Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Professional Development Lesson 1

Last night, the class had the first lesson on Professional Development.

The lesson started off with Dr Yeap getting us to discuss about Professional Learning Community (PLC). Since my school had already embarked on the PLC journey, I found that I was able to share with the group members what my school had done in terms of PLC.

For my school, we usually have a PLC 'project'. In this project, the level teachers look and surface the areas of concern for that particular level. Once we've targeted the area of concern, we go on to design a lesson based on a particular strategy that we would like to use to help us in addressing that area of concern. In my opinion, it's something like a mini lesson study.

Dr Yeap then moved on to talk about Lesson Study and the variations of it that are out there. It was surprising to find out just how many countries are conducting different variations of lesson study. As Dr Yeap explained more about how lesson study is actually conducted, I realised that what my school is doing may not be essentially lesson study considering the fact that our cycles included a pre-test post-test for the sample class to actuallly sit for. I believe that what my school may be carrying out is actually Learning Study. Interesting.

However, in whatever variations of lesson study or learning study our schools may be conducting, I believe that as long as it goes on to helping the pupils and teachers, it is all worthwhile.

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

Initiatives in Assessment 2

Dr Yeap surprised us today by bringing the lesson outside the four walls. He presented us with a task of calculating the height of a pillar. We were presented with some tools we could use to help us in arriving at the solution. So there we were, in the cool wind after the rain, looking up at the pillar and wondering how we could find the height of the pillar.

After we tried several ways to calculate the height of the pillar, we proceeded back into the tutorial room. We reflected on the several ways we had tried to see which way made most sense.

I realised later on, how cleverly Dr Yeap had presented us with an authentic performance task. As I reflected on the several ways we tried to measure the height of the pillar, I found out on hindsight that throughout the task, we were asking ourselves questions. We discussed ideas on how to measure the pillar and discussed to see if it was logical and feasible.

In some ways, we were already assessing ourselves when we discussed and bounced back ideas on the best possible way to measure the height of the pillar. I guess, that was what performance tasks aim to bring out.

There was no teaching done. We were simply presented with the task and given tools to help us. The ideas solely came from us with some scaffolding and guiding questions from Dr Yeap to set us thinking about different ways of measuring the height of the pillar. We worked with our prior knowledge and what we knew.

I truly enjoyed the lesson. It gave me an insight to how performance tasks are actually a form of assessment itself, even without any rubrics.