4 Working with your teachers
Part of your role is to work towards creating a learning environment for your teachers as well as your students, where teachers are encouraged to try out new ways of working and develop new skills. Teachers will find it difficult to do this unless you make them feel supported and safe to depart from old habits.
These are some ideas that heads of department had in one school to promote this ethos of learning through doing:
Having identified your focus, you need to engage your teachers in your plan. In the secondary context, it is good idea to start with your heads of department. Activity 4 suggests how you might introduce your idea to your heads of department and Activity 5 suggests how you might involve all the teachers.
Activity 4: Engaging your teachers
Working with your heads of department, share your idea for a focus on improvement in teaching and learning in your school. Together look at the related Secondary English, Secondary Maths and Secondary Science TESS- India OERs in detail. Remember, the activities can easily be adapted for other subject areas. But first, everyone needs to be familiar with the OERs and the approach.
Together, think about how your teachers will access the TESS-India OERs and how you will introduce them to the OERs. Here are some ideas from school leaders and heads of department:
Now consider how you will engage your teachers to focus on change for the term: maybe as part of a staff meeting or as a training workshop? Think of your ‘story’ about the need for change. Remember you are to persuade and enable rather than order teachers to change their practices. Some of the things you might say are:
Think about how you might involve your teachers in selecting the OERs by finding out what topics they intend to teach this term and finding an OER that is relevant to that topic and demonstrates your chosen approach. You might share Resource 3 as a handout or put it up on your office wall.
If you can, show a TESS-India video and think about what discussions this could prompt. What questions might you ask or what activities might you ask your teachers to do? Think ahead about any questions you might get. Read Resource 5 on ‘possible difficulties’ so that you are prepared to answer questions that your teachers will raise.
Once you have introduced the idea, you could set a simple task for your teachers. You could ask them to work in pairs, acting as buddies for each other. Ask them to prepare teaching activities together using the OER and to then observe each other. They will need to schedule their lessons and you may be able to help by offering to teach their classes while they observe each other.