SUPPORTING OUR TEACHERS TO ENGAGE IN FURTHER STUDY Katherine Hume, Cross Campus Assistant Principal for Continued Professional Learning
xcellence in the classroom requires the very best training. We know from research that further study is important, not only for raising the status and professionalism of teaching, but also in supporting colleagues to become better teachers and school leaders. Further study through accredited qualifications such as Master’s degrees, or the NPQ (National Professional Qualifications) programmes for leadership, really do have a transformational impact on teachers, their colleagues, their students and their schools. At Bangkok Patana, we proactively and strategically encourage and support our teachers and leaders to
engage in further study. Over the past five years, we have established links with the University of Bath in the UK and we now run a regional study centre twice a year for colleagues to undertake Masters units here at Bangkok Patana. More recently, we have collaborated with the Institute of Education at the University College London (UCL), to facilitate the NPQ programmes for Middle Leaders and Senior Leaders, as well as supporting aspiring leaders through the Early/Developing and Widening Leadership programmes. I would like to introduce you to three colleagues who have recently, successfully completed courses in further study.
Primary EAL teacher, Claire Myers recently completed her Masters degree I recently completed an MA in Applied Linguistics and TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) through the University of Portsmouth in the UK. The three-year course involved elements of language analysis; scrutinising classroom practice, both past and present; as well as reading and conducting research into key areas of linguistics. This research centred around frequently debated areas, such as ‘When is the optimal age to learn a second language?’ or ‘Is there an elite variety of the English language?’ I learned a great deal from each module, particularly those areas that lack consensus and were passionately ‘discussed’ in the existing research. My classroom practice has improved as a result of the course as I developed greater understanding of how children learn a second or third language, the impact their first language has upon this and other factors that can affect the process. Students who are new to English when arriving at Bangkok Patana are highly motivated to learn because all interactions at school, including making and maintaining friendships, require an understanding of the common language: English. It is often this motivation that explains their rapid progress. However, certain other factors play a major role in how rapid this progress is and, more importantly, how successfully this process occurs. These include the strength of the student’s home language, the structure of their 14
• Bangkok Patana School
home language and how similar/different it is to English, or the student’s personality and how willing they are to have a go and make mistakes, to name a few. My goal is to develop each student’s language proficiency to enable them to fully access the curriculum. This involves providing in-class support, using carefully designed resources that aid understanding and extend language, as well as focusing on specific linguistic areas of difficulty during extra English sessions. Finally, it is my job to celebrate the success of our student linguists and remind them how amazing their bilingualism really is!
The termly magazine of Bangkok Patana School