One of the exciting opportunities that stand before us as a community is the renewal a large portion of our campus with newer, safer and more modern facilities. With the exciting prospect of building newer walls and spaces, comes a much more profoundly important prospect of examining and renewing the teaching and learning culture at the school.
The process involved surveying and holding small and large group meetings with all stakeholders. Of particular interest was the process for engaging the faculty of the school in asking them important questions about teaching (pedagogy) and learning.
The questions were clustered in three broad categories: Delivery, Curriculum & Assessment, and Facilities. Teachers were asked to reflect on their practice and rate where they see themselves currently and where they might want to be in the future. For each pedagogical practice, teachers were give a 5 point scale from “traditional to transformed”.
The results of this process have proven to be extremely informative. On the whole most faculty members want to move their practice to a more “transformed” place (in a thoughtful and student centred manner).
Over the next 12 months we will embark on a process of continuous school improvement. The intent is create a system where faculty and staff can come together in a strategic way to support each other in their desired future goals.
An important take away in this continuous improvement plan is NOT to create goals for teachers. Instead, we will create school wide priorities based on the feedback we received.
Our priorities will be evidence based, inspiring, future orientated, challenging and inspiring action statements that will give direction to the entire school. From these priorities, departments, sections and teachers will be asked to create goals that make sense for them in their practice and context.
It should be noted that to support teachers and their goals, we will continue with our Learning Teams initiative (I suspect these teams will become even more focussed and purposeful!).
This process has underscored a few important points for me, namely:
- It is a constant truth that teachers care deeply about their students and their learning needs.
- If you create a space that allows teachers to reflect and exercise their intelligence, they will, in the main, use it thoughtfully and effectively
- When it comes to inspiring change, process is as important as product.