This year the teachers at Baden Powell are trying out a different kind of professional development using the Triad observation method. The teachers have been put in to three groups of three and an hour a week has been designated to allow different groups to observe each other.
Group 1 – Miss Presland, Miss O’Brien, Miss Simmons
Group 2 – Mr Dogan, Miss Martin, Mr Perkins
Group 3 – Miss Zvimba, Mrs Grierson, Mr Williams
Each teacher has a specific question they are thinking about during the observation – looking at the impact using a particular teaching technique or skill has on a specific group of pupils. So far, Group 1 have completed all of their observations. Miss Presland investigated the use of partner talk on pupils who are reluctant to speak in lessons and found that using talk partners encouraged all children to talk in lessons. Miss O’Brien looked at using props to support pupils with their speaking skills and she found that props promote speaking but also promote engagement with a story. Miss Simmons was using team points to engage pupils during the teaching focus in Reception and found that rewarding pupils with team points and ensuring they knew they could earn more than one team point in a lesson did support the engagement and participation of pupils. The process has also been interesting as it hass given teachers the chance to see how each other teaches and to then try out different ideas in their own classrooms.
Update: Group 2 have now completed their triad observations. They were all focusing on ways to promote talk in their classrooms, especially on reluctant speakers. They found that the process made them more aware of specifically targeting children with speech, language and communication needs and help them identify strategies they could use. They also found that having two other teachers observing and focusing on specific children allowed them to notice subtle characteristics to address in future practice. One thing they are all going to focus on more is challenging passive learning behaviours during taught sessions.