This is a guest post by Samantha MacDonald from Architecture and Design Scotland
In connection with our High Street exhibition at The Lighthouse in Glasgow we are offering free CPD sessions for teachers in how to use their local High Street as a teaching resource for interdisciplinary learning.
High Street Stories is an interactive, creative, cross-curricular project for upper primary/lower secondary students or as a P7 – S1 transition project. Comprising a series of lessons that could be a fully immersive, week-long project or spread out over a longer period to allow for further development, this project focuses on the built environment and social aspects of the High Street through almost every curriculum area. Encompassing issues such as sustainability, community, heritage and citizenship, students are guided through a challenging and enjoyable creative process with relevance to their own environment. Curriculum for Excellence experiences and outcomes from mathematics, sciences, technologies, social studies, literacy and expressive arts are covered by the project making it truly interdisciplinary.
The 2 ½ hour twilight CPD workshops introduce teachers to the resource and guide them through the lessons giving them practical, hands-on experience and building confidence along the way. Staff will leave the session feeling more confident about their ability to teach built environment education and architecture. Teachers participating in the workshops will have the opportunity to showcase their students’ work in an exhibition at the Lighthouse and have access to a follow up Glow meet for extra support.
We will come to your school to deliver a 2 ½ hour twilight session for up to twenty members of staff in March 2012. Please call or email Samantha MacDonald on 0141 225 8351 or email@example.com to arrange your free session. Limited number of sessions available.
Following on from the seminar on the potential of the Learning Rounds in an inter-agency context the team has been engaging with Kersland School in Renfrewshire and Barshare Primary school in East Ayrshire to explore the potential of the model. Kersland is an all through special school which caters for children and young people with complex additional support needs and Barshare Primary has three integrated additional support needs classes. In each situation there is involvement from a range of agencies . In Kersland the Learning Round focus is on the delivery of the school policy on communication and in Barshare on practice in support of inclusion. In both schools the LR observation teams include teachers, support staff, educational psychologists and speech and language therapists.
Initial feedback from colleagues is very positive in terms both of individual CPD and the potential for enhancing collegiate understanding and response to shared “next steps”. The initiatives in both schools will continue for the remainder of the session and the National CPD team will publish a final report on the Learning Rounds on line community on GLOW.
At two recent CPD days with colleagues from a special school and a specialist service, the CPD team had the opportunity to explore an approach to considering the challenges of distributed leadership within the context of multi-partnership working.
The focus of the days was on personal and collegiate reflection on a shared understanding of the meaning and relevance of distributed leadership and the related professional development profile and reponses necessary to ensure that the service priorities are delivered. The implications for PRD were also considered.
The approach and an exemplar of the outcomes of the discussions will be available on CPD Find in early 2011.
As part of the PRD initiative the team has been looking at the 2002 document on Professional Review and Development. It is interesting to note that inspite of the fact that it predates Curriculum for Excellence by a number of years and it doesn’t articulate the importance of PRD and teacher professional learning specifically in relation to Curriculum for Excellence, it remains entirely relevant and valid for today’s purposes.
Professional Review & Development and associated CPD is very topical and is currently a focus of discussion between the National CPD Team and the CPD Network. The team is also exploring the implications for PRD and CPD within the context of distributed leadership. This month’s article offers a perspective on the relationship between the two and one approach which is being trialled by the team to explore the impact of distributed leadership in establishing and sustaining a community of practice. .
If CfE in all its aspirations is to be successfully embedded into practice there is a clear need for all colleagues to be aware of their role and responsibilities and how a staff team complements each other to ensure that children and young people benefit holistically from the skills and experience which determine the quality of the learning experience.
In terms of distributed leadership there is a danger that it is a phrase which can be easily used but not necessarily understood in the same way by colleagues. If it is to be an influence to the good , colleagues must have a shared understanding and commitment to a culture which sees it as empowering staff rather than as a means of delegating unpalatable tasks. It can only operate effectively in a climate of trust and respect. Colleagues who are active in leadership roles focus their contribution on the development of practice which relates to the needs of the pupils in their particular school. Their contribution should be recognised as professional development in the colleague’s own CPD profile and also as a contribution to the professional development of others. This in turn provides a focus for PRD discussions and related ongoing CPD activity. The challenge in schools where children and young people are also accessing support from partner agencies is complex – where does the balance of distributed leadership lie ? What are the mutual benefits ?
The National CPD Team in collaboration with Kersland special school in Renfrewshire is exploring these themes in relation to defining a community of practice which recognises and values the impact of distributed leadership. The collaboration will also consider a model for PRD and CPD to support the approach . The National CPD team recognises that in a climate of inclusion these questions are also highly pertinent in a mainstream setting and will be engaging with colleagues to consider the related PRD and CPD implications.
As ever we would be delighted to hear from you : either in terms of the perspective which has been outlined or any approaches being undertaken in your school or authority.
I attended the launch of the Dyslexia Toolkit at Moray House on the 1 June. Michael Russell officially launched the Toolkit and Sir Jackie Stewart spoke to the benefits which he anticipated it would give to teachers in their understanding of dyslexia .
The CPD Network had a prior sighting of the toolkit at the successful “On Our Doorstep” event in March which highlighted sources of CPD for teachers from a range of partner and associated agencies.
The toolkit provides a very comprehensive overview not only of features of dyslexia but of stages in language development which will be of interest and use to all teachers. It also makes vey helpful links to the stages and phases articulated in Curriculum for Excellence.
As with the best of on-line resources it is flexible and can be used on an individual or collegiate basis. It is also differentiated to respond to the needs of colleagues in terms of their particular stage of professional knowledge and development.