Clarity in the classroom – even your first!
Classroom teaching is exciting and challenging – especially when you are starting out on your journey. I remember my first class vividly, working furiously to try and be the best teacher I could be. I know how many hours I invested (with the support of a cracking mentor) to create what I thought to be a quality teaching and learning programme for my students.
I don’t think there are shortcuts. I do think that knowing your programme is hitting the mark and based on sound pedagogy is imperative.
Teachers new to the profession or new to New Zealand and their mentors need support. We have designed a new programme Clarity in your First Classroom to build new knowledge, test out practice, and for teachers and mentors to be supported by a skilled facilitator on this journey.
Our new professional learning programme is based on Michael Absolum's Clarity in the Classroom, our assessment for learning online programme, and our experience in supporting thousands of teachers and middle leaders. Clarity in your First Classroom will support ākonga learn to be critical, reflective, and own their learning process.
Tōmua | Provisional teachers and their mentors will engage in a two-year programme of support alongside other teachers and mentors in neighbouring schools and kura. A skilled facilitator will set the teachers up for success in their first classroom, or their first New Zealand classroom. Being a mentor of Tōmua | Provisional teachers can be a challenge. Our programme supports mentors to build their confidence and capability in leading the professional growth of Tōmua | Provisional teachers.
Recently I took the time to reflect on the assessment for learning capabilities through the lens of being a new teacher and a mentor. I know when I read Clarity in the Classroom for the first time as an experienced teacher, I had many ‘aha’ moments. I paused and considered why I did things the way I did them. What I would do differently to better serve the students and staff I worked with in the future?
I wish I had been introduced to these capabilities at the start of my teaching career. They would have given me direction, purpose, and confidence as I was learning to meet the needs of ākonga right from the outset. I would know that I was empowering students to take ownership of their learning and to be able to reflect on my effectiveness as a teacher.
As a mentor, these capabilities provide powerful opportunities to explore quality teaching and learning. Mentors can engage in meaningful conversations about improving opportunities for students to progress. What an excellent way to approach professional growth cycles!
The assessment for learning capabilities are inclusive by nature. Clarity in your First Classroom has been developed specifically to contextualise assessment for learning capabilities for the Tōmua | Provisional teacher. To build learning-focused relationships teachers must know their ākonga to understand and acknowledge their unique cultural, social, emotional and behavioural needs. Focusing on assessment for learning early on in their career can help build teachers' capability to improve outcomes for ākonga.
Having a sound understanding of assessment for learning is essential regardless of whether it is your first or 27th year of teaching. I strongly encourage you to explore the capabilities, if you haven’t already. Think about how this framework could support you as a mentor or a teacher.
Whaowhia te kete mātauranga – Fill the basket of knowledge