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COLLABORATION

CHRONICLES SIMPLE PRACTICES EFFECTING REAL CHANGE

September 2017 | ISSUE 2

Featured School Name: Forest Village Leadership Academy Area: Forest Village, Eerste River Grades: R - 7 Number of Learners: 1 018 Languages: English & Afrikaans Principal: W. Philander (Acting) Collaboration School Since: January 2016 Operating Partner: Two Oceans Education Foundation

In the Palm of her Hand When Gloria Sullivan raises both her hands, all the learners in her Forest Village Leadership Academy class put down what they are doing, raise their hands and give her their full attention. She drops her hands and says “Hands down”. They follow her example and know an instruction is coming. To an outsider, this might appear like a well rehearsed scene – and that is exactly what it is. Once she has checked that all eyes are on her, Gloria proceeds with her instruction and a new activity starts smoothly. Gloria explains that she uses words and hand signals as code in her classroom. Although it appears to work effortlessly, she has invested time and energy into nurturing an understanding of what she means with her actions and instructions. “I explain to learners precisely why I do what I do with my hand signals and highlight the impact it will have on what happens in class. That is how I get buy-in and understanding, and then we practice.”

“EACH MOMENT IS A MOMENT TO START AFRESH”.

Caring

Simply telling learners that a signal means something is not enough to guarantee that it will work. Practice and checking for compliance are fundamental to success. “If I see only 70% of learners have raised their hands, I thank them and invite the other 30% to join. I wait until I have 100% compliance – even if it takes a bit longer and I have to nudge individual leaners with a look or words of encouragement. This positive approach is an effective way to get everyone onto the same page.” Consistent practice and setting high expectations with regard to cooperation have led to the signals becoming encrypted in the way Gloria conducts all her lessons. Learners know what to expect and meet her standards willingly. The trust relationship between teacher and class is palpable. “The learners know that when I make a promise I follow through. Fairness is a core personal value for me and I have put that into practise in my teaching.

Competence

Accountability

I dole out the compliments and sanctions fairly and the learners know what steps I follow to make my decisions – we talk about it all.” This policy of openness and transparency has contributed hugely to creating an ordered learning environment. In Gloria’s classroom mistakes are seen as life lessons: “A first mistake is followed by an opportunity to rectify behaviour; the second time the same mistake is made, it is made by choice. Many learners struggle to learn how to conform to the norms we set, but I tell them that each moment is a moment to start afresh.” Once Gloria proceeds with her lesson, she introduces the new topic by linking it to a story she read earlier in the day. When the class recalls all the elements she requested perfectly, she says they all deserve an “Explosion”: 37 little pairs of hands clap twice in unison and 37 voices say “Boom” enthusiastically as they celebrate a moment of greatness together.

Integrity

Innovation

Responsiveness


USING GESTURES TO MANAGE LEARNER BEHAVIOUR

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COLLABORATION

CHRONICLES September 2017

Simple Practice #2 Using Gestures The Rationale for Using Gestures

The Process of Implementing Procedures

T

Satisfaction and enjoyment in teaching are dependent upon leading a class to cooperate. Learners learn to be on-task and engaged in the learning activities teachers have planned for them – it is definitively worth investing time and effort into designing and implementing procedures to achieve this.

eaching and learning do not simply start spontaneously once learners are seated in a classroom. It can take ages to make sure everyone has the right book out, is looking at the board or is ready to write. And moving from one activity to the next can cause even more delay. The pressure of ensuring both smooth classroom management and effective teaching can add to the frustration and stress that teachers experience – which often leads to fruitless shouting or repetition of the same instruction over and over again. By introducing gestures that are practised and become routine, teachers can quickly gain learners’ attention, embark on teaching processes faster and switch from one activity to the next during a lesson with ease. Teachers who have the attention of a whole class in the palm of their hand can easily notice when a few individuals lose focus or become distracted; instead of shouting at the whole class, the majority can be encouraged to stay on task and the stragglers can be nudged along with a look or a word of encouragement. When learners know the gestures, understand their purpose and become accustomed to practising them routinely, they feel included in the classroom management process, which creates a sense of ownership and belonging and could, ultimately, reinforce learning. Learners’ attention is engaged in a physical way – thus using up some of their energy and helping them to focus their attention on learning activities. Gestures need not only be used for the purpose of getting attention; they can be designed to ensure learners stay on task, redirect attention from one place to another (like looking from a book to the board), repeat something, break into groups, praise work done well, celebrate successes and motivate or support those who are in the limelight and under pressure to answer a question. In the long run, gestures can aid classroom management and contribute to the creation of a rigorous, joyful leaner culture that drives learning and character development. If such routines are practised school-wide and become the norm, imagine the amount of teaching and learning that can be achieved and the sense of ease with which it can be done.

