Embedding Key Skills in our school Irene Stone St Marks Community School How did it start? • April 2012 – Network School, consensus amongst staff • Junior Cycle Committee Set up – At least one teacher from each department volunteered • May 2012 – First committee meeting at lunchtime; – Link Person selected – Framework discussed • Decided which area we would focus on for Sept 2012. • Collaborative decision - Key Skills, in particular we would focus on “Working With Others” initially. Subject Department Meetings • Committee members fed back information from committee meeting to their subject colleagues. • Everyone was encouraged to familiarise themselves with framework document and “Working With Others” toolkit. • Planning Folders to include Framework doc, Key Skills Toolkits etc. • Junior Cycle reform to be on the agenda for all Department meetings (Croke Park time) Staff Information Sessions.. • Early May 2012 – Croke Park (CP) hour used to inform staff about.. – Junior Cycle Framework – Junior Cycle Committee – Where to find all the resources http://www.juniorcycle.ie CPD - Key Skills Day • Late May 2012- Staff day; morning with Denise Kelly, NCCA on Key Skills • Modelled the “Working with Others” key skill • All staff given hardcopy of “Working with Others” toolkit. (draft) How were staff motivated initially? • Devoted Croke Park time to JC reform • Slowly familiarised staff with content and changes taking one key skill at a time • Teacher from each department involved in committee • Constant reminders “we are doing a lot of this already” and “present system not working” 1st Term – 2012/13 • Croke Park (CP) Hour – information session; reminder to staff and updates. • Committee Meeting at lunchtime • 5 CP hours dedicated to Restorative Practice, good grounding for Key Skills development especially “Working with Others” • 3 CP hours for implementing the key skill “Working with Others” in subject department groups. • Rationale for working groups: working relationships already established (not threatening), subject specific materials developed (ready for use) “For next week, each teacher aim to work on developing one activity (or one that is happening already) relating to the key skill “Working with Others”. Decide to work with one or two classes (1st or 2nd years). You can find ideas under the resources section on Junior Cycle website.” Sharing ideas - Examples used by teachers in maths department: Next session… • Sharing Experiences amongst ourselves • Edmodo group set up… • http://www.edmodo.com Edmodo • Also useful as a place for filing resources in the library Reflections.. • Students encouraged to reflect on new teaching methodologies that were happening in the classroom. • Their responses were motivating for staff. Student Reflection Sheet Give a brief description of how you participated in class today… The main thing I learned is.... I liked/didn’t like this way of learning because.... The skills I developed were... Students reflect on Edmodo… Feedback from teachers • “I am still awaiting all the reflection sheets back but the ones I have seen have been helpful for my own focus on what needs to be done before June” English teacher • “Working with others – teachers regularly use group work and pair work in class. Strategies such as think, pair and share are regularly employed and have proven very effective for learning within the classroom. Teachers have also used the jigsaw method of learning and noted that students enjoyed this way of learning – reflection sheets were distributed after the lessons” History teacher • “Working collaboratively has gone brilliantly. Joining classes together –excellent. Learning and discovering ideas from other teachers.” Maths teacher • “It feels like we are doing our dip again” Science teacher • “Initial reaction was good. Level of responsibility taken on by individuals and departments is very good. School is very open to change and its given a lot of teachers a new impetus in their day to day work. General staff response has been quite enthusiastic but some may feel like the process has stalled in terms of the next target” History teacher The need to move on.. 2nd Term • January 2013 – General consensus amongst committee members was the need to move on. • Feedback from staff was that enough time had been spent on “Working with Others” and “Reflections” • Feb 2013 – “Managing Myself” • 4 Croke Park Sessions • This time we worked in mixed groups, still in library. • Rationale for working groups: SPHE teacher in each group, sharing ideas from different groups, refreshing • Other staff members “led” some sessions Teachers working in groups.. • Warm up first • Identify which elements of the key skill “Managing Myself” we are working on already. Using placemats. • Each group to identify one aspect of “Managing Myself” to work on for the following week. • Report back and share. Identify which elements of the key skill “Managing Myself” we are working on already Identify one aspect of “Managing Myself” to work on for the following week…. Group Committee Member(s) Task Elements of Key Skill “Managing Myself” 1 “Tree Idea” With tutor groups one goal a week to be put up on the tree “Setting and Achieving Personal Goals” 2 "KWL" "Knowing myself" "Being able to reflect on my learning". 3 Smiley Faces 4 “Individualise” what we are doing this week after our collective 'tree' approach last time. 5 Traffic Lights 6 Getting students to assess each other 7 Traffic Light System; objectives at start of class and selfreflection We are each going to try and come up with a methodology to highlight 'Being able to reflect on my own learning'. "Knowing myself" "Being able to reflect on my learning". Examples of “Managing Myself” from around school.. Art teacher came up with idea of students hanging their “goals” on a tree as part of Managing Myself History teacher adapted idea by using a plant! “Traffic Lights” I got frames in IKEA for about a €1.00 each with one side red and one side green, … students can turn around to red if they do not understand what they are meant to be doing. ..has worked really well especially with the quieter students who might not like to put up their hand in front of everyone. KWL in Maths Managing Myself Knowing Myself Managing Myself Setting and achieving personal goals Managing Myself Being able to reflect on my own learning KWL in Business Studies Posters Working With Others Being Creative Managing Information and Thinking Communicating History Projects Being Creative Managing Myself Managing Information and Thinking Communicating Apart from meetings what else has helped? Noticeboards in staffroom Key Skills Posters… in classrooms… On desks… In corridors… “Knock-on effect” of working on Key Skills.. • Embedding other key skills. • Teachers already looking at changing assessment; use of rubrics/ poster & project work / AFL and continuous assessment. • Work on Key Skills complements other whole school initiatives, e.g. Literacy (Keywords focus, students reflections), effective use of journals • Developing best practices for continuous assessment/self evaluation from students which support School Self Evaluation. • The renewed focus amongst staff members on teaching and learning has created great energy! Challenges • Other initiatives, e.g. Numeracy/Literacy/ School Self Evaluation. They seemed to be separate initially but now we see that they are interlinked. Challenge was to get staff to see connection. • Demand for CP time. • Adopting new practices in an environment where the assessment remains unchanged/Exam pressure. (However teachers are beginning to see benefits of explicit work on Key Skills) • Altering teaching style and changing learning mind-set of students from traditional methods. In summary.. • Why Key Skills? – “what does the research say?” The validity of the key skills approach, European context (http://keyconet.eun.org/) • Introduce key skills slowly. • Allow teachers to work with their preferred choice of class initially. • Set up a “Junior Cycle Committee” • Set up a VLE (e.g. Edmodo or Moodle) to allow staff to communicate ideas with one another. • Create awareness around school e.g. posters around school and in classrooms, “live” noticeboard in staffroom. • During CP hours, the activities model the key skills e.g. group work, activity based learning, reflections. • Subject planning: Key Skills Toolkits in every planning folder. Encourage staff to keep records of reflections of methodologies. • Distribute student reflection sheets, their responses are often surprisingly encouraging. • School Self Evaluation/ Assessment changes in future – This all ties in!