Collaborative Teacher Training

It’s been fascinating to meet several of the people who I have been tweeting with recently. Every one of them has given me some really interesting insights in to the skills that really superb teachers posess. After some particularly interesting conversations with Loic Menzies (@LKMco) and Chris Padden (@chris_padden), I decided to try and create a sort of rubric for teaching skills. I started this a few weeks ago and then left it while I decided where to take it next.

This week I was delighted to be invited to deliver some training to around 40 PGCE Maths and Science students at Brunel University. They came up with some really thought-provoking questions and ideas about how they would improve their practice next year as NQTs. However, many of them expressed some frustration that it wasn’t clear exactly how to be clear about what areas they needed to improve on. This made me realise that the Teacher Quality rubric was more important than ever.

So, as a result of this I’ve decided to turn the whole thing in to a collaborate project. I’ve created a Google Spreadsheet that is editable by anyone, where people can add, amend, or update descriptions of skills levels for teachers.

Please click on the image or the link above and have a look at what has been created so far. There are tabs at the bottom of the sheet to split it in to different sections. Remember, you can edit anything you see. It would be great to link examples of different levels of teacher skill, and resources for how to achieve it.

What do you think about this? Maybe there could be a better format (a wiki?) or is it better in this simple format?

All thoughts welcome. Do go and have a look and add some detail, and share with colleagues.

2 Replies to “Collaborative Teacher Training”

  1. It was great to meet you too. As I mentioned, I’ve been involved in half a dozen projects to construct assessment systems. They all took the form of a two dimensional matrix featuring one axis of skill/strand/focus and another axis of attainment level containing criteria at each intersection. Generally speaking, we found the following to be important:

    1) Brevity in focus titles. Leave the detail for the criteria. For example, APP features “Construct paragraphs and use cohesion within and between paragraphs”. In reality, everyone refers to it as the paragraph focus, so that’s what we call it in our design.

    2) Each criteria should be atomic. For example, the Early Years Foundation Stage Profile features “Dresses and undresses independently and manages own personal hygiene” which is clearly two criteria combined. We’ve split that in our design.

    3) Within a strand, criteria should be strictly hierarchical and cumulative. Another weakness of the EYFSP is that it features 9 scale points with only a vague sense of hierarchy: scale point 1 to 3 should be attained before 4 to 8 and 1-8 should be attained before 9. We’ve abandoned that structure in our design, and added in additional points to create hierarchies. It’s more criteria to assess, but takes less time to do so and progress can be measured in smaller steps.

    4) Avoid examples in the criteria. They have an unintended consequence of narrowing the criteria to the example and often lead to the example being assessed.

    Even though our team are technology mad, we always start our designs on paper to sketch ideas and answer some of the big questions: What’s the problem? What do we hope to achieve? How will our design/system be used? What impact will that have? I think it’s difficult for others to contribute to your work if they don’t understand your aims and the scope of the project.

    I think there’s some good content already in there but I think a general discussion around your themes (before lesson, during lesson, non-lesson) and the strands might yield some interesting points and is more accessible than editing a spreadsheet. Have you thought about submitting it as a topic for the #ukedchat night on twitter? Also, I think a wiki to explain the project would help. Perhaps a Twitter hashtag for the project too?

    On a pragmatic note, you might want to license the work under a Creative Commons non-commercial license.

Leave a Reply