We have had an excellent past few days here at Nanjing International School as the entire week has been devoted to professional development with the main theme being how to provide more effective feedback and assessment to our students. As a whole staff we met a number of times during the last 5 days to discuss and come up with essential agreements on what makes for good feedback and how this feedback can be improved upon in order to enhance the learning experiences that we have our students engage in.
In groups teachers from both elementary and primary were busily working away at defining key elements of feedback that can be improved upon and one of the tasks required each group to come up with a visual representation of what good feedback should look like within a classroom. I took some photos of these visual representations and as you can see from the pictures below some excellent discussion must have gone into the process of creating a visual definition of what good feedback looks like.
Our director, Laurie McLellan, had his own presentation this morning in which he discussed with the staff how fortunate international schools are to be able to be in a position to create their own policies and make positive changes within their own professional learning communities. Establishing a solid professional learning community requires a total commitment to collaboration. Laurie also spoke about ‘Best Practice and Next Practice’ within education.
As a result of his presentation, I immediately began to reflect on the fact that I have always made a big push on PYP PE with Andy to share my best practice and have encouraged other PE teachers around the world to share their best practice as well. I have always said that we all highly benefit from both a personal and professional standpoint when we share.
It’s the concept of ‘Next Practice’ that really got me thinking and reflecting. To me ‘Next Practice’ implies that even our very ‘Best Practice’ needs constant refining, re-shaping, and re-moulding as we move forward within our profession. Although I feel as though I am good at what I do, I need to find further inspiration to continually change and refine my own practice and this can only be achieved through constant reflection, a willingness to learn from my colleagues and from others who visit my website, and to take constant initiative in defining areas of my own teaching that I must improve on.
Over the years, I have heard so many times that as PE teachers our job is to keep our students active for as long a possible in a class. I have received countless emails asking how long my assessment takes and how often I assess. I always appreciate these questions, but would strongly argue that we also have a huge responsibility to not only keep our students moving, but to also keep their minds as active as possible.
This can only be achieved by creating an environment that focusses heavily on problem-solving, collaboration, communication, and cooperation. In order to make this happen, time needs to be taken to have important discussions, to allow for our students to share their important thoughts with one another, to give ample opportunity for reflective writing, and to give them multiple ways of showing their understanding of the big concepts in the units that we teach. How can you convert your best practice into your next practice in PE? I would love to hear your thoughts on this....