Teaching That Makes a Difference: How to Teach for Holistic Impact (YS Academic)

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Another important feature of the Mexican context is the fact that every educational Programme is the responsibility, by mandate, of the Federal Department of Public Education SEP , including all Teacher Training. In this way the Schools for Teachers Escuelas Normales that are public institutions of higher education and also the private schools for teachers must implement the Federal Programmes for Teachers. Inclusion requires a large vision and specific competencies for all teachers. Now the teachers need to know that diversity is present in the classroom, and that they should attend to learners with a range of diverse needs.

In this frame, it is imperative to prepare teachers for inclusion in all curricular plans for pre-service teachers, also for teachers in services, with the following professional aptitudes:. They also need to have high expectations for all inclusive vision , develop inclusive projects including diverse teaching strategies and support systems inclusive practices and participate in a collective work inclusive language. The author identifies three important educational aspects that every teacher needs to be inclusive: Equality ; promoting the same opportunities for all, quality ; offering functional and meaningful learning and equity ; responding to special educational needs.

Teachers are the key to success in inclusion.

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Here, seven essential components for Teacher Preparation Programmes are introduced based on the experience of training teachers in Monterrey Mexico. The Teacher Preparation Programme should include subjects with high social and community content because they need to be sensitive to the needs of students and the environment; It is important to recognize the school as a point of encounter among different people, it promotes agreements among all the members of the community and meaningful relationships among the components that impact the learning of the students by removing barriers, promoting high expectations and a positive environment characterized by continuous improvement and values.

The dialogue, participation and collaboration allows full awareness to all as a community and, in consequence ensures successful experiences in inclusion. For this reason the teachers need to be involved. The Inclusive Teacher recognizes individual differences and implements learning strategies for all. The educational intervention is oriented to diversity and promotes learning strategies for all equality , for quite a few and for only one equity.

These are other essential aspects in the teacher Preparation Programmes. Quality, equality and equity concepts should be translated into specific actions of educative interventions. In order to illustrate the individual differences in the classroom, the author follows a tridimensional view.

This idea allows co-teaching or concurrent participation. Inclusion promotes co-operation in the classroom. I believe this representation helps us to understand the diversity concept as well. In inclusive education, the school and classrooms are very dynamic and have a lot of interactions and roles. The exchange and experience enrich individuality. Diverse contexts indicate diverse relationship and interactions. The collaborative work among educators , facilitates inclusion and needs to be promoted in the Teacher Preparation Programme.

The author believes that inclusion is funded on a collective of teachers, a team sharing knowledge, making decisions, solving problems together and generating actions in order to improve the school and to increase the learning for all. In consequence, the collaborative work is a source of dialogue, co-teaching and updating. Information on the process of collaborative work now follows. Nowadays learning this way is invaluable and considered as a fundamental component on inclusive education.

All pre-service teachers should know and develop skills in this way because:. Building a common vision. Who do we want to be? What are our goals, expectations and interests? Why are we like this? We need to analyze our beliefs and precise data information. What are our proposals to improve our present?

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We need to build and establish agreement about participation. What are we doing to change the situation? Everyone needs to know all the actions. How and how much have we advanced? Are our agreements functioning? What needs to be modified, strengthened or implemented? We need to make necessary adjustments. All teachers shared an interest in continuing to work with this type of professional development program because it enabled them to improve their English and apply new methodological strategies in their teaching and learning contexts.

Teachers believed that this holistic approach was quite different from the traditional training experiences as their individual differences and interests were acknowledged. All of us believed that the group was very cohesive and that we were able to learn from each other in a supportive environment.

We considered that these teachers had taken responsibility for their own learning in this knowledgebuilding community model of professional development Cambourne et al. Also, teachers reported that they valued the practical nature of this course from two perspectives: First, they were able to experience the activities and see their own language improvement; and second, they could apply what they learned in these sessions and see their learners respond positively to learning English.

Teachers recognized that they could integrate English with other areas. In this section, we related our experience by designing a holistic program to the theoretical concepts of learner-centered curriculum, negotiation in curriculum development, and synthetic curriculum design, in order to connect practice and theory. Designing this professional development program based on our educational reality supports Nunan et al. Although our initial proposal could be associated with that of the traditional model Taba, , cited in Nunan, , as our general objectives and methodology were predetermined before having contact with the teachers, we believe that it was much more learner-centered as our prior decisionmaking was not binding in terms of content selection, grading, specific activities, and materials Nunan, We consider that our program was an example of a progressive, process-oriented curriculum having a focus on the learning and pedagogical activities and not a product Nunan, ; Rabbini, Throughout our teaching and learning processes, we and the teachers informally monitored our process in journal reflections and shared this in class discussions and research meetings.

