Sharing Good Practice
Teaching in school as an ongoing evolution in an ever-changing world
One aspect of school under corona that is less often (if ever) in the headlines, is the impact of hygiene regulations on teacher development. It stands to reason that teaching in school in the context of an ever-changing world means teaching methods have to evolve to keep up to give our students the best learning opportunities.
As a school with both national and international programmes, we have perceived that different education cultures view the process of observing learning very differently. In some systems, going into the classroom is seen as invasive and stressful, sometimes with the outcomes linked to appraisals that may have an impact on pay. Other cultures simply have no real process of learning observation once a teacher is fully qualified.
Neither of these is in the best interests of the students, or teachers. The first scenario leads teachers to spend a disproportionate amount of time planning and preparing a lesson that is not a realistic snapshot of learning. The second scenario all too easily leads to a lack of critical reflection on learning practice.
How to improve teaching in school
At Cologne International School, we see the aim of observing learning as part of our ongoing evolution as educators in an ever-changing world. We recognise that, taken as a whole, our teachers have a large amount of experience, that due to being a multiple curriculum school, is very diverse. All we have to do is share it!
To this end, we have a regular event in school called ‘Sharing Good Practice’, which kicks off this year on 13th September. It is a kind of festival of teaching, whereby teachers offer observation slots in their lessons to colleagues across the campus. In the lessons, they showcase elements of teaching such as classroom management, active learning, technology etc, which they think will be interesting – and useful – to others. We use the Cognia’s ELEOT (Effective Learning Environment Observation Tool) standards to frame the observations, which take place over a two-week period. The observers do not need to grade what they see, but are encouraged to provide positive and constructive feedback out of appreciation for the host’s efforts. At the end of the period, we come together for coffee and cake to share our impressions.
This is a highly positive experience for the teachers, which complements their regular ELEOT observations. Through this method, we seek to create a hive-like approach to developing learning, which is on-going, stress-free and does not distract the teachers from their regular activities.
Shaun Roberts, International Secondary School
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