Home' Teacher : September 2009 Contents LOOKING INTO PRACTICE 41
I assumed that we'd share our ideas about
teaching the content and develop common
assessment tasks, something that wasn't the
norm for the Science staff. I knew that the
changes meant that we'd have a challenging
year ahead, with a lot of work required to
get everything set up, but it seemed a prom-
ising start. Staff seemed glad about develop-
ing a shared vision.
Alarm bells start ringing
As the new school year began, a lot of good
work was done. Year level teams were work-
ing productively. Our fortnightly meetings
were starting to run well. Then, over time,
some comments about textbooks started
After the first one, I thought, 'Okay,
that's interesting.' After two or three more, I
began to see a pattern. Obviously there were
some differences between how I thought
about teaching and learning activities in the
classroom how some of my new colleagues
thought about them.
It appeared to me that lots of busy work
was being done in classes. In addition, there
seemed to be a pressure to summatively
assess all of the student work, using assess-
ment tasks that didn't include many higher-
This wasn't my vision for Science teaching
and learning. I wanted rich tasks to be hap-
pening in the classroom, not just reading and
answering questions from the textbook.
I wanted to challenge students to think
deeply about what they were learning. I
wanted to encourage students to value the
learning for its own sake, not just because it
was 'on the test.' Couldn't other assessment
techniques be used to promote meaningful
I wondered how was I going to promote
change in the teaching and learning culture.
I wouldn't succeed, I realised, by imposing
more change, that's for sure. Staff members
had already worked so hard on implement-
ing the changes I'd introduced.
My approach to leadership is to lead
by example, to bring people with me, not
impose change that will be resented. How
could I ask them to do more?
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