The Learning School Project 2 - Kinsale Community School 2010/2011
The Learning School Project 2 - Kinsale Community School 2010/2011
The Learning School Project 2 – Kinsale Community School 2010/2011 Section 1: Context of the School Kinsale Community School officially opened on August 1st 1996, following the amalgamation of Our Lady of the Rosary Secondary School and Kinsale Vocational School. The school is a rural co educational post primary community school offering both established Leaving Certificate and Junior Certificate programmes as well as Leaving Certificate Applied and the Leaving Certificate Vocational Programme. The school also offers FETAC certification courses and a variety of evening courses. The school accepts pupils of all academic abilities from all backgrounds.
Since its foundation Kinsale Community School has continued to grow and currently has a pupil population of 754 and approximately 72 staff members. For the academic year 2010/2011 Kinsale Community School has taken on 16 student teachers that are participating in Postgraduate Diploma in Education courses, in a variety of third level institutions nationwide. The school hosts student teachers of a variety of subjects from the Post Graduate Diploma in Education (PGDE) at NUI Cork and the Bachelor of Education (B.Ed) in Sports Studies and Physical Education also at NUI Cork, as well as students from the Higher Diploma in Arts for Art and Design Teachers at the CIT Crawford College of Art and Design, Cork.
Student teachers participating in the Bachelor of Sciences (B.Sc) in Physical Education and Sports Sciences at the University of Limerick and student teachers studying for the B.A in Education at St. Patrick’s College, Thurles are also training at Kinsale Community School. These student teachers engage in block release and do not do their teaching practice on a year long basis.
Student teachers are introduced to their parallel teacher at the start of the school year. Each student teacher is allocated a small portion of the teaching hours of their parallel teacher, with whom they are required to liaise. The parallel teacher is encouraged to keep in contact with the student teacher throughout the school year and to give advice where appropriate. The parallel teacher is asked to notify the Deputy Principal of any issue that concerns the performance of the student teacher. Kinsale Community School has 21 parallel teachers working with PGDE students this year. Page 1 of 73
The Learning School Project 2 – Kinsale Community School 2010/2011 Section 2: Rationale The Kinsale Community School Learning School Project has committed itself to mentoring and monitoring its PGDE students and assisting with their integration in the school. In recent years the number of PGDE students in Kinsale Community School has increased. It was felt that a more structured induction of PGDE students would enhance the learning experience of pupils and ensure that the prescribed work would be taught well and within the given time frame. This need was identified by staff and management.
This provided an impetus for participation in the Learning School Project 2.
In order to ensure consistency in learning among pupils and to minimise disruption caused by new and inexperienced teachers, methods of communication between parallel teachers and PGDE students needed to be addressed and enhanced. At the same time the school was mindful of the needs of PGDE students, and strove to allow them to benefit from a positive experience of teaching which in turn would improve the quality of learning in the classroom and maintain high standards of teaching and learning. In partaking in the Learning School Project 2, Kinsale Community School’s aim is to develop an effective induction programme for PGDE students and to define within this programme the role of the parallel teacher and the student teacher.
The creation of links between PGDE students, their parallel teacher and the whole staff body of the school is of ongoing paramount importance to the project.
In order for the project to succeed the input and commitment of the PGDE students, parallel teachers and whole staff body was required. Initially the project focused on selecting a team comprising five parallel teachers and their respective student teachers. The team was selected with the aim of ensuring that a cross section of subjects, experiences and third level institutions were represented. Objectives of project team This work was undertaken by Jean Gaffney (Teacher and School Planning Co-ordinator) and Joanne Scobie (Teacher) who were approached by Mr. Seán Ó’Broin, Principal, and took responsibility for the initiation, implementation and evaluation of the project.
The project was extended to a school based team made up of parallel teachers that had shown a particular interest in this project and their PGDE students.
The role of team members was to implement the project by attending meetings, liaising with PGDE students, completing questionnaires and sharing experiences and clarifying roles. The role of management was to facilitate the implementation of the project and to support the team. Results of this project will be used by management to create a template for prospective student teachers and parallel teachers in the future. Page 2 of 73
The Learning School Project 2 – Kinsale Community School 2010/2011 Methodology Between September 2010 and May 2011, an LSP2 meeting was held every Friday morning to discuss issues and monitor progress.
The team leaders also attended six LSP2 meetings at the West Cork Education Centre1 , Dunmanway, and three additional meetings were held at Kinsale Community School with LSP2 regional facilitators. The team’s initial action was to identify the concerns and expectations that PGDE students and parallel teachers had by virtue of their position. In consultation with management two surveys were designed, completed and collated. The results of this research formed the basis of the rest of the project (Appendices A and B) This was followed by a series of meetings with the PGDE students and parallel teachers, in order to air concerns, put forward suggestions and give feed back on surveys.
