Advertisements

Archive for the ‘Teacher Training’ Category

Queensland’s Stupid Selection Process for New Teachers

June 5, 2017

 

Would you trust a University to pick a good teacher?

This would be the same Universities that have been badly training our young prospective teachers. The ones that have left them full of theoretical mumbo jumbo, but with no idea how to solve the practical problems that make the job so difficult.

Making prospective teachers write an essay is a stupid idea. You might as well just get them to buy a raffle ticket instead. It would lead to a similar strike rate by the end of the process:

 

FUTURE teachers will have to pen a 1000-word personal essay on what inspires them, in a bid to select those most likely to survive in the classroom.

On top of existing academic requirements, prospective teachers will have to “draw on their life experiences” to show they are “motivated, organised and resilient” before being accepted into any Queensland education degree from August.

Candidates will have to write 500 words on two categories, one addressing suitability to teach and another covering personal learning, with a range of prompt questions asking what makes a good teacher and what has inspired them to teach.

 

Click on the link to read my post Tips for Teachers Who Want to Get Ahead

Click on the link to read my post Mindless Theory Not Benefiting Young Teachers

Click on the link to read my post Care About Your Students or Find a Different Career

Click on the link to read my post I Can’t Recall Anything Useful About My Teaching Course

Advertisements

Tips for Teachers Who Want to Get Ahead

December 6, 2015

teacher-promotion

 

It’s not an easy profession to get promoted in, so any tips that will help a long serving teacher make that next step is very much welcome.

This list is courtesy of telegraph.co.uk:

 

Firstly, wear a suit. This may seem self-evident in most jobs, but not teaching: a profession that prides itself on cerebral, rather than sartorial, credentials. The worn elbow-patches of legend may have disappeared, but there’s still a sniffy attitude to suits amongst some teachers, together with a tendency to wear slightly shabby clothes.

 

Get ahead of your colleagues in IT. This is not as difficult as it sounds. For a profession supposed to be passing on plenty of knowledge, most teachers are pretty ignorant when it comes to IT – and certainly know far less about it than their pupils.

Yet schools, just like any other businesses, are increasingly run on IT expertise. Daily routines, timetables, reporting, are all now reliant on IT systems. With these skills at your finger-tips you’re bound to prosper. Being proficient in IT brings another advantage. More and more day-to-day business can be done on a computer – so it cuts out the need to deal with difficult colleagues.

 

Thirdly, specialise. A generation ago, the ethos of the Renaissance-style all-rounder – the “schoolmaster” and “schoolmistress”, good at everything – still ruled. Not only were teachers supposed to be excellent in the classroom, they were also meant to be equally at home on sports pitches, in an orchestra, or on the stage.

Now, with so much emphasis on exam results, league tables and the constant pressure to perform, times are very different. There’s less scope for the “jack-of-all-trades” approach – more need for the focused teacher, whose classes and courses run like clockwork and whose results are totally reliable.

So rather than strutting around in sports kit or strumming a cello, this means spending more time attending exam board “inset” (in-service training) sessions, becoming adept at spotting the techniques examiners require for success. It’s deadly dull – but every school needs its exam specialists.

 

Next, try and be nice to everyone in the staff-room – or “common-room”, as it’s called here. Teachers can sometimes seem unfriendly. Not surprisingly, as most of us are too frazzled after classes to small-talk much. When I started, it was quite common for older staff to keep a disdainful distance from younger teachers, still less chat to them.

In contrast, those aiming for the top should take the time to talk to colleagues, young and old alike. That way, when that first promotion arrives, they will be genuinely pleased for you, rather than mutter behind your back.

 

Lastly, always carry a mobile phone. Despite being one of the few professions that doesn’t really need them, they make you look important . Just make sure it doesn’t go off in lessons.

 

Click on the link to read my post Mindless Theory Not Benefiting Young Teachers

Click on the link to read my post Care About Your Students or Find a Different Career

Click on the link to read my post I Can’t Recall Anything Useful About My Teaching Course

Click on the link to read my post Why Principals Overlook Young Teachers

Mindless Theory Not Benefiting Young Teachers

July 7, 2015

modern-teacher

It pains me that our young teachers are filled with theory , yet are totally unprepared for the realities of the classroom.

Yes, it’s great to know how to understand the importance of open-ended questions and Blooms taxonomy is very interesting to discuss, but if you don’t know how to engage students, communicate properly, act quickly under pressure, demonstrate patience and deal with misbehaving students what hope do you have?

