The power of collaborative critique
I like how he tries to make art accessible to all students and help them appreciate and understand art and different ways to gain inspiration.
As part of the teacher appraisal cycle, I am presently reading the teacher’s reflective diaries. Each teacher has carried out an inquiry into their practice and had the opportunity to share their journey at 3 quality learning circles (QLCs) throughout the year. Using strict QLC meeting protocols teachers have presented and critically reflected on their practice showing how a specific intervention has impacted on student progress and achievement. It has also helped them to clarify their next steps on an accepted continual journey of self-improvement.
I like the way she is concentrating on helping students to verbalise their learning more, to explain more deeply, and how she linked this through to student led conferences.
Teachers have also critically reflected on the inquiry presentations of their peers making connections to their own inquiries posing questions, making conclusions and utilising practical ideas. The most valuable part of teachers as listener learners at QLC meetings is their ability to give written feedback to their peers about their practice in situ, with deep respect and meaningful comment.
Her desire to make students passionate about ----- is clear. A true focus on the experience rather than the outcome has been very successful.
After they have listened to a colleague share their inquiry and critical reflection on their practice, each teacher then reflects in their diary making connections to their own practice. This is a practice that builds a collaborative culture based on true respect and trust.
The following peer feedback comments are powerful examples:
· I can see using video to record student progress is powerful!
· It is important to include reflection time in all areas.
· Less teacher talk leads to student self regulation.
· I realise how important it is to break down goals and to scaffold helping the students to reach their goals over time.
· Children learn more when they formatively assess the work of their peers.
· It is important for students to understand the real life connections to all learning.
· Too often I concentrate only on the girls when concentrating on myself would allow me to be more reflective and make changes to be a better teacher.
Specific feedback about practice:
· I love that she is trying to empower her students to be “little authors”.
· I really liked her ideas for P4C, the written point/counter point activity sounds very exciting and provocative.
· Her SRL ideas are fantastic! The programme is well thought out and it has reaffirmed my thought that reflection and goal setting/planning are vital.
· I love her use of SCAMPER. He is encouraging the girls to self-judge/evaluate.
· Love how her frequent formative assessment allows her to be more responsive.
· She showed us great use of peer review and self-critique.
· I am always so impressed with her skill in working with the girls to develop their IT abilities.
· Her passion for not only teaching but also capturing the moments of learning is inspiring!
· She did a fantastic job of capturing verbalised reflections. I can see how I could implement this effectively and gain powerful results.
· She has done a superb job of asking students how they want to share achieved goals and progress.
And finally, a comment from a teacher about their QLC peer group:
Always impressed with the level of professionalism.
The QLC and reflective diary is an important feature of a multi faceted appraisal and growth programme that helps me as a principal to clearly link my intent to that of my teachers. Like students, getting teachers to articulate their practice, share their reflections and clearly state their next steps is not easy but is crucial!
Peer coaching includes similar practice, that is spotlighting one aspect of practice and deep questioning, however the QLC model adds the listener learner aspect resulting in critical reflection from all teachers in the group. In the process they question their own beliefs, values and assumptions and are challenged to examine their practice.
As Mielke (2012) states:
When adult learners are empowered to objectively analyze and understand their own practice and have a clear vision of where they can improve, they are intrinsically motivated to embark on a pathway that leads to expertise.
Thank you teachers, I applaud your self-assessment, self-direction, reflection on practice, and professional conversation and moral practice.
So, is your school a listening, learning school?
As part of your teacher inquiry process do your critical reflective questions take thinking well below the surface and actually challenge your mindset?
Does your inquiry process support innovation, allow success and risk taking? If yes, to what extent?