(Appendix C) Concerns that required action were addressed in the following ways. Drafting of a letter template (Appendix V) for use by PGDE students for the purpose of micro –teaching2 . This was to ensure continuity in communication with parents. This made PGDE students aware of and ensured the compliance with child protection policies. The possibility of class teachers distributing letters on behalf of the PGDE student was raised in order to avoid discrepancies.
Practical advice was provided in relation to locating and using data projectors and a school camcorder and other school equipment. A two hour behaviour management3 workshop was organised and attended by all full time PGDE students and a questionnaire completed (Appendix D). To assist in the identification of staff and PGDE students and enhance relations the idea of using reference photographs was mooted by the team and approved by management. The limitations of space in an overcrowded building required the provision for immediate booking of office space for unannounced inspection visits from PGDE course tutors.
A room booking template was designed and a procedure for booking a room was put in place.
Following this a meeting was held between the Team Leaders and the parallel teachers. Ways to improve communication between parallel teachers and PGDE students were explored. A PGDE student/ Parallel Teacher Liaison Form was designed and distributed accordingly 1 The West Cork Education Centre is part of a national network of teacher education support centres. whose aim is a to promote the continuing professional development of teachers 2 Micro teaching involves video recording of actual lessons in order to give feedback to the student teacher about effective strategies in the classroom.
3 The workshop was organised by The Provisional Development Services for Teachers, a state funded body set up to provide support to education programmes.
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The Learning School Project 2 – Kinsale Community School 2010/2011 (Appendix E) This method of communication was piloted and feedback was acquired via survey, and then revised accordingly (Appendix F). It was unanimously agreed that such a procedure should be implemented in future to ensure formalised documentation of such communications. A number of meetings with the team were held to explore the roles of the PGDE student and the parallel teachers. Results of surveys, the induction policy at Kinsale Community School and teacher and management input were considered. These would be seen as a crucial element of the new induction policy for PGDE students.
The suggested roles were provisional and not exhaustive and would therefore be reviewed and revised as appropriate throughout the course of the rest of the project.
In order to gain an insight into the development of PGDE students over the year a final survey was issued to PGDE students (Appendix H). The questions asked were to ascertain if their perspectives had changed or altered based on experiences in Kinsale Community School throughout the year. A comparative study was made between this survey and the survey issued in October 2010 which had posed similar questions (Appendix S). Concrete roles were defined and the induction policy for PGDE students was reviewed (Appendix W) and amended in light of the Learning School Project. A series of guidelines to accompany these roles were drawn up (Appendix T & U).
A detailed action plan for the project can be found in Appendix H. A podcast outlining a brief introduction to the project is available. Resources A number of resources were key to the implementation of the project, first and foremost the participation of the PGDE students and their parallel teachers. This ensured that the project was relevant to the particular school and its own staff and pupils. Management was a vital resource in providing support and allocating time to see the project through. The West Cork Education Centre in Dunmanway facilitated six LSP2 meetings for participants of the Learning School Project.
At these meetings, LSP2 team leaders from a number of other West Cork Schools were given the opportunity to share their experiences of their respective projects. These meetings were useful to allow the team to reflect on current activities and to seek advice and feedback on how to move forward. The Learning School hubs also provided the team with the necessary framework on which to structure the project, as well as providing practical advice.
The Provisional Development Services for Teachers facilitated a behaviour management workshop for the PGDE students at Kinsale Community School. This workshop was organised to address concerns of PGDE students about how to manage pupil behaviour. The workshop lasted for two hours and offered practical advice on common problems encountered by student teachers in the classroom. The evaluation of the efficacy of the workshop (Appendix L) reaffirmed the need for a structured induction programme for PGDE students and informed the next stages of the project.
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The Learning School Project 2 – Kinsale Community School 2010/2011 The project has been informed by literature on mentoring programmes in other countries such as the UK and in particular the system of induction followed in German schools.
Publications by the Department of Education and Skills were also consulted, in particular the Department of Education and Skills Child Protection Policy and Procedures, and the Learning to Teach Study Executive Summary by the School of Education, University College Cork.
Policy documents specific to Kinsale Community School such as the Induction Policy for PGDE students and the Staff Handbook were also referred to. Data Collection Data was collected through the design, issue and collation of a number of surveys that were specific to each stage of the project. In order to provide meaningful and current data the surveys were designed to be relevant and as concise as possible. Each survey was handed out to participants individually and its purpose explained to participants. Four of the surveys were designed and issued by the team, while an evaluation survey was collated following the behaviour management workshop facilitated by Provisional Development Services for Teachers (Appendix L).
