The 7 phases of a learning scenario
DREAM: Ss brainstorm, think freely and share ideas
EXPLORE: Ss collect information on a certain topic
MAP: Ss structure their thoughts and ideas and seek to understand how they are related
MAKE: Ss develop/create a product or practise an activity.
ASK: Ss interview experts and stakeholders
REMAKE: Ss replan or revisit their product (on the basis of the feedback or further info they received)
SHOW: Ss publish and present the results of their work
Formative assessment can help to improve teaching strategies and students’ study because it provides very contextualized feedback both to students individually and to groups, as well as to their teachers.
Simple assessment tools can be used for formative assessment, as long as the goals are clearly defined. It is necessary that those involved realize the importance of the selected assessment tools, and acknowledge their value. Feedback must be immediate to have direct effect on the learning process, so it’s important to use assessment tools which are easy to build, easy to use and provide easy data analysis.
Self-assessment should focus on individuals and their commitment, motivation, engagement in teamwork and their ability to achieve personal goals.
Group goals can be formulated using checklists or progress level scales applied over a pre-defined timeline systematically or at particular milestones while carrying out projects or tasks.
Summative assessment aims to provide a formal academic record of students’ learning progress and to establish proficiency levels. Often summative assessment is confined to tests only, which is not fair. If students are requested and expected to engage in group work, develop projects and present results, build blogs or other digital products, then summative assessment should consider these type of “artifacts” as learning outcomes to be assessed, so we need to assign a weight to each of them in the final summative assessment, so as to take account of students’ work as a whole.
Research has shown that self-assessment combined with peer assessment
- reduces the trend for friends to assign top grades among themselves (friendship dependency),
- blurs the tendency to benefit the leaders in groups with fewer extrovert members (benefit of the dominators) and also
- reduces the circumstances in which less committed students benefit from group work without contributing significantly to it (benefit of "parasitism").
Asking students to give a public opinion about the work of their peers involves being responsible, and complying with the clearly specified criteria and use of qualitative scales or equivalent levels of proficiency.
A student’s individual participation (for example their added value, respect for others and negotiation skills) can be integrated into the student’s individual summative assessment by establishing its relative weight from the beginning of the assessment process.
A percentage value can be assigned to these assessment dimensions and descriptors established in order to help us to quantify the weight of each of these indicators.
Module 4: How can teacher collaboration facilitate collaborative learning?
The learning objectives for this module are:
- Appreciate the benefits of teacher collaboration and how best to take advantage of them, as well as the challenges, and tips and tools for overcoming them
- Understand the required skills needed by teachers for effective collaboration, as well as the conditions needed at school level for teacher collaboration to flourish
- Understand how technology can facilitate teacher collaboration
- Finalize the development of one or more lesson plans integrating collaborative learning and assessment, as well as elements of teacher collaboration, using the Learning Designer.
- Peer review the collaborative learning lesson plans of two course participants.
Teachers, as well as teacher trainers and principals, need to model collaboration in order for students to take this seriously, and recognize and be convinced of its value.
4.1.1 Deirdre Butler's webinar
could not attend due to parents-teachers evening.....
Audio quality is rather bad and impedes comprehension .... Some of the questions D. Butler answers are:
- How can we integrate lazy or disruptive students and make sure that they actively work? (find out about their interests and strengths)
- Should the teacher decide about group division in class or should there be freedom of choice (to promote full responsibility)?
- How do we assess the work of the individual student if the work is done in groups?
- How can we assess the different levels of social/interpersonal skills or interaction in a group? (close monitoring necessary, different types of learners must be taken into account, difficult)
- Even if we use multiple tools, how can we ensure the assessment is fair, and not be influenced by the average performance of top students and weaker students?
- How many really complex and meaningful CL activities should a teacher implement in one school year? (start with ONE if you are the only teacher working that way; find a colleague to team up with and collaborate; depends on your confidence level)
- Can students profit from CL, even if it is only practised rarely or for a few hours or by only one or two teachers? (of course)
- How to apply CL in subjects like maths which require individual, abstract thinking?
- How can we best deal with noise in the classroom? (if students are focused, it will be productive noise which is ok)
- What about students using their smartphones while collaborating? (as long as they are on task and check task-related information, it is ok)
- What percentage of the whole student's performance should CL cover?
4.2 A primary school teacher's experience of teacher collaboration
excerpts from the video: "Cooperative teaching experiences also provide mutual support and assistance for planning and implementing lessons, assessing students’ progress, sharing professional concerns, and addressing students’ learning needs. Most importantly, working in teams allows more opportunities for students to understand and connect with content thereby maximizing individual learning potential.
To be effective, the art of collaboration requires thoughtful consideration on the part of teachers. Collaborative teachers have to spend time before and after school to coordinate their efforts. However, collaboration is not always a concept that is greeted with open arms. Educators who have had success working in isolation may view this process as an invasion of their pedagogy and a waste of time. I would like to ask the experts and my peers on the course, how we might convince such colleagues of the importance of teacher collaboration. Perhaps we can start by showing them experiences and evidence of collaboration not only improving teacher performance, but also student performance. Finding time to work with colleagues is also an issue, and I would welcome any ideas to meet this challenge."