When a student bullies another student before your eyes, consulting Vygotsky wont provide you with the answer you’re looking for.

When your students look disinterested and hand in poorly thought out and badly structured writing pieces channeling Skinner wont achieve all that much.

It’s time we help our young and emerging teachers gain the practical skills they need for the classroom. Put the theory to a side and give them as much classroom observation time as you can secure for them. Provide them with mentors, connect them with successful teachers, open their eyes to the realities of working in the classroom. No gloom and doom is necessary, but pie in the sky is also deeply unhelpful. As rewarding as the profession is, it also comes with a fair amount of stress. Our student teachers should be made aware of this and have the tools to manage all areas of future stress.

I say get rid of Vygotsky and instead fill them with as many practically based scenarios to work through such as difficult parents, ADHD students, dealing with different learning styles, understanding autism and developing engaging lessons.

How badly unprepared were you for the classroom? I know I was.

 

Click on the link to read my post Care About Your Students or Find a Different Career

Click on the link to read my post I Can’t Recall Anything Useful About My Teaching Course

Click on the link to read my post Why Principals Overlook Young Teachers

Click on the link to read my post The Bizarre Call to Train Teachers Specifically for Left-Handed Students

 

 

Care About Your Students or Find a Different Career

September 11, 2014

I adore this Ted talk because it goes to the heart of one of the biggest lies told to student teachers.

Student teachers are instructed to avoid smiling, keep a tough and sometimes cold exterior and avoid friendly banter with their students. The result is often calamitous both for student and teacher. As summed up so perfectly by the speaker in this brilliant speech.

Click on the link to read my post I Can’t Recall Anything Useful About My Teaching Course

Click on the link to read my post Why Principals Overlook Young Teachers

Click on the link to read my post The Bizarre Call to Train Teachers Specifically for Left-Handed Students

Click on the link to read my post Why Professional Development for Teachers is Often Useless

Click on the link to read my post Finally, a Step Forward in Education

Click on the link to read my post Tips For New Teachers from Experienced Teachers

I Can’t Recall Anything Useful About My Teaching Course

July 9, 2014

pyne

Besides the four schools my University sent me to during my course, there wasn’t one valuable insight, skill or technique that my course imparted to me. It is a simple fact that our teacher training courses do not measure up. They result in highly motivated and passionate teachers who are ill-equipped to deal with the practical challenges of a classroom.

I know minister Pyne isn’t the most popular figure at the moment, but he is absolutely right to call for better teacher training:

Universities and colleges are failing to produce teachers who meet the needs of Victorian schools, according to the state government.

In a submission to the federal review of teacher education, Victoria says it has “higher expectations for teacher education graduates” in some areas.

Of concern was that degrees were not equipping teachers with the specialist knowledge required in literacy, maths and science.

Courses often did not devote enough attention to teaching children with special needs – this was seen as an area of specialisation rather than a core requirement for every teacher.

And classroom organisation and behaviour management skills had been consistently identified by principals as areas in which graduate teachers were often lacking.

“There are growing concerns about the capacity of providers to produce sufficient graduates with the professional skills and knowledge required to teach in contemporary classrooms.”

The submission suggests reducing the number of universities and colleges that offer teaching degrees in order to improve quality.

Click on the link to read my post Why Principals Overlook Young Teachers

Click on the link to read my post The Bizarre Call to Train Teachers Specifically for Left-Handed Students

Click on the link to read my post Why Professional Development for Teachers is Often Useless

Click on the link to read my post Finally, a Step Forward in Education

Click on the link to read my post Tips For New Teachers from Experienced Teachers

Click on the link to read my post, Do experienced teachers give enough back to the profession?

Why Principals Overlook Young Teachers

June 11, 2014

 

 

train

I can say with great certainty that the standard of teacher training in this country is lamentable. In my view it is the single biggest factor when it comes to our slipping academic standards. Teachers coming from years of university training are just not ready for the rigors of teaching.

It isn’t surprising that Principals have noticed this. That is why new teachers often find it extremely difficult to get their first job. They are constantly overlooked, regardless of their grades, passion, determination and communication skills. They aren’t overlooked for who they are, but rather where they have come from.

But where the Principals get it all wrong is that they place the blame on the quality of the teachers graduating rather than the quality of the training program. This is a cheap shot and is extremely unfair to the exuberant and idealistic teacher graduates served so poorly by training courses steeped in the theoretical and starved of the practical:

 

TEACHERS should face one-year internships before they get jobs, to stop underperformers permanently entering classrooms, principals will tell the Federal Government.