Two of the four surveys contained qualitative data only and these were instrumental in shaping the project (Appendices J & M). Participants gave responses that were very much based on their own personal experiences and provided an invaluable insight into the roles and responsibilities of both student teachers and parallel teachers at Kinsale Community School. The remaining two surveys provided a mixture of qualitative and quantitative data. While the qualitative data provided a context within which PDGE students and their parallel teachers were working, the quantitative data acted as indicators which would steer the project (Appendices K & M).
All data collected confirmed and reaffirmed the importance and necessity of the project. Results All surveys were analysed by the team leaders and this analysis informed the next stages of the project. The first survey, designed to determine PGDE students concerns and expectations as student teachers revealed a myriad of qualitative data, which on analysis, revealed the PGDE students to be a group of motivated individuals with a heavy work load and a strong desire to teach well (Appendix O). While many needs of PGDE students were met at the school there was an overriding concern about behaviour management.
In order to meet this need a date for a behaviour management workshop was organised. Analysis of feed back from this workshop demonstrated the need for such a workshop to become an integral part of the PGDE induction programme at Kinsale Community School (Appendix Q) Page 5 of 73
The Learning School Project 2 – Kinsale Community School 2010/2011 Following the initial survey of PGDE students, it was decided that it would be valuable to conduct a similar survey at the end of the school year, to assess any of the actions initiated by the Learning School Project 2. Analysis of data collected from a survey designed to assess the needs and concerns of parallel teachers produced both qualitative and quantitative data (Appendix O & P). One interesting outcome was the fact that only 54% of parallel teachers saw their role as being clearly defined and there were differing conceptions as to what this role entailed (Appendix P).
This led to the conclusion that roles needed to be clarified and more information be disseminated to parallel teachers, in particular what exactly is required in the role of mentor. A major concern was that fact that currently, meetings between parallel teachers and PGDE students are often sporadic. They depend on availability of time, the needs of the PGDE student and the willingness of the parallel teacher to make themselves available. Based on this analysis we recommend that a new system be implemented in this area to ensure regular structured contact is made.
This survey also revealed data that reflects the willingness of the parallel teacher to develop professionally. Many parallel teachers saw the PGDE students as an asset to the school and commented on the many positive experiences that they bring to the school that enhance learning, from which parallel teachers can learn. However, parallel teachers raised concerns about the inexperience of PGDE students and stressed the need for them to be monitored and guided. There was some concern about the additional workload that this would involve. In order to address the aforementioned needs, a structured approach to monitoring was identified by the parallel teachers and suggestions for addressing this issue were piloted.
A parallel teacher/PGDE student liaison form was tested (Appendix D) and the response from all parties was positive (Appendix R). 100% of participants agreed that this was beneficial and on analysis it appears that this approach would ultimately ensure consistency in pupils’ learning. It was felt that completing it weekly may put undue pressure on PGDE students and completing it monthly may result in some material being omitted. After long discussion it was agreed that fortnightly /bi monthly would be the best option. Provisional dates for meetings between PGDE students and their parallel teachers will be scheduled at the beginning of the school year.
On analysis of the final survey given to PGDE students following almost a whole school year at Kinsale Community School (Appendix S) it was clear that while PGDE students had become confident and had developed their own teaching strategies, there was still a lack of clarity and definition as to what their roles and that of the parallel teacher were. Communication remained sporadic and informal. Due to the initiatives introduced by LSP2 concrete roles of PGDE students and parallel teachers have been suggested and drawn up for modification and approval by management (Appendix T). It is hoped that these roles will give clarity to PGDE students about what is expected of them, as well as emphasising the importance of the active participation of the parallel teacher in mentoring the PGDE student.
Accompanying these roles is a series of Page 6 of 73
The Learning School Project 2 – Kinsale Community School 2010/2011 guidelines for mentoring programmes (Appendix U). These guidelines provide practical suggestions as to how to fulfil the role of PGDE student and parallel teacher. As a result of this a comprehensive induction programme has been suggested that is informed by concrete experiences. Both the qualitative and quantitative data produced by the surveys have been instrumental in its creation. This project has made the staff more aware of the importance of developing a reciprocal relationship with PGDE students. The project has affirmed the long term and short term benefits of mentoring PGDE students effectively.
