Contemporary Issues in Curriculum Plan

What do students actually gain from teachers who are involved in professional development?

Murnane and Levy (2004) explain that professional development – when done well- allows teachers to improve their teaching methods while at the same time facilitate children to learn in a better way. Such abilities are quite necessary especially in today’s fast paced and demanding world. Furthermore, these teachers are better able to manage the development and the well being of the students that are under them.

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Furthermore, teachers and their respective administrators will be granted access to critical information needed in delivering their roles. Administrators may learn about school district rules thus learn what is permissible when it comes to disciplining students. Professional development also exposes teachers to better teaching ideas. Here, they may learn about testing patterns and hence be better focused in their teaching so as to get desirable outcomes.

It also informs teachers of how they can best plan their lessons. In this way, it will become possible to truly analyze the strengths and weaknesses of certain teaching approaches. Teachers who engage in productive professional development often do so by interacting with other educators either in person or online and then exchanging ideas on the issues. By learning about what has worked and what has not, it can then be possible to avoid making the same mistakes and thus be a better teacher.

What are the implications of applying the politics of virtue to the practice of school leadership?

When the politics of virtue is applied to school leadership then less division and self centeredness is likely to occur in the school environment. This is because parents, administrators, teachers, board members and students will be able to forego some of their personal interests in order to propagate the general good of the school (Sergiovanni, 1995). Furthermore, this is likely to lead to a situation where bureaucracies are replaced by morally entrenched democracies where teachers, students and their parents keep making proper decisions needed for their learning. In other words, teachers will be empowered through such leadership.

It is also likely that civic virtue in school leadership would trickle down to students who would be encouraged to participate in community projects. It is probable that teachers will be highly involved in decision making so that the classroom setting is taken into account. This means that both long term and short term decisions will be influenced and communally decided by them. Examples of these decisions include assessment, length of classrooms and curriculum content.

In the broader realm, the politics of virtue would cause school district boards to grant schools freedom to manage themselves albeit under a few basic rules. In others words, schools would have the autonomy to create their own educational purposes and programs. However, accountability would still not be compromised because standards for standards will be set (Sergiovanni, 1995).

How do school district attitudes and climate variables influence staff development program efforts? How might an analysis of both school faculty training needs and the characteristics of the workplace culture influence organizational change efforts?

School districts have a critical role to play in determining how staff development across their schools goes on or whether it will go on in the first place. For example, in an analysis carried out by Duke(2008) in school decline, it was shown that failure to address four major climate variables (federal mandates, budget cuts, influx of risk based losses of important personnel) faced by school districts and schools leads to low decline. These same variables may be applied to the issue or staff development. It all depends on the kind of attitude possessed by that school district towards schools, education or the program itself. When schools districts are always striving to make budget cuts, then staff development will be the last thing on their mind (Duke, 2008)

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Theirs will be continual emphasis on the basics and few long terms plans will be made. Additionally, if these school districts keep changing their mandates then chances are that staff development will become a back banner.

Organizational change efforts may be instilled through an analysis of the workplace culture within an organization. As Duke(2008) explains, some administrators can act as turnaround specialists and in order to do this, they must be in a position to be sensitive to the missing elements in their work environments. This means that effective organizational change must take place in a context where signs of impending problems in the work culture are diagnosed and hence the right responses are made.

How does teacher induction aid in teacher retention?

Problems of teacher retention need to be solved by first increasing the opportunities available to teachers who often work hard for years in college only to find doors closed to them. In fact, this has caused some of them to try other options in other fields of work.

Wong (2005) explains that in Sweden, teachers are often placed in practice groups where they network with other teachers from various schools on problem solving. For those teachers who have made it into the work world, this strategy can definitely aid in retention because teachers will be better equipped to handle future problems. Alternatively, some of them are taken through counseling sessions and this assists in getting to the root of their respective problems. Alternatively, some of them may be taken through courses where they get to learn some things that will make them more competent and hence more productive.

This will increase their confidence in their role as educators and is likely to lead to higher retention. Several other countries that offer induction programs normally do so with the aim of creating networks or collaborative practices and also to engrain professional learning in the minds of teachers. At the end of it, these countries are able to eliminate the feelings of isolation that new teachers normally feel. They are also able to establish mechanisms for ascertaining that new teachers are not just offered a job but a community that they can identify with. This sense of belonging is what can boost retention and therefore testifies to the importance of doing so.

What can be done to make sure that the implementation of an innovation is successful?

For an innovation to be successful, implementers need to make sure that thorough follow up is made. Workshops held with outside speakers may not do much to ensure this success (Murnane and Levvy, 2004). Furthermore, innovations need to be placed in their context. Schools need to foster discussion between teachers so that what may seem like a complex issue may actually turn out to be simple. For example when watching a video clip of a lesson plan, it should be possible for teachers to compare notes about how the method worked for them. In this regard, teachers can apply the innovation constructively in their respective classes.

Furthermore, innovations needs to be such that they put in mind the skills needed to use them. If educators will need to have different sets of skills then administrators need to make sure that they have instilled those qualities rightfully in the respective participants.

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How can supervisor-teacher relationships be improved?

Supervisors are required to grade or assess teachers during teaching practice and sometimes this may prove to be a challenge. Teachers may be poorly organized such that their lesson plans or student notes may not meet supervisors’ expectations. Teachers would be better off if they prepared early and got more organized. Furthermore, since grading determines the kind of opportunities a teacher will be exposed to then it is better that teachers be assisted so that they can provide the right student notes, assessment procedures and lesson plans to their supervisors. When teachers are in a position to provide supervisors with what they want then it is possible for them to retain their jobs or even get an increase in salary.

Pajak (2002) carried out an analysis on four families concerning their psychological functions. He found that all four families differed from the clinical models because of communication variances among the families. This knowledge can also be applied in the educational or classroom setting to understand supervisor and teacher roles. Failure to communicate expectations well to teachers does lead to misunderstandings and failed teacher assessment even when some of these educators are really good at what they do.

References

Sergiovanni, T. (1995). The politics of virtue: a new compact for leadership in schools. In Ornstein, A.C., Pajak, E.F., & Ornstein, S.B. (5th Ed.), Contemporary issues in curriculum. (pp.235-241). Boston, MA: Allyn & Bacon.

Pajak, E. (2002). Clinical supervision and psychological function.. In Ornstein, A.C., Pajak, E.F., & Ornstein, S.B. (5th Ed.), Contemporary issues in curriculum. (pp.274-285) Boston, MA: Allyn & Bacon.

Duke,D.(2008). Diagnosing school decline. Pajak, E.F., & Ornstein, S.B. (5th Ed.), Contemporary issues in curriculum. (pp.303-308). Boston, MA: Allyn & Bacon.

Murnane, R., Levy, F. (2004). A role for technology in professional development? Lessons from IBM. In Ornstein, A.C., Pajak, E.F., & Ornstein, S.B. (5th Ed.), Contemporary issues in curriculum. (pp.286-294). Boston, MA: Allyn & Bacon.

Wong, H., Britton, T. & Ganser, T. (2005). What the world can teach us about the new teacher induction. In Ornstein, A.C., Pajak, E.F., & Ornstein, S.B. (5th Ed.), Contemporary issues in curriculum. (pp.266-272). Boston, MA: Allyn & Bacon.

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