I have a new colleague this year, who has come in from another school. She is much more experienced than me, and I am fortunate to be in the position that I can lap up so much knowledge and experience from her.
Conducting staff meetings and professional development is an area where I have been able to watch in wonder as she deftly takes teacher thinking to a new level that I had not envisaged. Part way through the first semester, our school’s MAP test results were shared with the faculty. The principal used a Data Analysis Protocol for teachers to consider the implications of these results for their classrooms. They were asked to make predictions about the results before seeing them, then simply describe what they saw in the results, and finally list implications for their teaching.
More recently, we conducted a mid-year reflection session with faculty on their annual goals. Rather than purely require teachers to talk about strategies they had used and consider their future direction, the principal used a reflection format designed by Larrivee & Cooper. This reflection structure requires teachers to
- reflect on action (what have they been doing and how well has it worked)
- reflect for action (what are the next steps), and
- reflect within (what might be stopping them from going forward – what inhibitions do they have).
These protocols and strategies add structure and depth to teachers’ thoughts and provide more significant, more meaningful discussions and professional development.