BLOG PAGE: A View from the Bridge
By Mr. Clayton
By Mr. Clayton
One of the things that I am happiest with in the school over the last couple of years is the increased levels of continuous professional development. Lots of the teachers from reception to IB teachers have benefitted from it in all its forms. We have had outside visitors and speakers in to help teachers with all manner of class room delivery issues. We have collaborated between and across schools, faculties, year groups, subject areas. We have visited other schools and networked across schools and teachers. This week alone we have visited two schools in Hong Kong who have been very generous with their time in helping us in looking forward with our information technology provision. Michael Fullan wrote this in 2001, ‘It is one of life’s great ironies: schools are in the business of teaching and learning, yet they are terrible at learning from one another. If they ever discover how to do this then their future is assured.’ He is right. Andy Hargreaves in his book, Uplifting Leadership talks about co-opetion. The idea of competition and collaboration existing side by side. He cites examples form Singapore where schools are organised in self-chosen clusters of focus and interest so that schools can show what they have achieved and others can learn from their accomplishments. He also points out that giving away some of your best ideas forces you to think of new ones! This has happened across many of our interactions with other schools here in Hong Kong.
Singapore, mentioned above, Shanghai and Finland always perform well in worldwide tests. There are several overlapping features that make for their excellent performances. One of the features is teacher training and development. In Singapore it is mandated to meet several hours per week with other professionals to discuss the art of teaching and learning. In Shanghai teachers undertake 360 hours of this training per year, the equivalent of 2 hours per day. In Finland teachers have more time in the school day to plan for their students than any other country and to meet with their colleagues to discuss their students’ needs.
I recently went to watch two colleagues deliver a presentation to an audience of their peers made up of teachers from all over Hong Kong. In itself it was uplifting, affirming and exciting. They were fantastic ambassadors for FIS, they gave a lot to the audience and in their turn gleaned a lot too. Co-opetion in all its glory! I will finish with a couple of quotes from FIS teachers about the power of their CPD :
‘Having my baby was the best CPD because now I’ve got a better understanding of little people and their amazing brains. This has helped me when developing inquiry activities. I can also see things more from a parent’s perspective: even more than before, I want the best for our students!’
‘Having taught and examined IB Diploma Literature for many years, a recent CPD workshop opportunity in Singapore resulted in reinvigorating both the course content, the department and, I am sure, the pupils themselves. Such changes bring challenges and renewed fulfilment.’
‘In that training I have learnt how important the well-being of our students is for their holistic development, and how being positive and happy does impact on their learning (scientifically researched). It helps me connect more meaningfully with the students, become a more compassionate and empathetic teacher, colleague and parent. It has helped me change and reflect on the kind of feedback I give my students and own children. It has helped me not only at school but also in my personal and family life.’
Next year we will continue with this growth and development all for the benefit, ultimately of the students.