For this tool you will need the following resources:
- PDB-1 PowerPoint
- Handout 1: PD working cycle
- Handout 2: Curriculum needs analysis
The aim of this tool is to gain an overview of how the mascil resources can be used, to develop a PD working cycle for the group and to establish some shared aims for the professional development sessions, using the curriculum as a starting point to identify needs. Teachers will examine curriculum documents, discuss the professional development needs that arise and consider their priorities by reflecting on current practice within the group.
Introduce the session by briefly describing the two main types of resource provided by Mascil and how they will be used by the group:
- The mascil toolkit: a collection of PD materials that will be used to support the Mascil teacher group.
- The classroom materials: for teachers and co-ordinators to use in their classrooms, alongside their professional development.
The classroom (teaching) materials are an important part of the total package of resources available to you. However, they are meant to be illustrative of what is possible rather than providing an exhaustive bank of resources. It is fundamental to mascil professional learning that teachers have opportunities to design their own tasks to promote IBL and build connections to the world of work. This allows for careful customisation of resources to best suit a teacher’s working context and his or her students.
During your professional development as a group you will benefit from linking together the professional development tools with the use of appropriate classroom materials in practice.
Consider the questions:
- How will this work in practice for you as a group?
- What timescales will work for this cycle in your school or college situation?
- How much time will you need for the classroom inquiry phase?
- Will you carry out the reflection on practice informally or make a more formal record of your thoughts to share?
Before selecting the professional development tools and classroom materials that you want to work through using this cycle it is important to agree together on the main focus for your development. Your focus may arise from the national context, such as the current demands of the curriculum, or it may be highlighted through internal or external observations of practice, or it may be the result of reflection by the group on their practice. The following activities will help you discuss your priorities together for the context in which you are working. Once you have some agreement about the focus then you should be able to select professional development tools and classroom materials that will work together and help you achieve your shared aims.
In small groups consider a selection of relevant curriculum summary documents showing the aims, intentions and outlines of the curriculum and/or related qualifications. (For England some brief summaries are provided on Handout 2: Curriculum needs analysis). Highlight and discuss any key aspects that relate to your classroom practice. What possible professional development needs may arise?
Ask the teachers to work in pairs and provide each pair with a set of the cards from the template provided. Each pair should discuss the areas of classroom practice shown on the cards (you may add others) and try to sort these into two categories:
- Those that they consider to be a high priority for development
- Those that they consider to be currently less important.
(As an alternative to the cards you may use Handout 3: Establishing priorities as a resource for this discussion)
The areas of classroom practice on the cards are as follows:
- Designing effective inquiry tasks
- Using tasks to encourage inquiry
- Asking questions that encourage student thinking
- Using problem-solving tasks with students
- Using collaborative work with students
- Using peer assessment
- Leading effective whole class discussions
- Making connections to the world of work
- Assessing inquiry and problem-solving skills
- Planning lessons for inquiry based learning
- Are there priorities that all the group members believe are important?
- What particular professional needs can the group identify?
Try to get the group to negotiate and identify just one or two shared priorities.
Discuss how these priorities relate to your current context (i.e. where you are now) and your aspirations (where you would like to be). Once these are clear then you have some initial shared aims for the professional development and are ready to select the tools and classroom materials that will be appropriate.