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Key lessons for facilitators 09


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A summary of responses in the ICT annual survey from facilitators working in New Zealand ICT PD clusters.

Published in: Education, Technology, Business
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Key lessons for facilitators 09

  1. 1. K EY L ESSONS L EARNED T HE F ACILITATOR R OLE compiled from responses to the ICT PD Annual Survey 2009
  3. 3. E FFECTIVE F ACILITATORS : are accessible. have good communication and interpersonal skills. are prepared for anything. are problem solvers. find ways to win hearts and minds eg fixing a small problem a school is having can get the whole school on board. can connect personally with a range of staff. can develop and leverage support networks. are not fazed by challenges as they arise. are patient but still firm with expectations. stay positive!
  4. 4. E FFECTIVE F ACILITATORS : need to be prepared to work hard and perhaps travel long hours. are good listeners and mentors enjoy the role! maximise opportunities that arise while in the role. have perseverance. can accept failure – your ‘great ideas’ may not always fit. are able to prioritise – you can’t do everything! know that they can’t be everything to everybody. don’t try to do it all on their own. are human and accommodating.
  5. 5. E FFECTIVE F ACILITATORS : know how to say ‘no’. ensure all teachers feel valued and well-supported. smile even when it may seem the chips are down. celebrate the small successes. are thick skinned – it can be a lonely or even hurtful role at times. are resilient. are humble. are not locked into one way of thinking and are not so certain of their own way that they can’t take on board the ideas of others.
  6. 6. E FFECTIVE F ACILITATORS : are willing to ‘give things a go’ and model new techniques. keep it ‘real’. are willing to share ideas and resources. are able to be flexible when needed. are reflective. are unafraid to make mistakes. BARRIERS Not enough confidence in their own abilities.
  8. 8. E FFECTIVE F ACILITATORS : can benefit from co-facilitating with a more experienced facilitator. can benefit from working with a mentor facilitator. have clear guidelines set out in the job description as to the content and goals expected from cluster principals. have the support of an excellent director who keeps a tight control on all activities. are given encouragement by the cluster director. have a supportive National Facilitator. receive feedback, ideas and praise from the National Facilitator.
  9. 9. E FFECTIVE F ACILITATORS : BARRIERS Juggling the demands of part time facilitation and part time teaching. have enough time dedicated to the role to be able to make a difference (suggestion by one facilitator is at least 0.6 full time equivalent).
  11. 11. E FFECTIVE F ACILITATORS : have strong pedagogical knowledge of best practices in teaching and learning. remember that technology is a tool that should complement the teaching and learning process. have a good knowledge of schools’ curriculum. have a knowledge of how eLearning works within the curriculum goals. can quickly pick up how to use various ICT tools. have an understanding of how to work in digital environments. understand the inquiry learning approach. keep the big picture in mind.
  12. 12. E FFECTIVE F ACILITATORS : learn what facilitation actually means. understand the needs of adult learners and have experience in facilitating adult learning. invest heavily in developing their own skill base and gaining an understanding of what is happening nationally and internationally. read widely (including the ICT PD newsletter each fortnight). benefit from experience in previous ICT clusters as a facilitator, director, or lead teacher. engage in self-study. have the appropriate specific subject knowledge.
  13. 13. E FFECTIVE F ACILITATORS : get opportunities for personal PD as well as cluster wide opportunities. are able to develop own learning pathways at conferences. spend time reading, synthesising and implementing research. seek exposure to new ideas and systems. make the most of opportunities to work with outside experts eg Tony Ryan, Pam Hook. benefit from having senior management experience in schools. are successful classroom practitioners who have used ICT effectively.
  14. 14. E FFECTIVE F ACILITATORS : BARRIERS Lack of personal classroom experiences with web 2.0 technologies. General inexperience in the role.
  16. 16. E FFECTIVE F ACILITATORS : seek guidance from cluster principals regarding the needs of the schools. are able to be effect change more easily if principals meet regularly and take an active part in the cluster. trust their management team but will still follow things up themselves. meet regularly with the cluster management team. set clear guidelines for those with delegated roles. have regular contact with the director. have strong support from principals.
  17. 17. E FFECTIVE F ACILITATORS : have principals that come on board and trust, resource and lead the programme. work with schools that are all totally committed to the success of the contract. work with schools that have a clear vision and commitment towards providing a high quality teaching and learning environment.
  18. 18. E FFECTIVE F ACILITATORS : BARRIERS Inexperience of the cluster leadership. Lack of management backup within the cluster. Leadership that prevents or inhibits change. School principals being opinionated and overriding decisions of the director. Negativity about the contract can be transferred onto the facilitator unfairly. Suggestions not being taken up by the cluster management team.
  20. 20. E FFECTIVE F ACILITATORS : help keep the focus on having a strong cluster vision and use this to reflect against in their own role. have clear goals and expectations. have a clear vision of where to next and how to go about getting there. provide a wide range of PD opportunities to cater for the diverse needs of cluster teachers. are realistic when setting goals. know the importance of strategic planning for the cluster.
