Week 4: Developing your own practice with OER

Introduction

This week focuses on how you can develop your own practice, using OER, to support teachers in developing more participatory, student-centred processes in their classrooms. The four activities will support you in thinking about your own needs, as well as those of the teachers you work with. The Assignment for this week is Activity 4.3.

Teachers are continuously involved in making decisions that are of great importance to their students. There are no fixed answers or rules that can be put in a manual or applied systematically in different situations. This is why teachers often find changing their routine practice is challenging. It is not uncommon for teachers to be resistant to change and give different reasons for not being able to take a different approach or try new ideas. This reluctance is understandable – after all, moving away from the relative comfort of routine practice involves taking some personal ‘risks’ as teachers.

Activity 4.1: Identifying teacher needs

Allow approximately 30 minutes, plus consultation time

As a teacher educator, you need to know about the needs and views of the teachers you work with.

  1. [Reading matter] Note your thoughts in response to the following questions:
    • What challenges are facing teachers in your area? Are teachers implementing a new curriculum? Are new topics being introduced into certain years? Are teachers expected to teach in different ways? Do they need support with their subject knowledge?
    • What are the implications of these challenges for your work as a teacher educator? What role could you play?
  2. Ask your colleagues the same questions. How did their ideas match yours? Which ideas were most common? Note any changes in your thinking as a result of these conversations. It can be useful to find out about how the teachers you work with feel about their practice and the challenges they face. 
  3. Try to find out at least one teacher’s view of teaching and learning in their classroom. Some possible questions to use in a conversation or feedback form, which you can amend to suit your context, are provided in this ‘Feedback form [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)] ’.

It is likely that you and your colleagues have identified a number of different priorities for teacher development to improve student learning in their classroom.

One of the issues often highlighted by teacher educators and District Officials is teachers’ subject knowledge. Often, pre-service teachers learn about the subject and about teaching methodologies in separate departments with different people, which can make it difficult for them to develop expertise in teaching different topics. By engaging with the TESS-India OER activities, teachers develop both subject knowledge and their repertoire of teaching approaches. This is because all the approaches are modelled in the context of the school curriculum.

In Activity 4.3 you will think about how to use the TESS-India OER to address some of the priorities that you have identified. But first you consider your own professional development needs.

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1 Considering your own professional development