Category Archives: Reflection

Learning to Lead, Leading to Learn.

Over the last year, I have developed as a teacher and leader within my school. The work I have done has seen me deliver CPD to colleagues within my school but also in the wider community at feeder schools and other senior schools in the area.

In August of 2016 I successfully completed a course to become a Google Certified Educator Level 2. This course has allowed me to develop some advance practice using and helping to improve some of the features of Google Apps for Education.

As the summer holidays ended, I decided I was ready to undertake the BCS CAS Master Teacher Certificate. This course is designed to stretch and challenge teachers of computer science to go beyond what is required of the various exam board specifications at GCSE and begin to create learning material which can support students to think computationally. There is also an element of the course which examines pedagogy and relies on classroom based research.

The research I elected to carry out in my classroom involved using a paradigm of computer science teaching which in industry is more common. Students were paired and set challenges which required them to support each other, however the student who was identified as less able controlled the computer with instruction from the more able student. I feel the most important aspect of the research study was the reflection that occurred because of the outcomes achieved by the students. Through this reflection I have adjusted the way I approach the teaching of problem solving in the class and it has developed into exercises which involve a higher level of collaboration between students. Access my research study: Classroom_Research_Project_A_Crowther_2017.

Since January 2017 I have been responsible for Careers Education in my school. This has been supported by a course coordinated by TeachFirst (CELP). So far, the course has been engaging and worthwhile, however the level of support in my school has not been what I would have wished for. To date I have written a policy and strategic plan for careers, however the implementation of these documents and the ideas they contain has suffered delays. Some of these delays are because of larger issues within the school. Although I feel the work I am doing is important I recognise the need to resolve whole school direction and policy to lay the foundation for everything else.

This summer will be a short break. The first week I am taking a group of students to the Ardeche for a 5-day adventure holiday. When I return, I will have to motivate myself to prepare for the new academic year. This will involve rewriting whole schemes of work as we move to 100 minute lessons. Added to this my colleague will have left for pastures new so the prospect of writing lessons for another teacher is daunting, especially as I have never taught CiDA and our school was lucky to have an expert with a phenomenal record of results.

It is true that if we continue to act in the way we have in the past then the same outcomes will be achieved. To move forward we all have to seek new methods or adapt so that we can be a force for change in the lives of those we lead and our own.

Looking forward

It’s been a while since I posted on this site. In fact far too long and I will endeavour to post more often in the future time permitting.

What’s been happening

I successfully completed my PGCE and was fortunate to secure a great job at a local school teaching Computer Science. The team I work with are dedicated and as in other schools stretched to capacity, although I am sure others would argue with that point.

My first year of teaching was a roller coaster ride, which left me in no doubt that I had made the right career choice, despite some of the lows. The people I work with are supportive and full of advice, it’s up to you to ask the right questions and disseminate what will be useful. As in all walks of life you must take responsibility for your own choices and actions. I don’t and won’t pass the buck, taking care to offer the same level of professional advice that I have benefitted from.

The training I have been given on the job, I am sure will see me through the toughest of situations, although I am hoping that in the future things will be a little different. To elaborate my future is looking bright and hopefully I will begin to rise through the ranks within the education system in the near future.

Computer Science is rapidly becoming a high demand subject and schools are struggling to fill vacancies, with ICT specialists feeling that they can’t cope with CS. In my opinion if you have taught ICT for more than a few years you have the skills to teach CS, you just have to remember the basics. Logic is at the top of the list, with function a close second. The hardware scheme of work is not so tough and I think the majority of ICT specialists can work their way around networks and protocols, so really that leaves the programming discipline to understand before you can teach it. The only way to secure this new skill is to practice it, in any language you like, although I would recommend Python as a first step. There are plenty of online tutorials to help you master the skills and many of the kids are pretty good at working things out, so challenge them to write the next bit of code and then get them to teach others.

My longterm goal is to manage a department and then become a Senior Member of the Management Team in an expanding school. With this in mind I aim to continue my professional development and begin a Masters Degree in Education as soon as possible. My special interest is ICT in the classroom for the less able, which could be something as simple as a Wii controller to interact with the whiteboard to allow students to participate more effectively with the content of a lesson.

Best get back to the marking and writing of lesson plans.

If you would like any help with Python drop me a line:

tony@crowtherhome.com

Overdue Update

The PGCE is going well to date. I am currently on my second placement school and enjoying the experience.

I went for an interview this week for my first teaching post which is due to begin in September. I was lucky enough to be offered a position now I just need to complete the PGCE.

Learning Styles-the test and results

This week in our Educational Computing tutorial we were asked to complete some learning style evaluation tests.  Below is an image of the results page to one of the tests I took, you can try it here Learning Styles Survey.

Image of OU learning styles test for Tony Crowther
My results from the OU Learning Styles Survey

 

This prompted me to discover what was meant by Metacognitive.  I mentioned it to Sam one of my class mates and he looked it up quickly on Google.  His reply was “knowing about knowing”.  Ok this helped a little but I want to know more.  So I do a search on Google myself.  After a short wait the usual suspects appear with an answer (Wikipedia – the fountain of all knowledge).  After a deeper scan of the search results I locate something I feel I can trust from the Purdue University.  “Metacognition refers to learners’ automatic awareness of their own knowledge and their ability to understand, control, and manipulate their own cognitive processes Follow this link to read more Metacognitive.

So what exactly is it saying about me?  I tend to know how to learn and what it takes to get the job done, it also means I can be self-critical and need to check my results fully and make sure that A + B does in fact equal C before accepting it as fact.  Suppose it might sound like I am a little picky at times.  Oh no hope it’s not OCD!!