Miss M. Piare
I delivered our first Teaching and Learning breakfast morning for our school year. A group of us here in Naas Community College have been sent on an Instructional leadership Programme which is a 4 part conference geared towards giving teachers new strategies, tactics and lesson design approaches within their classrooms. I started the course back in March 2017 and I am due to complete my last session next week in October. Barrie Bennet is the Canadian maestro in the conferences and he delivers educational practices through means of his own activities, knowledge and experiences. Our T+L Breakfast mornings are all about sharing what we learn from these conferences and bringing them back to all of our teachers here at NCC. T+L mornings are held five times a year before school and it encourages teachers to come and enjoy an interactive lesson and learn new practices of those who have been on the IL courses. Sharing Ideas through each other as peers is a powerful approach in education. We design hundreds of lessons during the year, we deal with the same students, we have the same routine, we as teachers speak the same language. So why not share the little bits we know, learn and value? These T+L mornings give us the opportunity to share an example of best practice in the classroom and we learn a lot more from each other when its delivered in a practical sense. I look forward to the rest of the T+L mornings to come during the year to continue sharing ideas and practices in the classroom with my peers.
Miss M. Piare
Instructional Leadership (IL) has become an integral part of the culture of Naas Community College in just three, short years. It is a prominent part of the teaching and learning in our school, and as such, there is a lot invested in this area in terms of time, effort and finance.
Ensuring engagement in IL on a whole school level requires an abundance of trust.
Our principal, Ciarán Keegan, and our deputy principal, Sarah Buckley, are both graduates of the IL Programme. They have invested a lot of their time, and the school budget to ensure that staff are trained in IL, and in turn, that IL becomes ingrained in our culture. So far, nine of our staff have been involved in the IL Programme.
Trust is evident again, in our management trusting those who are participating in the IL Programme to share their new knowledge and methodologies with the whole staff. This is carried out in our school through a Teaching and Learning club. We meet once a month before school to demonstrate our strategy of the month, be it Teams Games Tournaments, Graffiti, Ghost Walks, etc, and to reflect on the previous month’s strategy.
However, we find that explaining a tactic in T&L club is only one step towards sharing our knowledge, and it has proved much more effective to observe teachers using such tactics in class. For this reason, management at Nass CC have allocated two Croke park hours to allow teachers to get involved in peer collaboration and observation, therefore, encouraging the spread of IL strategies and tactics.
For this to work, we have wooden traffic lights outside each classroom, which can be switched from green, to orange, to red, to indicate the teacher’s availability for observation.
The traffic lights are a permanent feature of all classrooms, and indicate as follows:
Green: You are welcome to observe this lesson.
Orange: You are welcome to observe, but I am trying something new.
Red: Please do not observe this lesson. (During class tests, etc.)
We also have a green light for each day of the week in the staffroom, where teachers can write the time of the lesson they would like invite others to observe. The IL team use this space to invite others to see them use the strategy of the month, also.
Once again, the importance of trust is evident in peer collaboration. For this to work, and for staff to truly learn from each other, we must trust that out colleagues are observing to learn, and to improve. We have a ‘no criticism’ policy to ensure that teachers do not feel they are being assessed. We hope that once trust is firmly established, that teachers will become comfortable in asking for, and offering each other advice.
Randomisers increase accountability in the classroom and are methods of choosing student names at random in order for them to answer questions or give feedback. Examples include:
Accountability in the classroom occurs where students actively take responsibility for their learning and take ownership of their work and their contribution in the lesson. Ways to encourage accountability include the use of:
A tactic is an action employed by a teacher and used by students to enrich or strengthen the learning process. Examples include:
As the academic year draws to a close the TL 21 Team would like to take the opportunity to thank all members of staff for their involvement, continued support and hard work this year. It was the tireless efforts from teachers which enabled the continued success of the TL 21 Programme and the utilisation of Instructional Leadership tactics and strategies in the school.
Below is an array of some of the amazing and innovative teaching practices that have occurred this year in Naas Community College.
Well done to all of our students and teachers!
This month our school focused on using mind-maps effectively.
A mind map is a graphical way to represent ideas and concepts. It is a very simple yet effective tool in helping students organise, generate, comprehend and recall information. Students find creating mind-maps an enjoyable and fun experience whilst also allowing them to structure their thoughts and ideas in a colourful and engaging way.
Below are some pictures of our very talented students making permanent TL21 Traffic Lights which will be displayed outside all classrooms. These traffic lights will indicate whether the class is available to be observed by other teachers.
These permanent traffic lights demonstrate the importance and value that we place on peer collaboration here at Naas Community College and of our commitment to challenge and support our teachers in using the most effective teaching methodologies available.
A massive thank you to Mr. Ryan who designed the traffic lights and guided the students making them.
This month our focal point was on the utilisation of Teams Games Tournaments.
Teams-Games-Tournament is one of the team learning strategies designed by Robert Slavin for review and mastery learning of material. Slavin has found that TGT increased basic skills, students’ achievement, positive interactions between students, acceptance of mainstreamed classmates and self-esteem.
Team Games Touraments allow students to revise in an entertaining, safe and competitive manner.
Some very exciting developments this month with our Instructional Leadership practices in the school. This month saw the establishment of the Teaching and Learning Club, whereby teachers get to meet and discuss Instructional Leadership strategies and allows for the exchange of ideas and practices.
Also for the month of February the strategy that we focused on was Graffiti Boards. This approach gives all students the opportunity to give their views in a safe and fun environment but also enables them to view and engage with their fellow students' work.