Professional Development results can come in many ways

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A report of the dissemination you have carried out to inform colleagues/teachers (either in your own school, neighbouring school or LEA), or young people, governors, parents. This report will include what they have learned from the process of dissemination (approximately 1,000 words).

I was on a teaching course for two months and tried different ways to promote professional development. I would like in this report to give an account of the benefit of the distribution of my efforts. One major fact involved in these endeavors, I found is that some teachers are inexperienced to teaching/professional development. It meant I had to look deeper to see salient points that highlighted recognition of the work I had been completing. I must say I did this report against some barriers, that being the Asian way of teaching which entails the students just listening to the teacher in a very passive way. The students must believe every word that comes out of the teacher’s mouth as these young minds sit in quiet obedience. It can be hard to change people’s methods in a short time. It is true the students dare not ask leading questions to their teachers which I must admit mildly extended to me but perseverance for professional development is a must.

The initial awareness of my development came through surveying 50 student’s ideas as to what a good teacher should be like. I noticed that there were high scores for most of the questions even though some questions were polar opposites. You either had to think one question was right and the other wrong, not the same. I questioned the answers the students gave and proposed my uncertainty to my colleagues. It certainly made them think about how the students answer surveys and the feeling was that, do they really understand what they are doing when they answer questions? It was noticed that the majority of the students just fill in the form not knowing what they are doing while others copy. It held true with my colleagues because the students were given a questionnaire by our training centre at the end of each term where they had to give a points score for their teacher. My colleagues firmly believed and used my evidence when the manager came to say that the students can not give a true representation of a teacher’s lessons by a score card.

I would like to add that through my survey of 50 students which I had designed the questions; the scores, as mentioned, did not seem to add up. I decided to let the students come up with the questions. I reviewed and edited it completely. This led to better results and a better understanding from the students on how to complete the survey.

I can certainly say that I have changed perceptions of teaching and shown a few teachers how I think a positive thinking teacher should teach. For example, I was asked by one teacher to help her teaching her class strong adjectives. The teacher’s approach was to just give the students pronunciation practice. I did the lesson in a constructive approach leaving time to have the students produce spoken sentences. She mentioned to me that she thought the material I used was great. I took the opportunity to explain that the book had many words that were too much for the students.

I also spoke to her about the students copying. I wondered how they can learn. She said ‘oh, when the test comes they will fail’. Basically, it was the students’ problem, not hers. It was attitudes like this I came up against. This teacher had already mentioned a few times that the students were bad. This led me to think that it was their learning skills, not their ability that was holding them back. It was examples like these that made me even more determined to show these teachers how students should learn in class. This meant creating a learning environment when they have to think for themselves. I did have some feedback from one teacher who said that the students enjoyed learning with me and found my lessons interesting. I had a chance to explain to this teacher that if the lesson is interesting and thought-provoking the students will feel they are part of a learning process.

Moreover, I have been continually giving advice to other teachers. This I found irritating at times. For example, I decided to teach one lesson for a teacher for him to see teaching from a new angle. I used one of my lesson plans that I felt fitted in with a more relaxed approach as this teacher had been told he was putting too much effort into his teaching. I showed him that with the right approach he can get the students doing the work for him and he just has to facilitate them and coax them along during the lesson keeping them on a learning path. I then observed him the next day teaching my lesson. In the feedback session, he did not really give me a great response when I asked him about my lesson and how well his lesson went doing my demonstration class. I wondered why he was evasive, was it he was not used to professional development, was it he was scared to show his failing, or was it he felt I was I intruding? I actually thought at one point that I should slow down on the teaching conversations. I wondered how I could help him with his teaching. The fact was the following days after I felt he began to notice how I worked and the detail I put into teaching. I began to see examples of professional development coming through. I saw his new sheet for his lesson plan. It looked not too dissimilar to my lesson sheet I had done with him and some of my material which he had seen on my desk. I also realized he was asking more questions and enquiring what I thought he should do for this learning process. At least, the advice was slowly getting through.

Overall, you must expect professional development to be a bit alien to some and teachers not enthused over trying new methods. However, the benefits are certainly there.

(1007 Words)

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