Professional Learning Communities

Monday 4th February 2019

Teachers Learning Together

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The major focus of our staff professional development programme this year is to Develop Teachers to Develop Learners.  We want to ensure that the staff at John McGlashan College are at the forefront of the teaching and learning profession.

At John McGlashan College, teachers are learners that work in a dynamic collaborative environment for the purpose of improving student learning outcomes and developing our boys to become well educated men of character.  In our professional learning community, learning from one another, sharing best practices, and continually striving for excellence are the norm.   At John McGlashan College, we have a teaching and learning environment that is committed to building foundations for life.  One of the things that makes our job so much easier is the quality of the boys that we have at school and the fervent support that we have from the parents, the Board of Trustees and the Board of Proprietors.

As the year goes on, teachers will be continually deepening their understanding of sound pedagogical and andragogical teaching and learning approaches as well as further developing their pastoral care skills to enhance their expertise as teachers in the New Zealand classroom setting.  Building a strong foundation of ICT skills and 21st Century teaching and learning practices will also be an integral part of and embedded into the development of staff this year.

Re: Teaching & Learning will be a series of articles that explains the staff professional development programme and how this programme is having an impact on the development of the boys at the College.

One of the first development sessions is going to be run by Pam Garry (Library Manager) who will be reiterating how the physical and digital resources that we have in the library in the Edgar Learning Centre (ELC) are an essential part of the College and how we can access the academic journals and readings for our professional development.  The staff will be further developing and modelling the key learning skills of researching and thinking; important skills, that we intend to instil in our students over time.

February is the month that we will be establishing and refining our professional learning communities (PLC).  PLCs enable teachers to get alongside other teachers who share a common interest.  It is a process in which a team of colleagues work together on selected aspects of teaching, such as analysing instructional practices, planning collaborative lessons, expanding or refining skills, giving and receiving coaching, conducting professional readings and conversations, and implementing new teaching and learning strategies.

Some of the most effective changes that occur in classrooms occur as a result of self-reflection, peer-influence and feedback.  What a teacher thinks and knows about their practice is what is important in catalysing significant and rapid change in the way a teacher goes about their work.  Allowing teachers to reflect and shift their own thinking on what they’re doing is the first step towards motivating a teacher to embrace new teaching practices and new belief systems around what they are doing in their classroom.  Teachers will be encouraged to receive regular feedback from colleagues and students.  Likewise, a student, who is aware of their strengths and weaknesses, can also make changes where they see the need.  Student-student feedback is just as vital as self-reflection as students can be activated as learning resources for one another.

The teachers at John McGlashan College are quality practitioners who are seeking the best for their students.  We are looking forward to seeing the positive outcomes from the enhanced re:focus on teaching and learning.