Australian Secondary Principals Association executive director Rob Nairn said school heads wanted to see a better selection process for teacher education and year-long internships — longer than current teacher practical places — could be a way of doing it.

“At the moment, we have some teachers who are underperforming,” he said.

“We have got to get better at selecting teachers for teacher training.

“We then have to get better at supporting those teachers and developing those teachers so that every teacher is a good teacher.”

Mr Nairn said the principals association would be suggesting the changes to the Federal Government’s Teacher Education Ministerial Advisory Group.

 

Click on the link to read my post The Bizarre Call to Train Teachers Specifically for Left-Handed Students

Click on the link to read my post Why Professional Development for Teachers is Often Useless

Click on the link to read my post Finally, a Step Forward in Education

Click on the link to read my post Tips For New Teachers from Experienced Teachers

Click on the link to read my post, Do experienced teachers give enough back to the profession?

 

 

 

The Bizarre Call to Train Teachers Specifically for Left-Handed Students

March 18, 2014

left

Oh dear! Just when you thought the discourse regarding education was getting rather strange, comes a most odd suggestion.

Apparently, because I haven’t been given specific training about teaching left-handed students, I am risking their self esteem. I wonder why people assume that teachers have an inability to apply common sense to the needs of their students:

Every teacher should be trained to recognise the needs of left handed children, a former minister has said.

Teacher training and the national curriculum should be overhauled so that children are given the space and “correct implements” to achieve the same results as right handed pupils, Peter Luff said.

The current lack of understanding is leaving the “self-esteem and self-worth” of left handed children at risk as they often end up struggling with right handed scissors or having cramped, illegible handwriting because teachers are unaware of their differing needs, he said.

The former Conservative defence minister said children were left feeling “clumsy and awkward” in the classroom and on the sports field and were not being able to reach their full creative potential.

Mr Luff has written to David Laws, the Schools minister, asking him to bring a simple set of guidelines into mandatory teacher training that takes into account the “slightly different needs” of those children who favour their left hand.

Mr Luff told The Telegraph: “If teachers are made to realise that someone is left handed, then maybe there are some things that they would want to do differently than for the rest of the class.

“Using left handed scissors, writing differently, having the mouse on the other side of the computer. In the sports room they could be taught how to use a bat or racquet in a better way.

“There are all sorts of small things which are terribly, terribly easy to put right – it’s just that teachers need to be told as part of their training to look out for those kind of kids and make sure their slightly different needs are addressed thoughtfully in the classroom.

Click on the link to read my post Why Professional Development for Teachers is Often Useless

Click on the link to read my post Finally, a Step Forward in Education

Click on the link to read my post Tips For New Teachers from Experienced Teachers

Click on the link to read, ‘Teachers Trained Very Well to Teach Very Poorly

Click on the link to read my post 25 Characteristics of a Successful Teacher

Why Professional Development for Teachers is Often Useless

March 4, 2014

 

sleep

It is very rare that I come out of a day long or 2 day long professional development seminar feeling more adept at teaching than before attending. I commend Valerie Strauss for her criticisms of professional development, because many teachers feel the way she does, but few are game to admit it:

There has been a strong reaction to my recent post titled  ”A video that shows why teachers are going out of their minds,” which revealed Chicago teachers being led in a professional development session in which they sound like kindergarteners, repeating words in unison. Some commenters on the post defended the practice but most of the comments attacked it, revealing what is well known in the education world: Most professional development (PD) is lousy.

Though professional development for teachers is critical to their development as professionals, a 2013 report on PD by the National School Boards Association’s Center for Public Education noted that most teachers aren’t given the kind of professional development that would actually help them, and it called the most prevalent model of PD nothing short of “abysmal.” A summary of the report said:

Most teachers only experience traditional, workshop-based professional development, even though research shows it is ineffective. Over 90 percent of teachers participate in workshop-style training sessions during a school year (Darling-Hammond et al., 2009). This stands in stark contrast to teachers’ minimal exposure to other forms of professional development (Darling-Hammond et al., 2009). Despite its prevalence, the workshop model’s track record for changing teachers’ practice and student achievement is abysmal. Short, one-shot workshops often don’t change teacher practice and have no effect on student achievement (Yoon et al, 2007; Bush, 1984).

