Reflective Practice Reaches New Heights!
I was fortunate enough to be working with some amazing educators and students at Jamboree Heights State School last term. I began by delivering demonstration Guided Reading lessons to all year levels. Many of the teachers then volunteered to teach a Guided Reading lesson, giving me the privilege of coaching them. Whilst these teachers did not believe they had all the answers, they enjoyed an open culture where they feel comfortable in taking such risks. The buzz and energy were inspirational and I believe the key to their success was the leadership approach.
- The teachers felt comfortable being coached and recording their lessons for future viewing because the Principal himself taught two Guided Reading lessons for me to observe. He asked me for suggestions on how he could improve his teaching and recorded the lessons so that the teachers could see them too. What a powerful message to send to the staff!
- The Principal had established effective relationships with his teachers and developed a culture of risk taking based on mutual trust and respect. This extended to the establishment of real relationships with the children.
- In his lessons he made a connection with the application of reading to the real world and showed the books that he and his family read at home. Through this exposition he showed that there are many genuine reasons to read both for enjoyment and to gain information.
Jamboree Heights are now in the process of forming professional learning teams. Egos have been set aside so that strengths of the staff may be acknowledged and shared. Coaching each other will give teachers experience in leadership roles, assisting them in being able to take on significant leadership roles in the future.
Reflection and reflective practice
The catalyst for our days together was a unity of purpose, involving a consensus of how children learn best and was intended to achieve a regular, ongoing opportunity for all teachers to share values and beliefs.
The local high school was also invited to be actively involved in my demonstration lessons and subsequent reflections/discussions to give them an opportunity to reflect on how students in Year 7 learn best. What a great strategy to assist Year 7’s moving to high school in 2015!
Not only were the teaching strategies reflected upon, evaluations of students’ abilities and needs, and how these can impact on planning and the shaping of individual reading goals were explored. Children with like needs can then be brought together in small groups for explicit teaching.
Don’t dumb it down
It was encouraging to see the use of correct terminology with even the younger grades. Children are more capable than we think of using tier three words.
Thank you Jamboree Heights State School for sharing your journey with me.