Professional learning activities for educators

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“This summer, like many teachers around the world, our teachers and educators in the Bermuda Public School System will take time out during their summer vacation to participate in a variety of professional learning activities of their choice, with the aim of to deepen their learning, and broaden their skills, ”Education Minister Diallo Rabain told the House of Assembly today. [July 2].

Mister President,

This morning, I take the floor to share with my honorable colleagues and the community at large the summer professional learning activities that the Department of Education has planned for educators during the months of July and August.

Mister President,

An excerpt from a report on professional learning published by the OECD, Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, states that “Effective teaching is at the heart of a successful education system and is increasingly recognized. that supporting the professional learning of teachers from the beginning to the end of their careers is essential to improve student outcomes. Professional learning for teachers enables them to develop the knowledge, skills and practices necessary to be effective educators, support their peers, contribute to the collective improvement of the profession and acquire confidence, status and self-reliance. efficiency in carrying out their work with a high degree of professionalism.

Mister President,

Teacher quality is central to student learning and this is supported by research that consistently points out that the quality of instruction is a key determinant of variation in student outcomes. Research also asserts that engaging teachers in high quality professional learning is the most effective way to improve teacher effectiveness and, by extension, improve student outcomes.

Mister President,

This summer, like many teachers around the world, our teachers and educators in the Bermuda Public School System will take time during their summer vacation to participate in a variety of professional learning activities of their choice, with the aim of ” deepen their learning, and broaden their skills. The Department of Education will fund targeted professional learning activities for teachers that focus on 3 areas of 21st century learning:

  • 1. the Creative Curriculum;
  • 2. Project-based learning; and,
  • 3. Blended learning.

Mister President,

Some of our P1 teachers have expressed an interest in piloting the Creative Kindergarten curriculum. These teachers will have access to independent learning around the teaching of the whole child in their learning and development zone. They will learn more about using a personalized learning approach for students that integrates content and areas of development around project-based learning and this is aligned with our vision of learning for students. P1 teachers who participate in this summer professional learning activity will deepen fundamental areas such as social, emotional and physical development. They will learn to meet students where they are at in language, literacy, math and science and will be exposed to a balance between intentional teaching and student-led learning.

The concept of social sciences and integrated arts in all areas of project-based learning will be introduced. Here, it is noted that the social sciences and the arts add to the cultural relevance of learning experiences for children, even as students explore the world beyond Bermuda.

Mister President,

P1 teachers will take the opportunity to improve their teaching by being lifelong learners themselves. This summer professional learning opportunity will give them a good start in 21st century deep learning for our young students by creating learning environments that support skills such as critical thinking, collaboration and communication through the exploration and inquiry-based learning.

Mister President,

I will now talk about the summer project-based learning activity. Strategy 1.1 of Plan 2022 calls on teachers to deliver high quality teaching practices that are rigorous and promote knowledge understanding, critical and creative thinking, application and communication. Project-based learning is one such high quality teaching practice.

PBLWorks [a US Institute for Education that supports high instructional practices] says: “In project-based learning, teachers bring learning to life for students. Students work on a project over a long period of time that engages them in solving a real world problem or answering a complex question. Students demonstrate their knowledge and skills by creating an audience product or presentation for an actual audience. As a result, students develop an in-depth knowledge of content as well as critical thinking, collaboration, creativity, and communication skills. Project-based learning unleashes contagious and creative energy among students and teachers.

Mister President,

Additionally, the Project Based Learning Network states that project-based learning is a powerful way to engage students in rigorous and authentic learning. This will allow students to understand the content on a deeper level and keep it longer; motivate them to learn; involve them in solving real world problems and real audiences; and exercise their creativity by working collaboratively while mastering the main learning objectives.

Mister President,

In July and August, a group of 25 teachers and technical officers will participate in a six-week Project Learning Program Developer Certification program offered by the Project Learning Network. These officers and teachers will engage in a self-paced, five-module program that focuses on high performance project-based learning; how to dig deep to inform and inspire a rich project-based learning unit; and how to frame a project-based learning unit from start to finish.

Throughout the course, our agents and teachers will have access to high quality resources; individual coaching and support from international coaches; access to an international project-based learning network community where they can share ideas, request feedback and connect with resources. At the end of the course, managers and teachers will be expected to produce a project-based learning unit that will be reviewed by local and international peers and they will also publish this unit. They will learn in the same way students will learn, by working on an authentic project and sharing the end product with a real audience.

Mister President,

Finally, I am also pleased to announce that thirty other [30] teachers will participate in the Schoology Blended Learning Leader Academy this summer. The Schoology Blended Learning Leadership Academy was developed to help transform teaching and learning. It is aligned with the International Society for Technology in Education [ISTE] Standards for Educators and has received the ISTE Competency Alignment Seal. The ISTE Seal of Alignment Review Results Report states, “Schoology’s blended learning professional development is grounded in research-based strategies and collaboration to empower educators to master and to apply the new learning in their own educational context. “

Mister President,

Strategy 1.1.3 of Plan 2022 calls on teachers to use innovative learning experiences that will boost student engagement and motivate learning. Blended learning will create this type of learning experience for our students as it is a combination of face-to-face and online learning. Face-to-face time is spent in the classroom where the students have direct access to the teacher. Online learning can be done at school or at home. There is also the independent study time all of which can be combined in different ways. In-person learning takes place during school hours, but online learning can be a video to watch for homework, a teacher-prepared lesson, the use of online sources at school, a some type of digital program or homework and discussions conducted on a management system learning. The learning management system for the Bermuda public school system is Schoology.

Mister President,

In a blended learning setting, students move away from the traditional classroom and begin to focus on where and how technology can enhance learning. A project can be a multimedia presentation where students need to research and integrate multiple sources. It could also include using social media to add to their background knowledge. With blended learning, the imagination is the only major limitation to classroom learning.

Mister President,

This Schoology Blended Learning Academy consists of nine sessions. Teachers will be introduced to the concept of blended learning; they will learn how to communicate in a blended learning environment and how to lead a powerful community of online learners. There will also be sessions on asynchronous learning and collaboration; and how to drive teaching with digital assessments. They will see what blended learning looks like in action and plan for reverse instruction; and, design transformative lessons.

Mister President,

All of these professional learning activities that I have shared will equip our teachers with 21st century knowledge and skills; and also empower and equip them to provide the best learning experiences for students. In conclusion, let me say that education reform continues through the summer months as these groups of teachers “sharpen their saws” for 21st century teaching and learning.

Thank you Mr. Chairman


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