by clicking the arrows at the side of the page, or by using the toolbar.
by clicking anywhere on the page.
by dragging the page around when zoomed in.
by clicking anywhere on the page when zoomed in.
web sites or send emails by clicking on hyperlinks.
Email this page to a friend
Search this issue
Index - jump to page or section
Archive - view past issues
Inside Teaching : August 2010
www.atra.edu.au | firstname.lastname@example.org PROFESSION 15 essential components of the framework. Four teachers have also trialled Differentiating Instruction, while four of the school’s leaders have completed Leading for Understanding, an action-research-based program We’ve augmented online Teaching for Understanding courses with face-to-face professional learning and one-on-one coaching. To model what’s expected in a Teaching for Understanding classroom, teachers have been involved in mini-conferences that have mirrored our developing understanding of Teaching for Understanding, over the past four years. In 2007, for example, teachers presented one element of a Teaching for Understanding unit; in 2008, teachers presented units that made a difference in the classroom to their colleagues; in 2009, we undertook a whole- school curriculum mapping of understanding goals; and this year we undertook a whole-school assessment. In addition, we published a professional reading magazine in 2009, which prompted a huge amount of discussion by teachers at a café session at the beginning of this year. The whole-school approach I’ve described here has been a signifcant investment in focused professional learning for the school. Measuring improvement Has it been worth it? Put otherwise, has there been any measurable impact on teaching practice or student learning? To fnd out, we participated in Harvard’s WIDE World International Case Study on Systemic Educational Improvement in 2008 and 2009, an action-research documentation and evaluation project undertaken by 19 schools, including Barker College on Sydney’s North Shore and AB Patterson College on Queensland’s Gold Coast. The goals of the research were: • to assess the impact of Teaching for Understanding on student engagement and understanding in our classrooms • to gauge the effcacy of the Harvard Online Professional Development model to provide the learning that we need to succeed in our vision, and • to engage with and learn from other Teaching for Understanding schools in terms of their approaches to implementation and progress. The International Case Study evaluation relied on focus group interviews with teachers, teacher and student surveys, teacher portfolios and feld observations. At Huntingtower, students in classes where lessons have been redesigned using Teaching for Understanding reported greater engagement, typically saying they understood the goals of the lesson, believed they could be successful and thought about the ideas they learned even after class, signifcantly more than students in classes where lessons had not been redesigned using Teaching for Understanding. In focus group interviews, our frst cohort of teachers said Teaching for Understanding allowed access to ‘cutting edge pedagogy’ based on rigorous research that was grounded in practice. Focus group interviews also revealed that professional learning online caused anxiety. Focus groups from both the frst and second cohort, however, indicated that this anxiety was effectively addressed by taking a team approach in WIDE World courses. Both cohorts reported that sharing was a vital aspect of successful professional learning, and that refective practice moved from the domain of the individual to the group. Teachers also reported the value of being connected to like- minded colleagues and colearners around the world. More broadly, focus group interviews also revealed that the school’s style of leadership has changed profoundly. Teachers say leadership has become more collaborative and that the leadership style is one in which teacher teams are expected to have autonomy, scaffolded through purposeful conversations with school leaders. A student impact questionnaire was completed by 170 students from Year 5 to Year 10 in classes