s gone deeper than that, it’s about changing pedagogy and using successful practice and, you know, people have got evidence to show that it’s worked.
Tracey: The knowledge of the teacher has shifted and when you understand your subject, you’re able to give more, and whereas if you don’t know how to teach or what are the components of certain elements of writing then there is no way you’re going to transfer that knowledge to the student.
Lee: The presentations from the toolkits are then loaded onto the Kaikohekohe Education Trust website. There’s also a Google Plus community, which people share on as well and that’s true collaboration then. People sharing their practice and sharing what works. By videoing and presenting that, and putting it up on the website, people can rewind their learning like we’re doing in classes, you know, the learning is all visible and not only rewindable learning for children, but rewindable learning for teachers which is just awesome.