Section 3 The project has impacted on the school management, the immediate team members, parallel teachers and the PGDE students and has initiated the development of a more comprehensive induction programme and mentoring system for PGDE students, which will enhance learning in the classroom. The immediate team members, who are also parallel teachers, reflected on their responsibility as a parallel teacher, and some team members stated that it also made them reflect on their own approaches to teaching. Their willingness to partake and their continuous involvement throughout the year is testament to the fact that they saw its benefits.
Contributions from parallel teachers and PGDE students have provided a concrete foundation from which management can develop its policies and programmes. The PGDE students embraced the project with enthusiasm and provided honest and thought provoking answers. Management identified the need for the project and were supportive throughout. It was also noted by the Department of Education and Skills officials who came to inspect the school as part of a Management, Leadership and Learning inspection.
As team members, leading the project has been a learning experience, having gained valuable insights into the concerns and needs of student teachers and their mentors. Staff members and management were supportive of the project, however it was often difficult to find time for the whole team to meet, due to busy schedules. Despite this, much has been achieved and it is hoped the outcomes of the project will be sustainable. The results of the project will be shared with staff at a staff meeting and will be presented to the Board of Management. It is also envisaged that third level institutions which provide student teacher education be informed of this project.
Because of the introduction of the project, all staff members have become more sensitive to the needs of not only PGDE students, but also new staff members that join the school. It is also foreseen that it will assist with the integration of substitute teachers and teaching assistants from abroad. It is hoped that in reading this project other schools will gain an insight into both the challenges and benefits of a mentoring system and will be in a position to review their own practices in light of this.
Appendices Project Methodology Page 7 of 73
The Learning School Project 2 – Kinsale Community School 2010/2011 Appendix A – Initial survey of PGDE students (template) Appendix B – Initial survey of parallel teachers (template) Appendix C – Sample of Minutes of Meetings Appendix D – Survey of Behaviour Management Workshop (template) Appendix E - PGDE student and parallel teacher liaison form (Pilot) (template) Appendix F – PGDE student and parallel teacher liaison form (revised) (template) Appendix G – Questionnaire feed back on PGDE student and parallel teacher liaison form (template) Appendix H – End of year questionnaire for PGDE students (template) Data Collection Appendix I - LSP2 Action Plan 2010/2011 Appendix J - Initial survey of PGDE students - responses Appendix K - Initial survey of parallel teachers - responses Appendix L - Survey of Behaviour Management Workshop -responses Appendix M - Questionnaire feed back on PGDE student & parallel teacher liaison form (responses) Appendix N - End of year questionnaire for PGDE students (responses) Results Appendix O - Initial survey of PGDE teachers –responses with analysis by LSP 2 team Appendix P - Initial survey of parallel teachers – responses with analysis by LSP 2 team Appendix Q- Survey of Behaviour Management Workshop –responses with analysis.
Appendix R- Questionnaire - feed back on PGDE student and parallel teacher liaison form (analysis) Appendix S- End of year questionnaire for PGDE students (responses with analysis) Appendix T- Suggested roles for PGDE students and parallel teachers Appendix U- Elements to Consider when Developing Teaching Practice Competences. Appendix V- Micro teaching letter template Appendix W – Amended induction policy for Student teachers Appendix A – Initial survey of PGDE students. 01.10.2010.
1. Why do you want to be a teacher? 2. From your experience as a pupil what is (a) a good teacher; (b) a poor teacher? Page 8 of 73
The Learning School Project 2 – Kinsale Community School 2010/2011 3. Why did you pick K.C.S.? Any particular reason(s)? 4. How did you feel when you visited the school last May? 5. What were your feelings immediately prior to opening and especially on your first morning in school? 6. How did you feel going in/coming out the door of your first class? 7. Has your experiences in KCS since Sept altered these feelings (questions 4, 5 and 6) if so please explain? 8.
How realistic are induction courses organised by your university? 9. What difficulties are you facing in the classroom? 10. What difficulties do you think are coming down the track? Do you have any one particular nightmare?
11. What do you want from induction in K.C.S.? 12. What contribution do you see yourself making to KCS? 13. How can your parallel teacher fulfil his/her role? 14. How important is class preparation? 15. Have you put any thought into seating arrangements? 16. Have you put any thought into your style of questioning? 17. Has self analysis any role to play in your teaching? 18. How would define effective teaching? 19.How will you know that your students have learned what you’re trying to teach? 20. How do you know when a lesson has been successful? 21. What do you hope to gain from your year as a PGDE student? 22.
What do you consider to be your most valuable resource to date?
Any other comments you wish to make at this time Appendix B – Initial survey of parallel teachers The Learning School Project 2 8th November 2010 Page 9 of 73