Throughout the duration of a teachers career, they will be observed in their practice by eyes that don’t belong to their students at some time or another. Student teachers overlooking their teaching methods, Professional Coordinators in teaching assessing the ability of a teacher under their wing or even those within a seminar after you have just given a prentation on behaviour management in the classroom. No matter what the environment, this is a great chance for a teacher to identify faults or strengths they are not able to see within themselves whilst promoting an idea in a variety of shapes and forms.
As I sat quietly awaiting the first presentation at Teachmeet 2014 at ACU, Strathfield I was beginning to wonder what was to come. This event was organised with over 20 small presentations from student teachers, to professional teachers and to other faculty of the primary and secondary education sectors. Throughout its duration, the micro presentations of 2 to 7 minutes attracted the attention of the crowd immensely as each stood up and shared ideas on a variety of classroom applications, from creative arts based spare time, to the importance of grading on assessment.
NSWIT Professional Teaching Standards Element 6.2.5 expresses that an effective teacher must:
“Accept and offer constructive feedback to support a professional learning community” – NSWIT, 2006.
The professional learning community which was present, of teachers and students alike were to both share in the common interest of their occupation, the knowledge and understanding of their students. With the time of intermission being given as 10 minutes, the buzz of the room began to louden as each approached another in discussion of their topics. As I overheard conversation, I noticed that these individuals were open to constructive feedback as much as another was to giving the feedback, with years and years of professional teaching insight being unloaded by the paragraph load, it was quite a sight to see.
The ability for teachers to attend professional development events and seminars as such are important for opening the mind to new teaching applications and ideas amongst the vast community (Sachs, 2001). There may be an experience that one teacher has encountered that another has not, which can have a great effect on the practices and understandings between teachers (Paratore 2001). This is also based on the fact that wish such a diverse classroom culturally, mentally, emotionally and physically, there are so many possible combinations of conversation, behavioural events and understandings to occur (Nieto, 2002). These great professional development meetings accross schools also allow for the development and physical meeting, other than just online, of a Personal Learning Network.
It is therefore imperitive that teachers are to share with other teachers, their understandings and experiences in the classrooms, as with such a diverse classroom, there is a diversity amongst teachers which may come as a great tool to another teaching individual.
Here are a variety of interesting and informative links on PLN’s and professional development of teachers
Nieto, S. (2002). Language, culture, and teaching: Critical perspectives for a new century. Mahwah, JG: Erlbaum.
Paratore, J.R. (2001). Opening doors, opening opportunities: Family literacy in an urban community. Boston: Allyn & Bacon.
Sachs, J. (2001). Teacher professional identity: Competing discourses, competing outcomes. Journal of Education Policy.