Making It Work: Studying Your School Community--- What Do We Believe! Schools may face many barriers, but for change to happen, professional learning communities need to have the opportunity to collaborate, plan, and learn together. In order for the change process to be effective, learning communities must shift from the comforts of teaching in isolation to a culture of collaboration. Spending time focusing on student needs and learning from each other is imperative. According to Maag (2009), student behavior and learning can improve when a paradigm shift happens, moving teachers away from working in isolation to working together.
Principle one states that students come to the classroom with preconceptions about how the world works. If their initial understanding is not engaged, they may fail to grasp the new concepts and information that are taught, or they may learn them for purposes of a test but revert to their preconceptions outside the classroom. To meet the implications for teachers according to this principle, educators must draw out and work with the preexisting understandings that their students bring with them. On the one hand, accurate prior knowledge provides a needed scaffold on which to build new ideas and understandings. On the other hand, what students think they know can be more of a barrier to learning than the students’ lack of knowledge.
; (4) analysis of data: What are the important considerations? ; (5) testing possible solutions: What will happen if this action is followed? ; and (6) conclusion: What action is most promising? The problem-solving method of teaching incorporates problem-solving activities, but places the responsibility for learning on the student. It requires teachers to move from the traditional instructional model to one that engages teachers and students as partners in learning, with the teacher functioning in the role of facilitator or coach rather than leader or all-knowing authority.
Action research is a key element of teaching. Educators are continuously asking themselves how to improve their teaching and how certain factors influence student achievement. Action research allows teachers to take their everyday data collection and turn it into a tool to better their classrooms. When educators set out to answer questions influencing their student’s achievements, they can better understand their learning. Action research is not just for the instructor.
Teachers must be dedicated to curriculum planning and instructional decision-making, and encourage students to be responsible for their learning and take an active role in the learning process. Individualized instruction is not just a philosophy, but rather is comprised of a specific plan for meeting every student’s educational needs. Individualized instruction begins with a system to diagnose student strengths and weaknesses. Teachers use this pre-assessment to define goals for the student and understand their academic interests. The next step is to determine the best possible arrangement to group students for instruction, whether it is by needs, interests, or developmental levels.
The method of teaching depends on the nature of the subject, and the tact of the teacher. This essay is aimed at assessing teaching methods and strategies used in schools and discuss innovations that should take place to make them more effective and learner centred. Brandes and Ginnis (1996:167) acknowledge that the movement from established well-known ground to explore new teaching strategies is a tough challenge to teachers. In a classroom, a teaching strategy is a generalized plan for a lesson which includes structure, instructional objectives and an outline of planned tactics, necessary to implement the strategies. Reece and Walker (2002) describe a teaching strategy as a combination of student activities supported by the use of appropriate resources to provide particular learning resources.
Administrators and teachers need to communicate to determine the needs of a PLC and discuss which areas of the curriculum need to be re-addressed in order for the PLC to work (Reynolds, 2008). The second block is collective sharing. It allows colleagues to share information to build the foundation of a PLC. As it has been said previously, administrators and teachers need to have an open discussion about the strengths and weaknesses of the current curriculum to build a PLC. Without this important part of PLC construction, weaknesses in school curriculums may fail to be addressed (Reynolds,
Action research is a research process that is reflective in nature and typically conducted in school settings. These types of research enables professionals in school settings to collaborate on the components of a study, and allows them to search for solutions to the common everyday challenges that educators experience in schools (Ferrance, 2000). Educators can use the process of reflection through action research to better understand their work and build professional knowledge as they strive for continuous improvement (Brown, 2002). Although action research has received some attention from school review boards regarding ethical concerns associated with policies and procedures when conducting these studies, these types of research allow teachers, school specialists and administrators to explore ways to enhance or improve academic instruction in an effort to improve student achievement (Nolen & Putten, 2007). As appose to looking at theories, action research enables the school professionals to address the areas of concerns that are important to them, and allow them to see how their influence can bring about changes (Ferrance, 2000).
If student learning did not happen via one instructional method, the teacher must make the necessary accommodations to reteach the concept or skill. Next, it is not only used by teachers for feedback on instruction, but formative assessment is also used for providing timely, descriptive feedback to students and extends to allow for student self-assessment (Chappuis, J., Stiggins, Chappuis, S., & Arter, 2012; Popham, 2008). Formative assessment provides opportunity to provide specific feedback to students on where they are currently in their learning, and where they should be headed.
The role of the teacher in TBLT can be examined in light of Willis’ (1996) framework for task-based teaching and learning. During each phase of the task framework, the teacher also has a particular role to play, which keeps changing based on the different goals of each phase. During the pre-task stage, a teacher introduce the task and primes the learners. At this stage, he/she can also provide important background information to scaffold the students’ learning. New vocabulary or phrases may be introduced, but the main purpose of the pre-task stage is to prepare the students and draw their attention to the task and subject at hand (Willis, 1996).