The Educational Framework process on its own will have a significant effect on your school, there is no doubt about that, but are there other things your school or district can do to increase the process’s impact? Of course! By implementing any or all of the following during the process, you have the opportunity to elevate your end game and maximize success!
1. Staff Professional Development
During the initial stages of implementing an Educational Framework, it is recommended staff be provided with similar professional development options, or ones that are strictly in line with the school’s overall vision and mission. If your goal is to achieve a cohesive teaching and learning culture, then it’s best to limit choices and ensure that all staff are hearing the same message before bringing in new ideas. For example, while working at the Netherlands Inter-community School (NIS), it was the administration’s goal to bring language to the forefront; therefore, staff development and training centered around areas such as implementing a guiding program, improving student speaking and listening skills, the 6 + 1 Traits of Writing, etc. In this way, as far as language was concerned, whether you were a teacher in the Early Years or Primary Years, Dutch Stream or English Stream, staff development opportunities and messages were consistent.
2. Staff Planners and Handbooks
Professional development is great; however, all the information packed into a single session or over a few can be overwhelming to take in. Providing staff with learning tools, such as planners and handbooks outlining key points from sessions attended, is helpful as reference points for all. This is why during the Educational Framework process, planners are designed to support and implement your school’s vision and handbooks are recommended.
3. Parent Brochures
While it’s fantastic that staff are learning new things, parents are often left in the dark about the impact of the changes on their children’s learning at school, and the ways they can offer support at home. For this reason, while working at NIS, I created a series of language related brochures to offer parents that covered reading, writing, speaking and listening skills, learning a foreign language, etc. In this way parents could be informed and have concrete tools to use at home with their children, as seen in the sample below:
To learn more about brochure design, see - Creating Brochures for Your School.
4. School Conference
To organize a conference at your school is no small feat; however, the impact on both your staff and your community cannot be underestimated. For your staff, allowing them to take the lead and present learnings from professional development offered by your school is empowering. At NIS, I witnessed staff members rising to the challenge and presenting language related PD on reading, writing, learning a foreign language, ELL, etc. and they all rocked it. Not only did our own staff present, but we also invited outside speakers throughout the day – over 30 sessions were offered alongside keynote speakers. As for the community, our parents took notice that we were a school placing language at the forefront of all we did. And in Jakarta, Indonesia and surrounding areas, other international schools took notice of what we were doing, and what we were about. All of this helped to strengthen our school and further unify our teaching and learning culture.
For tips on how to organize a conference at your school, whether big or small, initial budget or not, see – How to Organize a Conference at Your School.
The above are just a few ideas to enhance the effect of implementing an Educational Framework at your school. Have you tried any of the above suggestions at your school? Tried something different that worked? We’d love to hear your stories of success!
In prior articles, both the Jigsaw Method (connecting planners like puzzle pieces) and the Symbiotic Method (allowing planners to feed off one another) of linking planners were described as stand-alones, and the idea of using these planning tools in combination at a school was presented. But what would that look like? How would you know if a combination of both methods was necessary in order to meet your teaching and learning needs? It really all depends on whether you want a Single Educational Framework or Multiple Educational Frameworks at your school. If you are opting for a single framework, chances are that a combination of both the Jigsaw and the Symbiotic Methods won’t be necessary; however, if you are choosing to go the multiple framework route, then using a mix of both might be your best bet.
Let’s take a look at some scenarios:
A. The Tinkertoy Model
In the Tinkertoy Model, a school has one main Educational Framework and then additional connecting frameworks. Because you are working with separate entities it is possible to mix and match planning methods. So, for example, you may opt to use the Jigsaw Method for the main framework with one of the additional frameworks, and use the Symbiotic Method for the other additional framework. There is no right or wrong way to combine the two methods in the Tinkertoy Model, it all depends on a school’s needs, how many frameworks are designed, and the purpose of each framework.
B. The Lego Model
If you are connecting your Educational Frameworks using the Lego Model, whereby a new framework snaps onto and envelopes an existing framework at your school, the original framework would most likely follow the Jigsaw Method, and then you would have the option of choosing either the Jigsaw or the Symbiotic Method of attaching planners when designing the new framework.
C. The Cog Model
The Cog Model is intended to allow school, staff and students to move together cohesively and in unison. Should your school choose the Cog Model, the Jigsaw Method of linking planners would most likely be used for designing the school framework, and then the Symbiotic Method would be the recommended way to go for linking the teacher and student frameworks and planners. That being said, every school is different, and alternate combinations can be explored and created.
The above are but a few scenarios and combinations; as we all know, no two schools are alike, no two schools share the exact same vision. What we offer at Shala Educational Consulting Services are customized solutions that help you to achieve your specific goals. Tell us your needs, we are happy to help!
Planners are one of the greatest most dynamic tools we possess in education today. As mentioned in previous articles, they have the power to shift mindset, create order out of chaos, and ensure cohesiveness at a school. In the frameworks that I have designed for specific projects – The Language Framework, The Transitional Framework and The Early Years Framework, planners have been designed to function like puzzle pieces, whereby one teacher planner connects to another, and another and another by subject area until a solid jigsaw encompassed by the school’s Educational Framework is formed, as illustrated in the diagrams below:
The Jigsaw Model is extremely functional as it allows everyone on staff to be connected by subject area, but this design doesn’t suit every Educational Framework. Sometimes a framework calls for a more liquid and detached solution, such as The Shared Leadership Framework. With these frameworks, it isn’t just about creating unity within a teaching staff, it’s about allowing staff and students to feed off of each other, thus shifting the planners in unison on a frequent basis and forming a symbiotic relationship, as illustrated in the generalized diagram below:
In the above model, every piece of every individual’s (staff and student) planner is moveable, and when one row, column or box is switched, added or removed, others are affected like dominoes, and will need to be adjusted immediately and accordingly. And what are the advantages of planners being used in a symbiotic relationship? Increased rates of growth and development for both staff and students and high levels of individualization within a cohesive team environment, allowing frameworks (such as The Shared Leadership Framework) to function at their maximum potential in order to create the biggest impact on student learning.
Although the Jigsaw Method and the Symbiotic Method of linking planners have been presented as stand-alones, there is nothing the say that a school couldn’t use both systems in unison. A school may choose the Jigsaw Method to organize teachers by subject area (over-arching) and have another set of planners that work together symbiotically for a specific area that a school would like to develop further.
To learn more about the Jigsaw Method and the Symbiotic Method, visit the following articles:
Linking Teacher Planners: The Jigsaw Method
Linking Teacher Planners: The Symbiotic Method
Determining the Best Planning Solutions for Your School
Interested in implementing any of the above planning solutions at your school?