teachers

Using Anecdotal Records to Assess and Document Student Learning

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One of the assessment tools that teachers can use is an anecdotal record, which is a written note based on student observation.

An anecdotal record does not need to be written like a long narrative report, but it is recommended that it should be brief and contain significant details such as the first name of the child, date when the record was conducted, setting and event. In addition, an anecdotal record becomes more authentic if the teacher can capture the direct quotes stated by the child.  The direct quotes need not be edited for the purpose of preserving the originality of the student’s utterance or work.

binus-12Making use of an anecdotal record helps teachers further understand their students and is one way of documenting their learning. It also helps teachers track student behavior changes that can be used for future observations, curriculum planning and student or parent conferences.

Furthermore, an anecdotal record provides evidence of a child’s development. Specifically, an anecdotal record is used to:

 

  • better understand children’s learning over a period of time
  • provide ongoing records about individual instructional needs
  • capture significant student behavior that might otherwise be lost
  • provide ongoing documentation of student learning that may be shared with parents and teachers

Teachers can maximize the use of an anecdotal record if they do the following:

  1. Plan ahead to collect information. Teachers are suggested to identify ways on how to collect information, including using sticky notes, journals and mobile phones. In taking notes or in recording, teachers can explore different strategies such as writing a word or phrase and making codes in capturing the child’s action, words, phrases and expressions.
  2. Choose the skills to observe during different activities. It is recommended to select certain skills or approaches to learning. Teachers can also focus on certain learner profile attributes and attitudes in doing the anecdotal record.

Schools can come up with an essential agreement on the use of anecdotal record. Using an anecdotal record is aligned with IB programme standards and practices on assessment.

When teachers make use of an anecdotal record and embrace the practice, it becomes a routine. Once it is a routine, it becomes easier for teachers to write anecdotal records, which are valuable tools for assessment and help enrich the teaching and learning process.

By: Zaida Puyo

Grade 2 Level Head

BINUS SCHOOL Simprug

zpuyo@binus.edu

The Importance of a Positive Teacher-Student Relationship

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If there is one thing I learnt from being a teacher for so many years, it is the importance of a positive teacher-student relationship. The teacher-student relationship is one of the most powerful elements within the learning environment. Students learn best when they enjoy learning with their teacher, the classroom atmosphere or the ambience the teacher creates.

When teachers form positive bonds with students, classrooms become supportive spaces in which students can engage in academically and socially productive ways. Students who have a positive rapport with their teachers use them as a secure base from which they can explore the classroom and school setting both academically and socially.

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Each student has a different learning ability and as a teacher, we need to recognize that. I have always treated my students as my friends. I like to get to know them better. Firstly, it means getting to know the students’ learning styles and where they are in terms of their knowledge, abilities, and potential. More importantly, it also means getting to know their interests, personality, and background. For the teacher, this body of knowledge opens up the possibilities for growth and learning opportunities.

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Teachers will see wonders once the students are willing to come out of their shells. It means they trust us as their teachers. We have gained their trust and confidence. Hence, students will no longer see us as only their teachers but also their friends. To me, this is what a positive teacher-student relationship means. I have seen so much improvement in my students once they no longer see me only as their teacher. Yes, they still have to respect me because I am, after all, their teacher, but they also trust me because I am their friend.

By: Devi Godri

English as a Foreign Language Teacher

BINUS SCHOOL Simprug, Jakarta

dgodri@binus.edu

Building a Collaborative Learning Culture

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Building a collaborative culture is no easy task and building a collaborative culture around professional learning in a school is a particularly challenging task. The typical day in the life of a school finds teachers’ time constantly being monopolized by the demands of students and parents, and the myriad administrative and extra-curricular duties that they routinely perform. While most teachers will readily admit that ongoing professional learning is not just a necessity for them to ensure that their practices are current and relevant, but essential to their well-being as professionals. Most also admit that not enough time and attention is given to professional learning for teachers in schools.  Yet, professional learning and collaboration are essential in any organization that seeks to renew and re-energize its members on an ongoing basis. The need to belong to a group and to connect with others is not only a human instinct, it is through connections with others that we grow and learn in our professional as well as our personal lives.

As a school leader I am all too aware that my vision of the kind of school we aspire to be is nothing without the collaborative efforts of a strong and dynamic team. To articulate a vision, to garner support for that vision and to engage others in working collaboratively to realize that vision, requires four essential components – a clear understanding of what collaboration means and why it is useful to an organization, structures that allow people to come together around shared interests, providing the resources necessary for people to explore their interests and flexibility in terms of what form the collaboration will take. Within these four essential components there should also be a common thread of connection. At Sekolah Ciputra, our school’s action plan was that common thread.  We had identified formative assessment, differentiated instruction and concept-based teaching and learning as areas of focus in our school’s action plan.

Vision of Sekolah Ciputra

Students of Sekolah Ciputra are proud of their national identity, embrace the spirit of entrepreneurship, celebrate cultural diversity and possess the skills, integrity and resilience to participate in a changing global society.

