Posted by: Bill Lord | November 14, 2009

Moving a whole staff forwards using ICT

I have been participating in a forum on the Educator’s PLN under the title of ‘How can we motivate teachers to see the benefits of adapting and changing to meet the needs of today’s students?’ This question was posed by Steve Johnson who has posted the varied responses on a google shared document.

I posted some views last night and have decided to expand my thoughts in this blog post.

I considered some of the approaches we took at my previous school when we sought move all of the staff forward together. This was in a school which hosted Head teachers as part of SLICT and which had some real pioneers.

We took two main appeoaches which may be different from those often seen in schools.
1) We designated barometer teachers (at first unofficially and then more openly) These were the barometers of where we were as a school in the use of ICT. They were chosen by virtue of being the firs teachers to tell me why they didn’t like ICT (“I had the internet drop on me in an observed lesson 8 years ago and I’ve never trusted it since” and other such comments). In order to move forward these (and other teachers) were given support through coaching and mentoring from teachers and classroom assistants. We also gave children the role of ICT mentors to support lessons, teachers or groups of children – the mentors could only do it in one application and we sought to have a gender balance in those selected. As we moved into a new academic year we tried to ensure that each year group team had a balance of confident and developing usrs of technology and as the member of Senior Management with responsibility for Curriculum Development and ICT I supported the medium and short term planning to ensure that there was a progression in the use of ICT. There was some frustration from the pioneers who wanted to chase the latest development in tools and applications but we moved forward massively together as a school and staff. My proudest moment was after two years when one of the barometer teachers chose to have ICt development as her personal target in her Performance management and used VC and podcasting to great effect.
2) The second strategy was that of JDI – (Just Do IT) – we stressed that there was a moral and professional responsibility to teach what was in the plans even if the teachers didn’t like ICT – It is important to stress that ensured that we were seen to do this in other curriculum areas and approaches such as Art and Drama. We didn’t accept excuses but instead sought to fill the gaps with support through coaching and mentoring. This sounds quite harsh in a four line description but was very much in the context of providing colleagues with the support needed to move forwards.

In the light of recent work undertaken in my present role I would recommend the use the lesson study model of Collaborative support so that the support was not as hierarchical. The main reason for this is that some of the teachers who were pioneers could have learned a great deal about effective pedagogies from those they were supporting but were concentrating on the ICT skills whereas lesson study would focus on the pedagogy (guided work, modelling etc) and then look at how ICT could support it. Many Local Authorities are exploring and funding the use of lesson study in schools mainly with an emphasis on core subject areas. I strongly believe that there is huge potential for its use to support pedagogy in ICT.

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Responses

  1. As a group of literacy consultants we are at present engaged in using the lesson study model of cpd with teachers focusing on boys and writing. What is so great about it is we look for the learning. We (three of us) have planned the lesson together so the emphasis is not on the teaching which is quite liberating. Noticing learning is leading to some very interesting conversations. One of the strategies we are using to support boys is the use of ICT. This supportive model of cpd is not cheap but has tremendous benefits that are well worth the investment.

  2. Thanks for this, Joy. I do know that some schools worry about the initial expense of lesson study but those who have gone through are quite evangelical about the benefits.
    The fact that the emphasis is on improving learning and not observing teaching (as you say) has been a real shift for some.


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