I like to attend personal development (PD) workshops and I’ve been lucky to see a fair amount this current year. Credit is definitely due to the practitioner if they have made the individual self-reflect and analyse where they could inspire and motivate to attempt new ideas without making them feel like what they’ve been doing previously is something inappropriate or wrong.
My reaction to post PD’s tend to result in myself desiring to passionately reflect and share my experiences with others such as co-workers, colleagues, families, partner etc. Quite often these interactions generate provoking, constructive and encourage positive conversations. However, in the 5 years, I’ve been with my current Thai school, I have yet to witness these style of workshops.
I, therefore, wanted to provide an opportunity to share my experiences, provide a forum for teachers to share their ideas and give my colleagues an idea what my classes are like. I didn’t want to come across and an arrogant individual who felt like he knew everything and needed to tell others how to teach. I just wanted to share my experiences and listen to other experiences.
Throughout the year I’ve learnt a great deal of information and I felt I had the tough task of condensing vast ideas in just under 2 hours. I also was given the challenge to incorporate the Thai administration’s expectations which were to provide a workshop about sharing ideas on classroom management. Personally, I really enjoy PD’s which are interactive, creative and practice their chosen strategies within the workshop. Thus, my challenge towards myself was to simulate as best I could the strategies and ideas I use in my classes in this setting.
I aimed to make the workshop relatable and useful for new and current staff. I decided the themes I could focus on is Growth vs Fixed Mindsets, Classroom Management and setting High Expectations.
After introductions, I first started with a survey asking questions to allow them to self-reflect and respond anonymously. Along with demonstrating a tool, I use with my students.
The purpose of the survey was to help generate feedback on their perspectives and to visually see anonymously what others felt. Some individuals had to share devices to log on, therefore out of the 80’ish people attended, 59 people were logged in and connected.
“intelligence is set in stone” – do you agree or disagree?
A large majority agreed with this statement. This helped me assess what kind of mindset the large majority may have in comparison to the minority.
“intelligence can be developed” – agree or disagree?
Interestingly, a large majority agreed with this statement. In my opinion, I believe outcome contradicted the previous statement. However, its also possible they hold a different definition or opinion on what they believe the word intelligence is in comparison to mine. I would have loved to discuss this further but we had to move on.
If you were a student and were given a choice to complete a Personal Assessment (P.A), how would you like to complete it?
“Write it” – blog/essay/post
“Draw it” – draw/paint/colour/mindmap
In a group and use Powerpoint/Presentation tool
- In a group and “Act it out” – dance/act/performance
Facinatingly, the choices were among the staff were evenly distributed, 25% each for each choice. I gave my feedback to the group and elicited how it shows how different as individuals we are and how beneficial it could be to provide choices for your students.
In general, the feedback I often hear from previous workshops given by the school is, “it’s all well and good but it doesn’t apply to me” or “I teach _____ and it won’t work”.
I showed this picture to my colleagues and requested read and then turn and talk to their friends to discuss what mindset they believe they are in. I found this important because in general, we face many obstacles and challenges and my approach to this is what kind of person are you when it happens? Will you get frustrated and give up? Or are you going to confront the challenge, make mistakes and learn from them to become better?
I believed it worked as the effect I wanted was for people to accept how there may be things where they may feel fixed and others where they are open. I suggested how my challenge to them is how do you think you could apply or adapt the strategies/ideas for your learning environment?
I provided two videos on classroom management and requested the staff to share their thoughts after. The links are provided below.
I showed an example of how I collaborate with my students with rules and described how I have the students write them on the first page of their books from day one. Alternatively, I would love to have students creatively display this, in and out the classroom but given the challenges of how the Thai administration expects classroom to look, it’s not possible. I explained how I had to adapt as long as I can acheive the goals set.
One of my goals are for the students and I to collaborate what is appropriate in my classroom and what are the consequences for not following them.
I find students take on ownership and responsibility when they collaborate with you on the class rules. Of course, we get the odd joke like “more free time” etc and laughing along with these student jokes are fine! Just still keep them on track.
Overall, I believe this works for me because I set what my expectations are and they’re available to be referred to should we need to. You are also giving the students the choice how they want to learn in the classroom and are given an open forum for what their boundaries are along with the consequences for crossing them. Having these rules written made my learning environment for the previous two years more efficient as it saves time on lecturing where the time could be used more effectively for learning.
Lastly, I elicited on what are High Expectations. To help students recognize and understand what is specifically expected of them in order to complete tasks and or to achieve the goals you have set.
The colleagues already had their own groups of 10 people. I assigned each group one strategy each which could help them maintain High Expectations for their students;
- No opt out
- Right is right
- Stretch it
- Format matters
- Without apology
I alotted 20 minutes for the staff to research what the strategies are by using their devices and summarise their understanding to the group. Also within the time, they needed to choose one assessment given on the slide as a group to demonstrate to their other colleagues what they found.
I walked around and monitored and attempted to show what I would normally do when facilitating a class. I announced the time remaining regularly for everyone to hear to keep them focused and on track with their task. Along with visiting each group to evaluate their progress.
Once the time ended, all the groups got the opportunity to display their findings in whichever form of assessment they desired.
Unfortunately, I didn’t get pictures of all the groups as I was so involved in listening and observing everyone’s findings. Luckily, a teacher recorded a group who decided to “act it out” for their findings.
Act it out – Part 1 Class setting without High Expectation strategy
Act it out – Part 2 Class setting with High Expectation strategy
Overall, all colleagues were very supportive of each group and gave feedback on their findings within their assessments. I was very proud to observe how my colleagues starting to adopt a more growth mindset within researching these strategies. I started to hear “I work in Kindergarten and wondered how this would this apply to me? How can I use it?” The staff also recognised how the strategies are not individualised, but a collaboration of ideas on how to be consistent with making sure you hold High Expectations over your students within the classroom.
I confessed how these were the strategies I studied and how there are more to help inspire them to be consistent with maintaining their High Expectations for their students.
Setting High Expectations – Flipsnack link from one of my assessments.
I finally ended the day by requesting everyone to reflect on the past today’s session.
It was great to hear some of the feedback given by the staff who came and spoke to me personally. I wished we had more time to get reflective feedback from everyone as a forum but we, unfortunately, ran out of time. Based on the feedback I received, I know I have achieved my goal in sharing my experiences and inspiring them to adopt towards a growth mindset on their future. I thoroughly enjoyed my time there, I wish them all good luck in their future and I hope they manage to be consistent with the high expectations they set for their students.
Special thanks to everyone who attended and participated on the day. Additionally, thank you Paul and Bo for providing the opportunity.
Dweck, C. (2006). Mindset: The new psychology of success. USA: Ballantine Books.
Lemov, D. (2012, November). Setting High Academic Expectations from Teach Like a Champion. Retrieved from teachlikeachampion.com/wp-content/uploads/Lemov-Chapter-1.pdf
Marzano, R. (2007). The art and science of teaching. Alexandria, Virginia USA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.
Some helpful websites to look into
- create.kahoot.it – Make your own Quiz on Kahoot
- edutopia.org – teacher/education website
- teachingchannel.org – teacher/education website