Armed with a newly revised vision and mission and a focused action plan, our leadership team set out to build a shared sense of purpose among staff by developing structures that would allow teachers to have a voice in designing their professional learning and to actively contribute to each other’s professional growth. The consensus on our team was that the traditional Tuesday afternoon PD sessions were becoming sessions where teachers were passive recipients of learning that had been planned for them and delivered during sessions where attendance was mandatory and participation was typically less than enthusiastic.

We began by surveying teachers about what format they would like to see their professional learning sessions take and what specific aspects of formative assessment, differentiated assessment and concept-based teaching and learning they wanted to explore in greater depth. In addition to being asked questions about format and topics of interest, teachers were also asked to choose whether they intended to participate as a facilitator, a co-facilitator or an active participant. The intention behind those questions was to tap into the expertise and passions that we knew existed on staff but which went largely untapped and unrecognized in our traditional PD sessions. We also emphasized the word ACTIVE as an implicit expectation that participation in the groups would not take the form of “sit and get” learning and that everyone would be expected to contribute to the learning.

Teachers had no shortage of ideas about what they wanted and needed in terms of professional learning. Everything from book studies and coaching clinics to demonstration classrooms were identified as suitable forsc2mats. In terms of topics of study, teachers gave suggestions of specific book titles and posed questions such as “how do I document and track student learning effectively and efficiently?” It was clear to us that teachers were very much aware of what they wanted and/or needed to learn and that our traditional one-size-fits-all approach to PD was not meeting their needs. What was very exciting was the number of teachers who were willing to step forward as facilitators or co-facilitators of learning.

With a staff of 104, it was not easy to narrow down the range of interests indicated by our teachers; however, with the focus on our action plan, it became a little easier to narrow the choices down and still give teachers the opportunity to engage in learning that is relevant and meaningful to them. We also agreed that while the initial groups will be formed according to the survey results, participants would be allowed some flexibility after the first meeting to change groups if they felt that another group better met their needs, whether in terms of format or topic. In the end, the shifts were minimal and teachers have settled into working through their chosen area of learning with their colleagues.

As our leadership team considered giving teachers more autonomy over their professional learning, the issue of accountability arose. How would we account for the time spent in learning groups and ensure that everyone was contributing to the learning? The answer came in a fortuitous suggestion from one of the teachers. The suggestion was that we should not only use this opportunity to work in small groups, but we should let our students and their parents see that we embrace and model lifelong learning. Out of this suggestion arose the idea of placing bulletin boards in our hallways with brief summaries of what we were learning, along with teachers engaged in collaborating with each other. We currently have three bulletin boards in our hallways to which teachers are adding snippets of their learning, along with pictures.   sc4

It is still too early in the process to declare this a resounding success but early indications and the displays show much promise in terms of collaboration and engagement among teachers. Teachers are learning from and with their colleagues on a range of topics and are proudly declaring their learning to the entire school community.

sc5Our leadership team is engaging actively with this process and our plan is to continue to monitor, to support as needed and to be open to changes where teachers feel there is the need for change. The groups that have been formed are not intended to remain intact all year.  As learning goals are met, teachers can move on to form new groups focused on different or deeper levels of learning. The key is to give teachers the professional respect, autonomy and support to collaborate with each other as professionals in determining and meeting their professional learning needs. By nurturing this spirit of collaboration and engagement with each other, we are confident that we will thrive and grow as a learning community.

Vidya Jaisaree

PYP Coordinating Principal

vidyajaisaree@sekolahciputra.sch.id

Sekolah Ciputra Surabaya, Indonesia

The Power of Professional Learning Networks

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We are, by nature social beings who are constantly trying to make sense of the world through our interactions with others. It is therefore no surprise that we learn best when we learn from and with others. As educators, taking an active role within a professional learning network can be beneficial for our professional development. Below are some reasons why networking with fellow teachers in your region or around the world would be beneficial and some suggestions on how to begin.

Professional learning networks are important to educators because:

  • we can share each other’s practices and hear each other’s stories to avoid local blindness
  • we keep up with change, innovation and technology as we use technology to enhance our networks.
  • we have a place to reflect on our practice and improve it. Feedback from others will be helpful for reflection to improve our teaching and learning practices
  • we can build shared understandings of concepts and topics that are being discussed within the network.

To start networking and to maintain your network the following platforms are suggested for you:

  • Blog: The most ideal platform to share current practices, not only for your inner circle but also to wider audiences (unless you prefer to set it up to be private)
  • Twitter: Create a special hashtag for your community conversation which will empower communication or join a conversation on twitter using some popular hashtags e.g. #edchat, #pypchat etc.
  • Facebook: Great for keeping in touch with others since many people have Facebook accounts. Create a Facebook group for social bookmarking and for sharing resources in your network.
  • Google+: Follow famous people, join a community, keep updated on popular topics using the power of Google apps including Google hangout, Youtube, Blogger and Google drive.
  • Flickr/ Instagram/ Pinterest: Great visual galleries for your network use.
  • LinkedIn – professional learning network platform which provides a more formal look and context.

Personally, I’d suggest a blog as a good starting point for a professional learning network. It’s one of the reasons why we started this PYP Dunia Blog…how about you?

Yan Yulius – PYP Coordinator at Sekolah Ciputra