At the beginning of our program, having the teachers complete the questionnaire enabled us to get some biographical data and subjective information related to their proficiency level and interests, etc. Through group discussions, we also negotiated a few general parameters for this course related to the number of contact hours per week and the duration concerning school holidays , homework, and whether the language component or the pedagogical component should be presented first in the sessions Nunan, Another factor related to negotiation and autonomy for making decisions was having the teachers group themselves during the language development activities, although we encouraged them to change partners as much as possible.

This professional development program is more characteristic of the synthetic approach to curriculum design process than the analytic one. Rather, we worked within a broad competency view of language proficiency which Stern recommends for beginners in the early stages of learning languages. To derive content selecting and grading for the language development component, we included two perspectives. Initially, we relied on the teacher profile from our previous research, which we considered as a realistic recurring teacher-type Nunan, ; but also, we viewed teacher data to be important from this group as these teachers are unique, having varied interests and needs.

The goals identified for our program were the following: Whereas Nunan proposes that specifying the communicative tasks and language skills comes before contextualizing them in topics, our process was slightly different. Considering their goals, we were able to design a more integrated framework with appropriate topics, materials and activities Nunan, The organization of the topics followed a cyclical format rather than a linear one Nunan, , and that gave us the opportunity to integrate topics and recycle language and content. In our program, teachers had multiple opportunities to experience the topics during the following three thematic cycles which were developed: In terms of grading the content, while we planned and implemented our sessions, we asked ourselves questions which reshaped our original proposal, to wit, What motivates our teachers?

How confident are they with their English? How do they feel about themselves as language teachers? Do they have familiarity with our activities? Do they have the necessary skills for the activities?

Teaching That Makes a Difference: How to Teach for Holistic Impact by Dan Lambert

What linguistic knowledge do they need? Are we moving too quickly or too slowly? Are they finding the language tasks too easy or difficult? Are these activities relevant for their learners? Are they able to process language for the tasks? How much time will it take them to work on these activities? How much help will they need? These questions guided our actions and shaped the direction of our program.

We extended some topics and gave teachers more experience with some activities and the chance to work with different materials. As evaluation is part of progressive curriculum development, we have begun to evaluate this program by gathering and analyzing both qualitative and quantitative data. With respect to the qualitative data, we are using the thematic or conceptual framework proposed by Lynch Concerning the quantitative data from a few sections of the diagnostic tool, we are reporting performance from a before and after perspective. Having these two types of data will hopefully enrich our final reflections on the effectiveness of this program.

We believe that we have begun a journey developing ourselves as teacher curriculum developers. Having designed and implemented this course was an enriching and rewarding experience. This course was first based on the specific needs of some teachers who had participated in our previous research, and became relevant for other teachers having the same or similar needs. Narrating our process of planning, developing and evaluating this course has given us not only a sense of accomplishment, but also the idea that there is still a lot to be done.

Sharing this work with others has helped us to believe in the work we are doing. We are grateful for the ongoing insights of the participant teachers and their constant feedback in this process. In our experience, collaborating with the teachers required not only curriculum, language and pedagogical considerations, but also administrative, organizational, and curriculum-support Nunan, As the teachers showed their satisfaction, they also expressed that there was an urgent need of continuing with this course. We believe that these teachers are willing, enthusiastic, and committed to continue working against all odds to improve EFL teaching and learning in their contexts.

We think that professional development is an ongoing and lifelong process, and that it goes hand—in-hand with personal growth. The role of language improvement in in-service teacher training: Killing two birds with one stone. System, 8 1 , Negotiation and process syllabuses in practice. Teaching English in a primary school through a spiral thematic curriculum. Elementary English language instruction: The conditions of learning: The Reading Teacher, 55 8 , Knowledge building teachers for the e-classroom.

A constructivist, problembased approach to pre-service primary teacher education. Teaching English in primary: The subject matter is very interesting and thought provoking in such a way that one could hardly skip a day without studying. Theory could immediately be put into practice and awareness of natural science is sharpened. The enquiring mind is also awakened.

One also becomes considerate to the environment Bold font inserted by authors for emphasis. Bearing in mind the general reluctance to "walk the extra mile" among many teachers, the following extract from an interview with another teacher is a very pleasing indication of a good professional attitude: A teacher must work harder and harder and harder. Because if one relaxes, the learners also relaxes [sic]. Another teacher indicated that as a result of the programme, he regards himself as a leader in his community of teachers. He has gained confidence as a result of building his capacity.