- Well, I feel the readiness and required openness towards collaboration is there, yet only in a small number of colleagues at my school, but the main problem is the TIME. Due to different individual timetables, different lesson-free days, an increasing number of after school conferences and meetings on general school issues, and finally our various individual personal commitments, it is becoming more and more difficult to find a time window for meetings that suits everybody.
- Our school occasionally offers some extra time reserved to the exchange of ideas and discussion of relevant issues to the faculties, but even then we hardly find the time to cover the predominant topics, let alone pedagogical or methodological questions.
- Sadly, I am the only teacher at our institution with eTwinning experience. There is one colleague who teaches French who has collaborated with a colleague from another Swiss school in a project and who I occasionally exchange teaching experiences with. She is open to integrating and experimenting with apps, too. I remember presenting the idea and chances eTwinning offers (or offered when CH was still participating) in front of my colleagues - unfortunately with little or no echo! For this reason collaboration for me is imaginable and doable with colleagues from other countries rather than those in my own school.
- We used to have interdisciplinary projects with two or more teachers of different subjects working together. However, most of the time we ended up with everybody doing their share after a short planning session. It resembled group work (putting teachers together) rather than collaborative work.
video excerpt: "To conclude I would say that successful teacher collaboration begins with finding time to connect with colleagues, remaining open, sharing thoughts, and being ready to provide support."
- It might be easier to collaborate as a teacher of younger students, e.g. at primary school level, since you are with the class the whole week. At upper-secondary level, I see my classes twice a week only and some of my colleagues rarely or never.
4.3 A secondary teacher's experience of teacher collaboration
Reyhan speaks from my heart! It is so rewarding to bring the rest of the world into your classroom. After being blocked from eTwinning and the possibility of collaborating with European teachers I searched for new ways of connecting with colleagues and classes around the world and also came across ePals. Sadly, when I asked three of my classes if they wanted to get in touch with peers from abroad and work together in a short project, they all declined. I did not want to force anything on them then. I think a class has to be ready and enthusiastic about the idea.
I seem to be luckier with willing students this year. I am teaching an all-girls class who is extremely ambitious and lively. I will do everything to make them interested in a project again. The video has also inspired me to try out skype for collaboration as a new tool.
4.4 The benefits and challenges of teacher collaboration
According to D. Butler, the key benefits of teacher collaboration at the same school are
- peer-to-peer learning
- collaboraton in a safe environment,
- critical feedback from others in a trusted environment.
- encouragement of risk-taking
- sharing the experiences
- designing a task together
The same goes for international collaboration - you can design really deep meaningful, authentic learning environments that move beyond the classroom. And that you yourself then become an effective modeller of collaboration. Because your students see you, not only working in isolation, but actually working with teachers in a department in school, across the school, across nations, across boundaries.
The main challenges of teacher collaboration are, within the school environment itself, to find TIME to collaborate with one another (difficult to align your timetables; sometimes schools can’t build in time for teachers to collaborate within the school environment.
-> look at available technology and tools for collaboration outside of the school environment.
-> the school itself could actually build the school environment that supports the culture of collaboration; (one class period built-in that is common across a department. So, let’s say the English department or the French department or the maths department would have one free class where everybody across a certain year-group could meet together, and look at things that they have in common. Or one common timeslot across a year-group where all departments could come together, and they could collaborate on a big task. So there’s not just collaboration within a subject, but collaboration across themes.
-> If you have the time, you could stay up late if you could really engage with a teacher. (e.g. when studying earthquakes, and linking up with teachers in Japan who have real experience of earthquakes. you do this, across time zones, and it doesn’t cost you anything either, because you could use Skype).
-> And we could link up together on Skype, and we could share a common platform, and we could share one another’s notes. I could then pre-record stuff, maybe bring it in to my students, etc. The focus is on trying yourself, as a professional, to look at where you can find opportunities to collaborate with one another. Once you then build up that community of practice – it may not be in your own school; you could build that community of practice across nations. That energises you ....
So, sometimes the opportunities to collaborate can circumvent the challenges.
4.5 Skills and conditions needed for teacher collaboration
Some key points in Mayella Dempsey's video are that teachers need knowledge, attitudes around wanting to collaborate; they need to have the skills for communication, for working with others, dealing with conflict (empathy, emotional skills) and they need to have a motivation.
"Teaching is a very isolated pracice" (behind closed classroom doors) -> leadership, shared responsibility, sharing skills, giving feedback must be practised in collaboration of teachers. Older and younger teachers can benefit from each other
There must be trust within the team and a common shared goal you are working towards.
What is the situation at my school like?
Our heads have implemented one lesson across the faculties for preparation of a study week in February (mentioned earlier in this LD) with the following aims: 2nd year classes in the language profile will have a natural science week whereas 2nd year classes in the science profile will have a focus on Social Studies and English. Last year classes will have courses focusing on final exams preparation in French, 1st year classes are offered workshops in Arts, Music and Sports. That seems to come close to what Mrs. Butler and Dempsey plead for. At the same time 3rd year classes will have their rhetorics days/debates, which will be visited by the 2nd year students, too.