Home' Independence : Independence Vol 32 No 1 May 2007 Contents 14 Independence Volume 32 No. 1
Often other students, especially brighter
students, will issue orders and
expectations to less-able students,
doubling the pressure.
5. Reading novels for some children is
like pulling teeth. They need audio tapes
or literally someone to read to them. Five
minutes per page of a 256 page book is
just too hard. This translates also to areas
like skim reading - they can’t do it and, in
fact, reading anything quickly with any
degree of understanding just won’t happen.
6. They may be able to research, but
analysis and application to the question
being asked is often too big a jump.
Assessment questions need to be broken
down into small do-able parts.
7. Students need options of “how much”
to do. For example, a current History
assessment says they have to write
between six and 10 articles. These kids
are struggling to do six, but at least
bright kids can do more if interested and
weaker students can opt to do fewer.
8. They become overwhelmed quickly,
and when in this state cannot function.
They panic and do “anything” just to
complete a task and get it in. Even today,
one of the girls was overwhelmed and
just sat there and sobbed. It was no act,
she has been trying very hard and it is
still not going to be ready.
9. These students have poor or no long-
term planning skills.
10. Because they get lost after the first
few points, they have poor concentration.
11. Orals, to all five of my students,
are the most terrifying things of all
- because they are on show, reading
slowly, revealing poor grammar and
inferior research. They know it and feel
completely exposed. Are there other ways
to hear orals? Do they always have to be
in front of the whole class? Can it not
be a more select audience to help their
comfort and performance?
12. They often seem to be working but
are, in fact, on totally the wrong track.
Collecting and marking assessment work
in sections helps these students find out if
they are they on the right track.
13. One of these students is a chronic
absentee. She is away for days at a time
because she hasn’t finished work. When
she comes back she is overwhelmed and
doesn’t cope, so she stays away again.
14. When things are too hard they simply
avoid the problem and then it becomes a
Jacqueline is an experienced and highly
respected teacher. Her candour, her
personal and professional humility, and
her transparent care and concern for her
students had a profound impact on all
who heard her. No doubt her sharing of
her own learning encouraged others to
examine their own practice. Loreto 5, as
a professional development initiative, has
enabled many teachers to reflect on their
practice, to learn from colleagues across
a range of disciplines, and from others on
staff with particular areas of expertise, to
develop tangible products and processes
which assist student learning, and to
observe the fruits of the professional
challenges they have set themselves in
their own, their colleagues’ and their
students’ improved learning.
Indeed, the key to effective schools,
which are focused on student learning
and welfare, is professional development.
Professional learning plays a major role in
school change. The importance of focused
professional development, “contextualised
and purposefully led” (Kirkham, 2005,
p.151), to bring about change and to
achieve a learning school is also stressed
by others (Darling-Hammond, Cobb,
& Bullmaster, 1998; Darling-Hammond
& McLaughlin, 1995). Much of the
literature on transforming school culture
also places emphasis on the role of the
teacher, on teacher learning (Darling-
Hammond et al., 1998; Louis & Miles,
1990; Riley, 2000) and on the need for
school communities to engage in their
own search for how to transform their
school (Degenhardt, 2006, p.61).
This is what a learning community is all
about. This is what Loreto Normanhurst
endeavours to do in many ways.
Boud, D., & Griffin, V. (Eds.) (1987),
Appreciating Adults Learning: From the
Learners’ Perspective. London: Kogan
Darling-Hammond, L., Cobb, V., &
Bullmaster, M. (1998), “Professional
Development Schools as Contexts for
Teacher Learning and Leadership” in
K. Leithwood & K. S . Louis (Eds.),
Organizational Learning in Schools
(p.26), Lisse: Swets & Zeitlinger.
Darling-Hammond, L., & McLaughlin,
M. W. (1995), Policies that Support
Professional Development in an Era
of Reform, Phi Delta Kappan, 76(8),
Degenhardt, L. M. (2006), “Reinventing
a school for the 21st century: a case
study of change in a Mary Ward school”,
unpublished PhD thesis, Australian
Catholic University, Sydney.
Kirkham, G. (2005), “Leading and
achieving a learning school through
developing middle leaders”, European
Journal of Teacher Education, 28(2),
Louis, K. S., & Miles, M. (1990),
Improving the Urban High School: What
Works and Why. New York: Teachers
Mitchell, C., & Sackney, L. (2000),
Profound Improvement: Building
Capacity for a Learning Community,
Lisse, Netherlands: Swets and Zeitlinger.
Riley, K. (2000), “Leadership, Learning
and Systemic Reform”, Journal of
Educational Change, 1, pp.29-55 .
Schön, D. (1983), The Reflective
Practitioner: how professionals think in
action, Basic Books, Inc.
van Manen, M. (1991), The Tact of
Teaching: The Meaning of Pedagogical
Thoughtfulness, London, Ontario,
Canada: The Althouse Press.
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