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Building capacity was identified as one of the critical issues when designing the framework for the HPD model. He is even confident enough to express his willingness to help those colleagues who are experiencing teaching problems, as indicated in the interview extract below: I was referring to the confidence now I am having. It is that I don't ever have a problem if I may be asked in another school. One teacher can ask me to come and help him. Even himself with some of the problems he is having. Yah I feel great about it. One teacher indicated that she had been promoted to Head of the Department of Mathematics and Science at her school and attributed it to her change in professional attitude.

In order to evaluate the final HPD model against other international benchmarks, it was compared with the six factors identified by the American Institute for Research Buchanan, as critical in making professional development effective. These factors are duration, content, form, active learning, collective participation, and coherence. All these factors have been addressed in the HPD model. Examples of how these factors were addressed are given below.

The factor of duration is addressed in the design of the programme, which runs for an entire academic year and includes face-to-face workshops, four assignments and reflective journals that need to be maintained on a weekly basis. A longer, sustained and intensive professional development programme is more likely to have an impact than a half-day event or a few after-school sessions spread throughout the school year. Content was addressed in the study material, which focused on both content and how to teach it. The professional development programme took several forms , including independent study, workshops and peer interaction.

Active learning was fostered through teachers observing and being observed, as well as through workshops and reflective journals. Collective participation has been addressed through the peer support element of the HPD model, combining peer coaching and research lessons. The programme was coherent in that all the elements were designed according to the same underlying philosophy and were aimed at achieving similar outcomes. Teachers reflected that because of the improvement in their content knowledge, they had more confidence in their teaching, which led them to act more professionally.

This empowered them to assist teachers from other schools who needed help in their subject matter and teaching. There are four standards with 22 substandards.


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Of these 22 substandards, the only ones not achieved by the HPD model were the introduction of media and technological resources, provision of locations where effective science teaching can be illustrated and modelled, and the inclusion of ways to address the explicit teaching of research skills. Future research could consider how to address these standards. The HPD model has been designed to meet all of the expectations indicated in the above quotation.

For South Africa to produce the number and quality of scientists and technologists it needs to compete internationally and develop domestically, the number and quality of passes in Physical Science must increase. Teacher development lies at the heart of long-term, sustainable improvement. In the South African context, we propose that teachers need development along three dimensions simultaneously: Using the design framework for professional development for mathematics and science education of Loucks-Horsley, Hewson, Love and Stiles a model was developed with several important features.

A study guide and assignments ensure that teachers engage with the course throughout the year, while providing them with new insights and teaching strategies that they can apply in their own classrooms. The journals afford teachers an opportunity to reflect on their own professional growth, generating ideas for their own further development in the process. Peer support helps to overcome the sense of isolation teachers often experience, while providing a starting point for the creation of a supportive, professional community, one of the critical issues.

The science kit enables teachers to carry out practical work even when there are no science laboratories. An advantage of the HPD is that it uses distance mode teaching, which allows teachers to work in their own time, without having to leave their classroom or attend lectures during their holidays. Evidence from a variety of sources suggests that application of the HPD model with practising physical science teachers does indeed support their development along the three desired dimensions.

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Furthermore, these dimensions are interrelated. For example, it was found that improvement of teachers' content knowledge increases teachers' confidence, which, in turn, makes them more prepared to use a variety of teaching strategies, in particular, more learner-centred and activity-based approaches. While not tested in the study, anecdotal evidence suggests that the use of more innovative teaching approaches makes science classes more interesting and leads to better understanding and a more positive attitude towards science among learners.

This, in turn, increases teachers' willingness to spend more time on task and increases their own sense of professionalism. It can also lead to increased learner enrolment and confidence, as illustrated by the following quotes from the teacher we interviewed at a rural school: I can say the enrolment of the science classes.

We used to have a few per grade but now the science classes are overcrowded. But then if you teach them with confidence they also refer them to teaching that And they start to have confidence. Our results have shown that the application of the HPD model has the potential to extricate teachers from a vicious cycle where poor content knowledge leads to lack of confidence and enjoyment of teaching, resulting in an unwillingness to spend time on task and use innovative teaching approaches. Instead, teachers can become part of a virtuous circle where improved content knowledge leads to increased confidence, enjoyment and a willingness to spend more time on task and use more learner-centred teaching approaches.

Moreover, the HPD is sound when judged according to external standards for professional development and is aligned with the South African government's intentions for MST teacher development. This work was partially supported by a grant from the Carnegie Corporation of New York. Challenges of Teacher Development. An Investigation of Take-up in South Africa. Research on Teaching and Thinking Skills. Student Patterns of Thinking and Reasoning: The Physics Teacher , A Guide to Introductory Physics Teaching. Developing Practice, Developing Practitioners: Toward a Practice-based Theory of Professional Development.

Teaching as the Learning Profession.

Seven essential components for teacher education for inclusion (details)

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