• Purpose driven procedures: Identify a small and specific improvement that will make classroom management measurably easier. Enjoy the creative process of choosing actions and words to construct procedures and ensure learner enjoyment of the practice. • Details matter: Develop procedures down to the smallest details of what is said and done. It is best to record these by writing them down. Posters in the class can help to remind everyone how things are done. • Test the design: Rehearse the new routine with a colleague before introducing it to the learners. External input could help to polish the design. • Small steps: Socialise learners with the purpose and expected outcome before introducing each step of the procedure. • Practice makes perfect: Practise the action or behaviour until everyone does it correctly. • When things go wrong: oo Insist on consistency. Do not give up. oo Get those who are not cooperating on board by emphasising what learners are doing well, not what they are doing wrong. Narrate the positive while looking at those who are not complying. oo Increase your radar: Scan the room for compliance and redirect learners who are not complying. oo Encourage effective independent practice. oo Invite a colleague to observe and give feedback.

Benefits Using agreed upon gestures for classroom management enables: üü üü üü üü üü

Getting attention effectively Transitioning to new activities and spaces quickly and smoothly A sense of ease for the teacher so that energy can be devoted to teaching rather than repeating instructions and expressing frustration A sense of belonging for learners as they actively participate Opportunities for celebration to motivate further good performance


USING GESTURES TO MANAGE LEARNER BEHAVIOUR

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COLLABORATION

CHRONICLES September 2017

The Levers for Change Collaboration Schools rely on the following three key levers to drive change and most of these are applicable to ordinary public schools as well. The table below depicts how the practice that is featured in this edition relates to the levers.

Change levers

Managing learner attention with routine procedures •

SUPPORT

FLEXIBILITY

• • •

ACCOUNTABILITY

• •

In order to implement gestures into classroom management routines, teachers need time and support to design them effectively and become confident to introduce these to learners. Learners need support and encouragement to practise new routines. They also need to understand the purpose of the procedure and need to know exactly what they are expected to do. Once they see the impact on how their classroom is managed, they are keen to contribute themselves. No formal approvals are needed to implement such routines in classrooms. Teachers can identify their own needs and design what works for them and suits their personalities. Groups of teachers might get together to share their needs and ideas and start developing routines that could, over time, become embedded in school culture. School leaders should use accountability , alongside support, in order to establish these routines school-wide For individual teachers, the challenge is to gain 100% compliance from their learners. Gestures and routines need to be explained, practised and repeated until they become the norm – consistency is crucial in this process.

Data Driven Schools Collaboration Schools strive to become ‘data-driven’ in their quest to progress individual learner outcomes from where they are to where we aspire for them to be. Data are also reviewed and analysed regularly to drive school improvement and accountability. Current data are compared to targets that collaboration schools have agreed with their circuit managers and are used to identify areas of accomplishment or development.

August

Learner attendance %

2017

Year-end target for learner attendance

PRIMARY SCHOOLS FOREST VILLAGE LEADERSHIP ACADEMY

97%

98%

HAPPY VALLEY PRIMARY

97%

96%

ORANJEKLOOF MORAVIAN PRIMARY

94%

98%

TREVOR MANUEL PRIMARY

90%

98%

HIGH SCHOOLS LANGA HIGH

80%

90%

SILIKAMVA HIGH

88%

99%

ZWELETHEMBA HIGH

99%

98%

Rating

In terms of target


USING GESTURES TO MANAGE LEARNER BEHAVIOUR

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COLLABORATION

CHRONICLES September 2017

About Collaboration Schools This WCED-led initiative brings together government, philanthropic donors, no-fee schools and non-profit education support organisations to test new approaches to education improvement in poor communities, through collaboration. The aim is to bring additional expertise, resources, flexibility and greater accountability in school governance and management to participating no-fee schools in a bid to extend access to quality education in poor communities. Currently seven schools are involved in the pilot and district directors and circuit managers recommend additional schools for inclusion in the pilot. At the heart of Collaboration Schools is a strong emphasis on teacher development and instructional leadership. At these schools the focus is on executing simple practices well. This is supported by providing teachers with bite-sized inputs through a frequent cycle of developmentally orientated observation and feedback that is grounded in practice.

Contact us John Lyners john.lyners@westerncape.gov.za

THE BELIEF IS THAT THE BEST WAY TO HELP LEARNERS BE THE BEST THAT THEY CAN BE IS TO SUPPORT TEACHERS TO BE THE BEST THAT THEY CAN BE. Collaboration Chronicles is a WCED publication that features the learning that is emerging from the Collaboration Schools Pilot Project. It is supported by the Public School Partnerships Funder Group.

Profile for Collaboration Chronicles

Collaboration Chronicles Issue 2 September 2017  

This bi-termly publication features the learning that is emerging from the WCED's Collaboration Schools Pilot Programme. The Pilot brings to...

Collaboration Chronicles Issue 2 September 2017  

This bi-termly publication features the learning that is emerging from the WCED's Collaboration Schools Pilot Programme. The Pilot brings to...

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