Take a look at the following ‘tools of the trade’ and consider your level of experience in using them. Celebrate your progress. Consider the plans you can make to develop further your facility in the using the tools and who/what can help you with this. Set yourself some SMART targets to achieve this. It may help you to record your thoughts and findings in your Personal Learning Space when you have completed this section.
Tools of the trade
How do you feel you rate on this? You may have very little experience or you may have a lot. You may even have experience of delivering INSET in neighbouring schools.
Think about others who have delivered INSET. Who do you consider to be most effective?
What are the things that encourage you to view them as good at delivering INSET?
They could be:
- prompt start and finish
- provides variety of delivery and often interactive
- handles discussion well
- has a clear focus for the session
- handles any negative comments effectively has an engaging style
- values the input and opinion of colleagues
- shows they believe in a learning community and that we are all learners together
Is there anything else you could add to the list? Use this to help you mark your position on the spectrum below and work out what your next steps are in developing your skills in the delivery of INSET:
You may like to work with a member of the SLT or a fellow subject leader to support each other in developing your INSET delivery skills. Ask each other what aspect you want to work on and devise a plan to support each other, including giving feedback after the delivery of an INSET session. Remember, mistakes are inevitable and are all part of the learning process.
Holding professional learning conversations with colleagues
Read this paragraph from the GTCE document on professional learning conversations:
‘All teachers can think of a conversation that has changed their professional practice. But was it a happy accident – or the result of a structured approach to professional learning? A learning conversation is a planned and systematic approach to professional dialogue that supports teachers to reflect on their practice. As a result the teacher gains new knowledge and uses it to improve his or her teaching.’
Do you agree with the definition of a ‘professional learning conversation’?
If not, how would you adapt/change it?
Can you think of a conversation that changed your professional practice?
If so, what was the impact for you?
When and how did it take place?
Ask some of your colleagues about their experiences of significant professional learning conversations.
Try and find out the impact and when and how they took place.
Have you discovered any patterns?
What do you think are the important features of a professional learning conversation?
To help answer this question, read The Learning Conversation.
If the value of a professional learning conversation is measured by its impact on and usefulness to a colleague, how well are you doing?
You may like to ask some of your colleagues about the recent professional learning conversations that you have had with them. Try and tease out what made them useful or what you could develop.
Mark a point on the spectrum below that best reflects how well you hold learning conversations with colleagues. Think about your next step to make them even more effective.
What does the data tell me about the children's learning?
will enable you to explore the area of managing data and help you decide where you are on this spectrum.
Mark a point on the spectrum below that best reflects how well you manage and use data to promote the learning and teaching of mathematics in the classroom. Think about your next step to make your managing and use of data even more effective. Who can you ask to help you develop your practice?.
Observing others in their classrooms
These are the ‘forming a judgement’ observations that are the basis of Performance Management and Ofsted judgments on the standard of teaching and learning in the school. If you have little experience of this type of classroom observation, see if you can shadow a member of SLT to get some experience. See how your thoughts and observations compare with theirs.
Make sure you gain experience with the documentation and pro-formas used in your school. These can vary from school to school.
The main inspection documents, including the framework for school inspection and the school inspection handbook, used by Ofsted inspectors can be found here
To find out more about the different types and styles of classroom observation read How do I get a picture of the teaching and learning in my school?
Decide how secure and skilled you feel with classroom observations and mark your point on this spectrum:
Scrutinising pupils' work
How do I get a picture of the teaching and learning in my school?
has some practical ideas about scrutinising pupils' work.
What experience do you have of carrying out a book scrutiny?
How confident do you feel about carrying out a book scrutiny?
Where would you place yourself on the spectrum below?
Consider what might help you to make progress along the spectrum if carrying out a book scrutiny is not already a strong tool. You may like to find a more experienced colleague to help you if you have not done a book scrutiny before or you may like to compare your strategy with that of the Literacy Subject Leader and look for similarities and differences of approach. Some may be subject dependent.
Talking with children
Consulting Pupils: A Toolkit for Teachers
is the result of research into pupil voice and suggests three different ways to consult pupils: direct, prompted and mediated:
Ask pupils for their views on specific areas through:
- conversations (one-to-one, in a group or the whole class)
- learning logs
- learning walks (focused visits to other schools)
Ask pupils to comment on:
- video replay of lessons
- data from completed questionnaires
- other materials that invite comparison
Ask pupils to express their views through a range of media, such as:
- drawing and painting
What do you think of the suggestions above? Are there some that surprise you? You may like to divide them into those that you have experience of, and those that are new to you.
You may also like to look at the ideas for pupil interview in How do I get a picture of the teaching and learning in my school?
More information on pupil voice is in What does personalisation mean?
Rate yourself on the aspect of 'talking with children to gain evidence of their learning and their attitudes to maths' on the spectrum below:
You have now had the opportunity to review all the different 'tools of the trade' and consider your strengths with each.
Record your findings in your Personal Learning Space. Think about where your strengths are and celebrate these. Look at the areas that you can further strengthen and decide where your priorities are.
Reflect on who or what can help you develop the tool(s) you have selected as a priority. Set yourself SMART targets to achieve this. It is particularly important to set a time by which you want to achieve your plan.
Further ideas to explore
Take a look at the Dig Deeper article Taking a Lead.
Here you can find details, information and website links to help you consider the following:
How well developed are my leadership skills?
- Taking a Lead
- What does it mean to lead?
- Developing your Leadership Style
- Leadership Styles:
- Myers Briggs/ Jungian / Hey/McBer
- Goleman’s Leadership Styles
- Engineering Change
You may like to ask a member of the SLT who you work with on initiatives, to help you position yourself on this spectrum. Look at different aspects of leadership prompted by Taking a Lead. Work out the next step you need to take to develop your leadership skills. How will you achieve that?
Record your thoughts on leadership and your personal leadership style in your Personal Learning Space.
Take time to review your thoughts on each aspect of this strand and write a paragraph pen portrait of yourself as a subject leader in your Personal Learning Space.
Write at least three things that you are really pleased with in your journey as MSL so far. Take time to celebrate your achievements to date.
Then think and record the actions you want to take to build on your success and take yourself to the next level as a MSL.
Think about challenges and how you will overcome them.
Think about support you will need.
Make a time line for yourself and ensure you have SMART targets so that you can celebrate when you have achieved a new step. Ensure the steps are single steps and have a time allocated to them when you plan to complete them.
Good luck and enjoy the journey!