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Designing Professional Development for Teachers

April 20, 2008 Leave a comment

Today’s teachers must prepare all students to understand, master, and apply important concepts and skills in mathematics and science and become able problem solvers and inquirers. As someone who plans professional development, you are in a unique position to meet these challenges by designing more powerful professional learning programs–programs that deepen teachers’ content and pedagogical knowledge, improve teaching skills, explore student thinking, and build a learning community.

Designing Professional Development for Teachers of Science and Mathematics, now in its second edition, guides professional developers, administrators, and teacher leaders to design learning experiences for teachers that are directly linked to improving student learning. It offers a framework for planning professional development, summarizes key research, and introduces critical issues. This book suggests many strategies to introduce professional learning into the daily work of teachers. Learn to design professional development programs that incorporate

  • Mentoring
  • Immersion experiences
  • Action research projects
  • Teacher-directed study groups
  • Lesson study
Categories: Book Review

McKinsey Report

February 22, 2008 Leave a comment

The McKinsey Report : “How the world’s best-performing schools system come out on top” is the result of research carried out by McKinsey & Company between May 2006 and March 2007. Its objective has been to understand why the world’s top-performing school systems perform so very much better than most others and why some educational reforms succeed so spectacularly, when most others fail.

In the course of this research they are visited schools from Wellington to Helsinki and from Singapore to Boston in order to benchmark more than two dozen school systems in Asia, Europe, North America and the Middle East.

Conclusions:

“The quality of an education system cannot exceed the quality of its teacher”

“The only way to improve outcomes is to improve instruction”

“High performance requires every child to succeed”

Below is the Executive Summary of the report:

Education reform is top of the agenda of almost every country in the world. Yet despite massive increases in spending (last year, the world’s governments spent $2 trillion on education) and ambitious attempts at reform, the performance of many school systems has barely improved in decades. This is all the more surprising because there are wide variations in the quality of education. For instance, in international assessments, less than one percent of African and Middle Eastern children perform at or above the Singaporean average. Nor is this solely the result of the level of investment. Singapore, one of the world’s top performers, spends less on primary education than do 27 of the 30 countries in the OECD.

Changing what happens in the hearts and minds of millions of children – the main charge of any school system – is no simple task. That some do so successfully while others do not is indisputable. So why is it that some school systems consistently perform better and improve faster than others?

There are many different ways to improve a school system, and the complexity of this task and the uncertainty about outcomes is rightly reflected in the international debate about how this should best be done. To find out why some schools succeed where others do not, we studied twenty-five of the world’s school systems, including ten of the top performers. We examined what these high-performing school systems have in common and what tools they use to improve student outcomes.

The experiences of these top school systems suggests that three things matter most:

  1. getting the right people to become teachers,
  2. developing them into effective instructors and,
  3. ensuring that the system is able to deliver the best possible instruction for every child.

These systems demonstrate that the best practices for achieving these three things work irrespective of the culture in which they are applied. They demonstrate that substantial improvement in outcomes is possible in a short period of time and that applying these best practices universally could have enormous impact in improving failing school systems, wherever they might be located.

Categories: Book Review

The New Meaning of Educational Change

February 4, 2008 Leave a comment
Fullan
This book is a must-read for anyone interested in school change and reform. Fullan has provided a comprehensive overview as well as a host of unique ideas. This was not intended to be a casual read. It is a serious reference. Below one of the review I quoted from other reader.


Why the hell is it that the more things change, the more things seem to stay the same? Educational change expert Michael Fullan takes a crack at this proverbial school reform conundrum in the third edition of his book, The New Meaning of Educational Change. According to him, “Reform is not just putting into place the latest policy. It means changing the cultures of the classrooms, the schools, the districts, the universities, and so on. There is more to educational change than most people realize” (p. 7). Restructuring schools and education has been relatively simple, says Fullan; re-culturing them has not. For change to be substantive and long lasting, improving and strengthening relationships among various stakeholders is the key.


Fullan divides his book into three parts: understanding educational change; change at the local level; and change at the global level. In the first part, he distinguishes between subjective and objective meanings of educational change, but in an awkward manner. Drawing from Dan Lortie’s work on the sociology of teaching, his main argument is that teaching is a lonely profession without a well-developed shared technical culture, which leads invariably to widespread uncertainty, fragmentation, and haphazardness–all impediments to educational change. He does not explicitly describe the differences or importance of either concept, but leaves the reader with the ultimate impression that three dimensions undergird the implementation of change: “the possible use of… new or revised materials… teaching approaches… and the alteration of beliefs” (p. 39). According to Fullan, most educational reforms are ephemeral or shallow because they have grossly overlooked the importance of the third dimension (beliefs), unsurprisingly. He often distinguishes between change and the “process” of change with a 25/75 rule: educational change is 25% structural (ideas), 75% re-culturing (processes).


Fullan uses the last two parts to provide insights about adoption and implementation of policies geared toward educational change through the lens of the various stakeholders involved (teacher, principal, parent, student, school board, etc.). He is careful not to make sweeping generalizations, and has a nose for local idiosyncrasies. His most pronounced clarion call, however, is for the scaling up of whole school reform and professional learning communities (the latter fits well with his claim that beliefs are the hardest dimension to alter). Shared meaning of educational change is only possible through allowing stakeholders more transparency into each other’s roles and promoting more collaboration between groups.



In each chapter, Fullan shores up his arguments with major research studies, and often expresses the findings axiomatically: For example, poorly performing schools showed “little or no attention to schoolwide problems” (p. 121). This is not a bad thing. It just makes the reader think, “Duh!?!?” Somewhat annoying was Fullan’s tendency to whitewash other findings using fluffy, catch-phrases with no meat. For instance, in discussing the efficacy of the principal, he writes: “effective leaders are energy creators” (p. 149). Overall, however, for a book about a complex phenomenon like change, it is highly readable, consistent, and insightful. Those expecting a recipe book about wielding change in schools might be somewhat disappointed; however, those who just need a little inspiration and conceptual insight might find exactly what they are looking for.
Categories: Book Review

Buku Pembangunan Profesional Guru

January 22, 2008 3 comments

guru.jpg

Buku ini akan di terbitkan oleh Utusan Publications & Distributors Sdn Bhd. Objektif utama buku ini ialah:

  • Memperluaskan kefahaman tentang konsep pembangunan profesional guru yang tidak terbatas dengan konsep konvenional “latihan dalam perkhidmatan”.
  • Memperkenalkan latar teori-teori pembangunan profesional guru.
  • Membincangkan beberapa kaedah pembangunan profesional guru berasaskan model-model yang sering digunakan terutamanya di peringkat sekolah.
  • Memperkenalkan model penilaian pembangunan profesional guru.
  • Membincang gagasan pembangunan profesional berasaskan sekolah serta mencadangkan aspek-aspek penting pengurusan di peringkat sekolah yang dapat menjayakan gagasan tersebut.
Categories: Book Review
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