  21. 21. E FFECTIVE F ACILITATORS : BARRIERS Developing a cluster programme through trial and error meaning that change takes longer and valuable time is lost at the start. The contract not being embedded in development around the new curriculum and therefore being seen as an ‘add on’.
  23. 23. E FFECTIVE F ACILITATORS : create multiple lines of communication within the cluster. have at least two points of contact within each school. build clear systems and structures for communication within the cluster – wiki/webpage etc provide schools and staff with simple, timely instructions as needed.
  24. 24. E FFECTIVE F ACILITATORS BARRIERS Schools not communicating plans/ expectations in advance. Lack of response to emails sent to schools. Ineffective lines of communication within each school. Difficulty in sharing the vision of what in means to be in a cluster and what the cluster stands for.
  26. 26. E FFECTIVE F ACILITATORS : maximise opportunities for collaboration within the cluster. focus on creating an atmosphere of trust and sharing between cluster schools so that schools feel supported in leading change and cross cluster sharing is actively encouraged and fostered. help to make connections between teachers with similar interests across the cluster. have a way of sharing PD with all schools to ensure that they all get a ‘bite’ of the professional learning eg cluster shares or a cluster conference establish a strong connection within the group of lead teachers as this helps to create a great collegial support group.
  27. 27. E FFECTIVE F ACILITATORS : know the importance tapping into expertise across the cluster so it is not always the facilitator taking the lead. have regular cluster meetings with lead teachers and principals. are suppported by a team of collaborative lead teachers. work with schools that all having a shared vision. help to foster a strong sense of community amongst the cluster. are visible and available personally – be that online, through texting or a phone call away. expose staff to new ways of thinking about and working with ICTs.
  28. 28. E FFECTIVE F ACILITATORS : BARRIERS Cluster principals having difficulty in working well together. Too many schools in the cluster making collaboration and communication difficult. Not getting full commitment from all schools and staff. Wide geographical disbursement of cluster schools. A huge variety between cluster schools.
  30. 30. E FFECTIVE F ACILITATORS : meet regularly with other facilitators (formally and informally) for dialogue, to share resources and plan collaboratively. make use of the National Facilitator team and online sites for information and clarification. go to regional meetings – there is a lot of information and help to be sourced there from other clusters. Find out who the other facilitators are and liaise with them. spend time visiting other schools from across the sector to find out what they are doing. build a network of colleagues in the same field and do this as early in the contract as possible.
  31. 31. E FFECTIVE F ACILITATORS : use the plentiful online resources as a support (including ICT PD online) attend national conferences to upskill and to make connections with others working in the same role. collaborate with other clusters and facilitators. are willing to present at other cluster events. visit other cluster wikis to access the ideas and resources. use Twitter as a tool to build up contacts. ask questions of the network. make use of resources on the facilitation wiki.
  32. 32. E FFECTIVE F ACILITATORS : participate in synchronous online discussions and chats with other facilitators such as the live chat opportunity during the facilitation module. contribute to ideas and resources in the ICT PD online modules. BARRIERS Not enough chances to have rigorous discussions with other facilitators eg around the rubric – what does the ideal look like? Not enough time to visit best practice classrooms.
  34. 34. E FFECTIVE F ACILITATORS : regularly point schools to quick little helpful tools for classroom use to keep the enthusiasm alive – not everything has to be time consuming and a drain on teacher energies. visit each school regularly. make sure that any practical session is based on sound pedagogy and that this is discussed with participants. facilitate buddy observations around the school. celebrate all the good things happening within the school, within the school community and with other cluster schools. make sure that what is covered when in a school is followed up by either the teacher or principal. works in with the individual needs of each school.
  35. 35. E FFECTIVE F ACILITATORS : are supported by excellent lead teachers who ensure that staff and ready and prepared when the facilitator visits their school. can achieve more when working with supportive and enthusiastic staff. have the support of principals who are learning leaders within their schools. work with schools that expect staff to transfer their learning into classroom practice. can have a greater impact when working with teachers prepared to step outside of their comfort zone and explore the potential of a range of ICTs to enhance learning. are supported by the openness of school principals and lead teachers who are willing to change practice and trial new initiatives.
  36. 36. E FFECTIVE F ACILITATORS : are aware that it is not always the perceived ‘experts’ that will spread skills and information. Teachers are often more encouraged and inspired by seeing everyday colleagues use ICT than the gurus. empower teachers to lead their colleagues. look for opportunities to involve the students in new initiatives. get to know the school secretaries well! join in social occasions and school events where ever possible to show a willingness to be part of their learning experiences. choose teachers to target wisely – start with those that have respect in their departments and who actually want to change. have systems in place to track time with schools/ teachers to ensure that there is sufficient time and opportunity to follow up professional learning.
  37. 37. E FFECTIVE F ACILITATORS BARRIERS Principals not being supportive of the facilitator and/or their lead teacher Many staff changes including changes of lead teacher and principal. Schools that are going through other difficulties unrelated to ICT PD that means they don’t prioritise the contract. Schools having too many other commitments so not prioritising the contract. Expectations of teachers are not always realistic. Not enough time for teachers to implement what they have learned.
  38. 38. E FFECTIVE F ACILITATORS BARRIERS Schools that continually complain they don’t have enough time and staff won’t try new things. Schools not being organised or prepared. The inexperience of school management and staff heading into the contract. Large range of abilities of teachers within each school. Goal setting with individual teachers can result in narrow and low tech goals without plenty of support and input which can be difficult to do as a facilitator. Development related to the new curriculum has squeezed time for PD related to the contract.
  39. 39. E FFECTIVE F ACILITATORS BARRIERS Being dictated to by school principals as to what to do in their school when this does not fit in with wider cluster goals. Teachers not being ready at the start of the contract to participate in new PD opportunities. Not being included in staff meetings where other professionals are invited to present. Lack of cohesion between school management and staff. Difficulty in having enough time with each teacher in large schools. Staff being unwilling to change and take risks.
  40. 40. E FFECTIVE F ACILITATORS BARRIERS Having to overcome teacher concerns about a lack of technical support when integrating technology. Having to ‘go in blind’ as there has not been information from the teacher about the desired focus of the session. Lead teachers that are not suited to the position and inhibit progress. Principals not wanting to overload their staff so not having high expectations for outcomes. Slow school networks and unreliable hardware. Technicians that act as gatekeepers and obstruct rather than facilitate.
  41. 41. E FFECTIVE F ACILITATORS BARRIERS Not enough equipment in schools to maximise benefits of PD. Rural networking issues. Schools that think the contract is all about getting new equipment. Sites being blocked . Non-compatible peripherals with computers eg videos that don’t work with computer software. Different versions of software within the school. Not having the appropriate software on the facilitator laptop that is needed to work with teachers in schools.
  43. 43. E FFECTIVE F ACILITATORS : spend one on one time with staff to allow for personalised learning. Quality over quantity in terms of PD. are aware that all teachers have different needs and are coming from different positions so a one size model won’t work for everyone. find a motivating interest for each staff member that they can then apply to ICT PD. make staff feel at ease when working with them. take small steps rather than overload staff. talk to teachers about what they want to get out of each session before starting. feedback to those they have worked with – they like the connection and personal recognition.
  44. 44. E FFECTIVE F ACILITATORS : don’t just talk about using ICT but model it – staff respond to hands on action. know that you can’t impose new learning on people – it has to be embedded in tasks that have a direct relevance on day-to-day practice. put time and energy into relationship building with staff. support people where they are first and work to understand the uniqueness of their contexts before introducing anything new. remain professional yet sensitive to the needs of staff. can be flexible when working with teachers – it doesn’t matter how well you think things are organised if the person you are working with is in a different space.
  45. 45. E FFECTIVE F ACILITATORS : apply a little ‘positive pressure’ to move people along. BARRIERS Lack of information at national level about the effectiveness of different school-wide PD models and possible models for differentiation.
  47. 47. E FFECTIVE F ACILITATORS : seek guidance on how a milestone should be put together. are aware of what evidence is needed for milestone reports and set up systems for collecting this. have efficient, stream lined systems for collecting information. allow time for administration and professional learning each week. shouldn’t have to handle to finances for the cluster. BARRIERS Not enough time to keep up-to-date and to keep up with administrative tasks. Not enough release time to work on the milestone.
  48. 48. E FFECTIVE F ACILITATORS : BARRIERS Schools not meeting agreed deadlines. Time management of principals and teachers can be poor. Not enough funding. Change in emphasis of the national goals midway through the contract. Difficulty in being able to isolate ICT as the reason for improved student outcomes.
  49. 49. D ISCUSSION P ROMPTS Which points would you prioritise for the facilitator role? What would you add to these key lessons learned? Which do you disagree with and why? How could the barriers that are listed be overcome? What would you like to see happen at national level to address some of the points raised? How could you use this information within your own cluster?
  50. 50. IMAGE CREDITS Slide No. Image source Image title Author 1, 42 Flickr MEL_056 torres21 2 Flickr Hide and Seek lunadirimmel 7 Flickr Scaffolding Tattooed JJ 10 Flickr The word for today is “knowledge”, pass it on Stephen Poff 15 Flickr Meeting table mnadi 19 Flickr When work is play... Christmas w/a k 22 Flickr the maus phone 54/365 Jason Nicholls 25,27 Flickr Hanging by a thread Jenny Downing 33 Flickr Pungerahu_School kiwiripp 346 Flickr 3D Bar Graph Meeting lumaxart 4,6,9,12,18,24,27 Flickr Red lights wlodi