A grateful opportunity
I have recently been a part of what has, so far, been the best CPD programme I’ve experienced.
I was lucky enough to be selected alongside 16 other colleagues from my school to participate in the OLEVI Outstanding Teacher Programme. I am very grateful!
The course was a fantastic opportunity to collaborate, discuss and debate with some fantastic practitioners across the school. There was a wide range of forums and topics and it was extremely thought-provoking.
I wasn’t sure what the ambience was going to be like throughout the course, as it was the first time I have worked closely with some of my fellow colleagues. I was worried that some of them may have previous judgements of me as a teacher, I also wondered whether some may use the opportunity to belittle others, particularly myself as someone with less experience than others. Thankfully, my worries were soon erased from the minute we started working with Nikki and Ros.
It was an incredibly supportive environment, all of the staff buzzed off each other and some of the concepts and ideas discussed were fantastic. It’s really refreshing to see so many fellow professionals and colleagues that are exceptionally passionate about their job, their subject and the profession.
If you’re still reading, I’d like to write about the stand out things that I have taken from the training course. Notions that will definitely be catalysts in the direction of my future teaching.
As teachers we often talk about celebrating the successes of our pupils. The use of praise and positive reinforcement are frequently used tools to engage and motivate the children in front of us. One thing that was eluded to during a discussion was the importance of making sure we also celebrate our teaching successes.
Often in schools, particularly ours, teachers put in extra time and effort to enhance the learning and progress of the pupils. Which is brilliant. However, these teachers are seldom given any praise or gratitude from other members of staff. Now, I am not saying everyone should be calling everyone amazing, every second of the day. But as humans, like our pupils, we thrive on positive comments and “kind words”. A little teacher recognition can go a long way to improve morale, happiness and in turn teaching and learning.
I will certainly be making a point of telling teachers who are doing a great job, exactly that.
I never really appreciated the benefits of collaborating with colleagues across the whole school. I was fortunate enough to work alongside teachers from KS1 through to KS5 from a range of different subject areas. This format ensured that there was a wide range of knowledge, ideas and experience as well as opinions and attitudes. Collaboration needs to happen more often. The brilliant pedagogues that were on this course meant that the discussions were very interesting, thought-provoking and at points they developed into productive debates. Managed and steered well by our course facilitators we were all involved in professional dialogues that made us all think from a different perspective.
I think it’s very easy to develop a philosophy and stubbornly stick to it. It takes collaboration and professional dialogues like this to “deepen your thinking” and perhaps make you take a second look at your attitudes and beliefs as a teacher. There were many times during the training when I was able to take an idea, concept or belief and see how it would fit into my mould as a teacher. All of which was positive and will certainly work towards making me a better teacher.
We were introduced to a very creative and fun analogy about the importance of pushing boundaries and working outside of your comfort zone.
The yolk represents your comfort zone. The area that you feel at ease and confident. The egg white is known as the stretch, the area just outside of your comfort zone, an area which could relate to; trying a new teaching tool, a new form of behaviour management perhaps. Then, finally we come to the “crispy” edge. This is the area far away from our comfort zone. An area that may ignite some fear of failure, it could be linked to trying something completely new with a difficult class. A risk.
During the course we were encouraged to “get crispy” – to try new concepts, to be creative, to innovate and engage pupils in learning. These risks need to be taken. It’s easy to stay in our comfort zone but then we are all susceptible to stagnation. Keeping up to date with new methodology, being creative and taking risks will allow for development and also enable a large “impact” on the learning. We encourage our pupils to take risks and we champion the fact that it’s okay to make mistakes. It’s principles like this when we really need to practice what we preach.
I really enjoyed this acronym. Our facilitators and OLEVI are passionate advocates of this descriptive model. DR.ICE is used to describe what is seen as essential ingredients in the make up of an Outstanding Teacher. It takes into consideration not only what happens in the classroom but every aspect of the profession.
It illustrates that we should challenge and engage pupils in all aspects of their education, including the wider aims of the curriculum. We can do this by role modelling learning, challenging expectations and setting high standards. We need to deepen the thinking of each and every child by planning and using higher order questions and by providing significant challenge. It is then crucial to reflect on the impact that all of this is having on the learning and development of our pupils. This being a description of the pupil centered angle of DR.ICE.
It’s also important to consider that as teachers we need to make reference to this model. We need to challenge ourselves and other members of staff to deepen their thinking, in order to improve the impact, challenge and engagement of their lessons. We need to share, facilitate and role model outstanding practice for others to use.
DR.ICE is not an add-on, all effective teachers will have all of its components as an integral part of their practice already. It’s just so happens that it’s an excellent acronym that can be explicitly used to promote outstanding teaching and learning.
The “Golden Nugget” Stealing Magpie
I will certainly attempt to get out more around the school. There are so many “Golden Nuggets” out there that need stealing, adapting and implementing. Just like a good magpie. “Golden Nuggets” are outstanding teaching and learning tools. It was a great experience to go on some learning walks and observe a range of different subjects. I have certainly found many similarities and differences that I will be reflecting upon and trying to implement into my practice. Go out and observe, it’s definitely worth it.
I hope you enjoyed reading the post if you’ve got here. Just a reflection from what was an incredible piece of CPD. Like I have previously said, I am very grateful to have been a part of it and I hope for more of the same in the future.
Go “Get Crispy” with DR. ICE and the Golden Nugget Stealing Magpie.