Friday, 23 December 2011

A Window on the Classroom

It is very easy in a lot of schools to turn up to school, go to your classroom, teach your classes and never have another adult sit in on your class for the entire year (teacher or parent). Sure other teachers will pop in and ask you for something or have a quick look at what your students are doing but rarely do they stay. This isolation that teachers experience is often fostered by teachers themselves. We feel safe in our classrooms teaching as we always have, we're professionals after all we don't need prying eyes looking at what we do and how we do we?

My answer would be yes. Having other staff observe our lessons, inviting the principal or line manager to see what you're doing in the classroom can be very beneficial for improving teacher pedagogy if done well (this is nothing new). Even inviting parents in to view classes has its benefits, including these three; firstly it can strengthen the connection parents feel with the school, secondly if done well can improve the school's/teacher's standing within the community (teachers can always do with good publicity) and thirdly gives parents a starting point at home for conversation about school with their children.

In a traditional sense i.e. having bodies physically in the classroom is difficult when time/work constraints hinder peers sitting in on your classes regularly and parents don't feel comfortable entering a classroom that has students older than nine years of age in it, and even then they can't stay because of busy schedules. To over come this I am going to create a class blog for my junior PE classes (Reception, Year 1 & 2). It will provide me with a platform to share student work and class activities with parents and other staff without them needing to be in the classroom. They can stay informed about what their child is doing in PE (taught by me to release the class teacher for non instructional time) and health (taught by classroom teacher). I know this is not a new idea but it will be the first time our school has done this.

An added benefit of undertaking this will be involving the junior primary staff (2 teachers) in the process. Blogs are not used by staff at my school and through my junior PE blog they will be able to see how I use a it to open up the classroom to parents and other teachers. I will also involve the work they do in health so it is not just me sharing. Hopefully this will be a practical way of developing the use of blogs in my school.

I know this is starting small in relation to what a lot of teachers around the world are doing but if successful I would love to see our students connecting with other schools from around the world and sharing their learning, ideas and culture.

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