Three Big Ideas for 2011-2012 School Year For Our Work with TCV and the Ladakhi Schools .
- A core group of teachers (6-8 from each organization or 12 to 16 total teachers) comes to AES (from Ladakh and TCV schools) during AES’s professional development with Georgia Heard in September. Teachers from TCV and Ladakh are engaged in observation of Georgia, observation of teaching at AES, and co-planning with teachers where possible and perhaps team teaching with specific volunteer teachers. We also hope to collect lesson plans for participants to take back to their respective schools and colleagues.
- Teachers from TCV and Ladakh come to AES for a week long reading and writing workshop at AES offered by AES teachers during the winter break some time after Dec 15 and before second term starts at AES in January (to be determined.)
- Teachers from AES attend classes on site in Ladakh for observation and discussion in July of 2012 at selected Leh/ Ladakh schools and at TCV to see how teachers are using ideas and to continue discussion of ideas for teacher development.
Follow-Up on the Big Ideas:
Big idea #1:
Teachers did, indeed, come to participate in teacher training together with AES teachers while Georgia Heard was at AES. They also participated in observing teachers’ classrooms. Partnering with teachers to co-plan lessons together did not occur, since visiting teachers were busy all day in teacher workshops. Visiting teachers did, however, take back ideas for planning lessons as a result of what they learned at workshops and through their classroom observations.
Key points raised by TCV and Ladkhi teachers at the debriefing sessions after the workshop with Georgia Heard are:
- Independent writing is important
- Use mentor texts to provide examples for students of the different qualities and characteristics of a genre
- Have students read in the genres they will write in
- Create a specific time for writing
- Have students share lines from their writing
- It’s important for teachers to write
- We all have stories to tell
- Writing doesn’t have to be difficult
- The teacher can make writing interesting and fun
- Small details are important when writing
- It’s not necessary for the teacher to choose students topics–they can ask students, and students can choose
- The value of teaching students to write in specific forms and to have students write in a variety of genres–narrative, poetry, fiction, nonfiction, observational writing, etc.
- Give students a variety of strategies, such as a timeline, to help them write as well as opportunities to hear their own writing
- The value of heart mapping so students can find personal connections to what they write
- Using thinking tools like six rooms graphic organizer, and the revision toolbox that Georgia Heard showed the teachers
- Engage students in poetry in class
- The value of bringing more life into the classroom environment through putting up visuals and posters–sensory experiences, and pictures motivate
- The importance of a teacher having patience, and giving the child time to think and write, and answer questions–no need to hurry
- The value of bringing out of the child their own self-discipline rather than the teacher imposing the discipline
- Inductive learning helps the child understand how to learn–attention is shifted away from getting the answers right to learning how to find answers and understand the process a person goes through to explore possible answers
- When learning is inductive, the student understands the idea in the heart’s core
- Teach students how to read expressively
- Teachers can use blogs as a way to communicate and motivate students
- Be outspoken, ask questions, share ideas
- Through discussion we can learn from each other
- Journal the journey
Before the workshop TCV and Ladkhi teachers said they thought:
- students had to retell the whole story
- had test the use of language only
- teach for the correct answer
- teach everyone the same and give the same assignment
After the workshop teachers who attended say they now realize:
- You can have a reading conference with students and talk with the student about what they are reading.
- It’s important to ask questions to make the child think
- It’s important to help the child relate the story to his/her own life.
- Teaching for understanding is the goal
- Give the student choices.
- Help the child create seed ideas, seed stories
Follow-up on Big Idea #2
23 teachers attended the three day teacher training workshop Dec. 17 -19, 2011.
12 teachers came from the Tibetan Children Village schools
5 teachers Ladakh
6 teachers came from the HOPE foundation in Delhi
Here is the envisioning list of teachers’ ideas for possible next steps for Partners in Education:
Teachers’ Stated Insights:
• We realize we need to write more before asking our children to write–we, realize how difficult writing is.
• We realize students need more practice in writing and in reading aloud, as well as in pronunciation.
• We realize we need to develop writing skills in ourselves as teachers. The more reading and writing we do, the better it is for building our skills.
Teachers Would Like:
• Additional lessons and unit planning assistance and practice.
• Ideas of how to enrich students’ vocabulary.
• Ideas of how to include more activities into the lesson.
• More ideas for teaching listening.
• More materials with native speakers reading so students can hear the accent and intonation. For example: reading children’s books and poems.
Teacher Participants’ Questions:
• How do we determine students’ proficiency level and students’ skills?
• How do we conduct and assess project based learning?
• How do we assess language skills—especially speaking?
• Integrating reading and writing into other subject areas other than English.
• How can we utilize the library books better for teaching English?
• How can we use computers and the EGranary and get the best out of it?
• How can we best teach phonetics? (It’s in our syllabus in Leh, grades 6-10)
• What is a good way to teach poetry? Teachers aren’t necessarily familiar with poetry and poetry needs to be read differently, not like a textbook but like a poem. What is a good way to teach how to read and understand poetry? What are the parts of a poem? What is poetry? How does poetry function?
As someone who knows the AES and Ladakhi teachers, and works in Ladakh, these workshops are a wonderful way to make a needed change in education in Ladakh. The evaluation information from September is enlightening and I hope it is shared with the Department of Education!
These are important ideas for literacy teachers everywhere! Your teaching is insiprational! Vanessa – Izmir