A summary of the report also noted that:

The reason traditional professional development is ineffective is that it doesn’t support teachers during the stage of learning with the steepest learning curve: implementation. In the same way that riding a bike is more difficult than learning about riding a bike, employing a teaching strategy in the classroom is more difficult than learning the strategy itself. In several case studies, even experienced teachers struggled with a new instructional technique in the beginning (Ermeling, 2010; Joyce and Showers, 1982). In fact, studies have shown it takes, on average, 20 separate instances of practice before a teacher has mastered a new skill, with that number increasing along with the complexity of the skill (Joyce and Showers, 2002).

Education Secretary Arne Duncan has gone so far as to say that the $2.5 billion in federal funds spent annually on professional development is largely a waste:

At the federal level, we spend $2.5 billion a year on professional development. As I go out [and] talk to great teachers around the country, when I ask them “how much is that money improving their job or development,” they either laugh or they cry. They are not feeling it. So as we fight for additional resources, we also have to be honest about that $2.5 billion investment, and the additional two or three billion dollars that states and districts are spending, to see what is necessary to really help teachers master their craft and hone their skills. I think the honest answer is that, in most places, we are not even close.

 

Click on the link to read my post Finally, a Step Forward in Education

Click on the link to read my post Tips For New Teachers from Experienced Teachers

Click on the link to read my post, Do experienced teachers give enough back to the profession?
Click on the link to read, ‘Teachers Trained Very Well to Teach Very Poorly

Click on the link to read my post 25 Characteristics of a Successful Teacher

Finally, a Step Forward in Education

February 19, 2014

pyne

I have been saying over and over again that something has to be done about the poor quality of teacher training. I have written to education ministers and tried to sell the message through this site, that improved teacher training was a must. Even though I was certain that an overhaul of our teacher training courses would bring immediate results, I felt that no politician would have the courage to even look at this area, let alone actively take the project on.

I am overjoyed to be proven wrong:

Federal Education Minister Christopher Pyne will announce on Wednesday a far-reaching review into teacher training in a bid to make education degrees less ”faddish” and ”ideological”.

Australian Catholic University vice-chancellor Greg Craven – a vocal opponent of minimum entry scores for teaching degrees – will chair an eight-member advisory panel to report to Mr Pyne by the middle of this year.

An eight-member ministerial advisory group will report by the middle of the year on how education degrees at universities can better prepare new teachers.

“There is absolutely no reason at all why Australia, as one of the wealthiest countries in the world … shouldn’t have the best teacher training in the world,” Mr Pyne told reporters in Adelaide on Wednesday.

“I want it to be more practical, I want them to have better experiences in the classroom rather than in universities and I want it to be less theoretical.”

Mr Pyne said the only way the federal government could influence teacher quality was by looking at university courses.

He suggested the standard was too low because very few people failed teaching degrees.

But he said imposing minimum entry scores for teaching degrees was a “blunt instrument” that would not guarantee quality.

Instead he wants the advisory body to have a particular focus on in-classroom training.

“My instinct is that the more a teacher is in the classroom learning on the job about how to teach people how to count and to read, the better,” he said.

Amen to that!

Click on the link to read my post Tips For New Teachers from Experienced Teachers

Click on the link to read, ‘Teachers Trained Very Well to Teach Very Poorly

Click on the link to read my post 25 Characteristics of a Successful Teacher

Click on the link to read my post 10 Important Tips for New Teachers

It is Refreshing When a Teacher Shows His ‘Human’ Side

January 12, 2014

On of the biggest issues I have with the current teacher training courses is the philosophy that teachers need to avoid emotional involvement with their students. To me, avoiding emotional involvement is akin to being emotionally distant. In University we were told not to smile in the first term of the year and we were warned that students are looking to befriend their teacher as a means of reducing their power and exploiting them.

This is of course complete rubbish. Teachers should be encouraged to connect with their students and should always make an effort to be approachable and easy to relate to. I couldn’t bear teaching if it meant I was unable to smile. And I may be naive, but I don’t see my students as schemers, but rather promising young individuals with a lot going for them.

I love the video above, because it reinforces the notion that a teacher can be respected for taking the time to connect with his students. Even if it makes him look a bit silly.

Click on the link to read my post Tips For New Teachers from Experienced Teachers

Click on the link to read my post, Do experienced teachers give enough back to the profession?
Click on the link to read, ‘Teachers Trained Very Well to Teach Very Poorly

Click on the link to read my post 25 Characteristics of a Successful Teacher

Click on the link to read my post 10 Important Tips for New Teachers


%d bloggers like this: