Once there was a view that students were like empty vessels just waiting to be filled-up with knowledge by their parents and teachers. These days, its often the parents and teachers who are asking the students how to set the time on their digital watches or how to download a song from the Internet.Times certainly have changed!
At Dandenong North Primary School the staff learn from each other by observation and coaching. The more experienced teachers pass on their wisdom by making themselves available to be observed and by coaching their colleagues in continually becoming more effective as teachers.
It is not only the teachers and support staff observing each other to get better, though. There is a small group of students who have been trained as student observers. Since 2015, this group of students has been observing teachers teaching. They record eight critical points during the course of a lesson and take photographs of the class and the teacher to support their written record.
The point of the exercise is to provide student feedback to observed teachers from the perspective of a learner. Since the program started as a small pilot program in 2015, it has been found that teachers value the feedback provided by their student observers – particularly the observations that provide evidence of timing, effectiveness, connection with individual students and – most of all – their capacity to make learning fun.
From the student perspective, the growth in writing and verbal communication skills has been remarkable, but even more significantly, their awareness of the development of a lesson has heightened their own engagement with their own teachers and has most likely contributed to more effective learning by the trained observers.
In conjunction with student-led assemblies, the School and House Captains, the SRC Representatives and the Peer Mediation Leaders there are more and more opportunities for students to help shape their school and their learning. The student observation program is still evolving and is now being coordinated by Ms. Sobia Hussain.
Our Student Observers for 2018 are:
Team HAF - Hania, Ashya & Farzana
Team SFS - Sana, Florentine & ShifaTeam SMZ - Sally, Mahsooma & Zahra
Team UP - Una & Pinky
Examples of Student Observers work:
Observing Prep N
We went to Prep N and they were singing numbers. The teacher was stopping the song and resuming it again to see if the students knew their numbers. The students were counting down by twenty.
Observing Grade 2J
The teacher is going through each topic. e.g. appearances, diet and features about dinosaurs. So during writing the students can give a good think about their dinosaur reports.
Observing Grade 2CD
The teacher is explaining to the students how healthy and junk foods are different from each other and what it can do to your body. The class was gaining new ideas to describe and infer about the video they were watching.
Observing Grade 6V
These are all of the ideas 6V came up with and Miss Valcanis wrote them down on the whiteboard so it can help the students when they are writing about it.