Julie's story – Power sharing
Comments are provided by a science teacher, her students and a Te Kotahitanga facilitator about the process of the co-construction meetings and the impact of using classroom evidence with teachers and students. This includes comments about:
- changing practice and attitudes towards science through co-construction
- co-constructing the expectations around learning outcomes with students
- preparing for midyear exams through negotiation and learning about the importance and purpose of the homework
- using classroom data to inform student outcomes by interrogating the data.
“It’s up to them to decide what it is that they want and that way I am not a power figure, I’m just a participant.” (Teacher)
“The people who didn’t do their homework, they were saying that they didn’t have enough time to do it, so instead of them going home and not doing it, we should do 10 minutes of home work with the teacher’s help and with everybody else’s help.” (Student)
“When you look at the evidence, in terms of student outcomes ... what appears to have made the most difference is that students have understood the purpose of the homework.” (Facilitator)
“We need to keep coming back to that data of student outcomes and saying, we know what we did, what difference did it make?” (Facilitator)
“It’s fun now, she asks us, we have choices to what we want to do.” (Student)
Things to think about:
Question focus – Those new to Te Kotahitanga:
- Thinking about the courage of a teacher to be open to doing things differently, what has Julie’s story made you reconsider about your current teaching practice?
- The process of negotiation/co-construction helped to include student voice within the expected learning outcomes. What other strategies can help to ensure that student voice is part of the dialogue leading to improved learning outcomes?
- What evidence of power sharing did you see in this story? What evidence of power sharing would we see/hear in your classroom?
Question focus – Participants in the Te Kotahitanga Professional Development Programme:
- What affirmed your own theorising about power sharing within this story? What challenged it?
- Julie’s planning and practice was clearly based upon the interrogation of evidence of student outcomes by herself, with other teachers and with her students. To what extent is this true within your own practice? What are the implications of this in terms of your implementation of the Effective Teaching Profile within your practice?
- To what extent do you actively engage with the professional learning opportunities afforded by co-construction meetings? How might you use the expertise of your colleagues to interrogate the evidence of student outcomes in such as way as to enable you to affect change?
Question focus – In-school Facilitators and Senior Leadership Team Members:
- How might you facilitate the sharing of such pedagogical shifts across departments, as shared in this story, within your Leaders of Learning co-construction meetings?
- Julie’s story highlighted the way in which evidence can be used to improve practice and inform planning within the classroom. What are the implications for the use of evidence by facilitators and/or senior leaders?
- The demonstration of power sharing in the classroom sits at the basis of providing a Culturally Responsive Pedagogy of Relations. In what ways is power sharing evident across the full range of contexts within your school? How do you/might you work to facilitate this?
Julie Harrison (Teacher): “I wanted to improve the learning in the classroom so we started talking right at the start of the year, and I sat down and asked them what they thought about science. And I was absolutely horrified that 90% of them hated it. So then you scratch your head and think well what do we do? And so you have to change something.”
Narrator: “Julie knew that to make an impact on the learning she needed to change attitudes to science. In order to do this she used a number of different strategies, including negotiation or co-construction.”
Julie: “At the start of a lesson I will have the objectives up on the board, of what we are going to do today, and some key words and some key questions. ‘By the end of the day you should be able to do this.’ The order that they choose to do those things in is up to them.”
Narrator:“Julie encouraged students to share in decisions about what they would learn and how they would learn it. Some of these negotiations were formalised into a contract.”
Julie: “I always put up the guidelines, the things that I think we should discuss and what they expect from me and what they expect from themselves.
“It’s up to them to decide what it is that they want and that way I'm not a power figure, I'm just a participant.”
Robbie Lamont (Facilitator): “Alongside this negotiation process, has been negotiated with the students that they will have a pretest, on the beginning of each topic or unit, and that starter is then feedback to the students, so they know what they are already able to do and what they need to learn for that particular unit. They also then have a post test where they can measure their gain between where I started and where I got to. And that’s also fed back and shared with the students.”
Narrator: “As the year progressed one of the issues the students chose to negotiate was homework requirements.”
Julie: “They had all felt pretty confident after their mid year exams, and the post tests, so they decided that they didn't need to do homework any more. When they said, 'We want the homework to be voluntary,' I said, 'Are you aware that your homework is part of your course mark, and they said, 'Yes'. So the next pretest post test the kids came to me, a lot of them did and said, ‘Oh, my marks have dropped.’”
Narrator: “Julie and her students were concerned about the drop in post test marks. Julie took all the evidence to a co-construction meeting, and invited colleagues to problem solve with her.”
Robbie: “Through the process of the co-construction meeting, which is that group of teachers who teach that same group of students, sitting around looking at student evidence, the suggestion came up that she go back to the class and present the data back to the class. Saying, ‘This is what is happening, here’s the data, here’s your post test scores when you were doing compulsory homework. Here’s your post test scores now you are not doing homework because it’s voluntary. What should happen?’”
Julie: “We talked about the fact that homework does actually give them practice questions that mirror tests and exams and things like that.”
Student: “The people who didn't do their homework they were saying that they didn't have enough time to do it, so instead of them going home and not doing it, we should do 10 minutes of homework with the teacher’s help and with everybody else's help so we could get it done.”
Robbie: “When you look at the evidence in terms of student outcomes, it’s not whether the homework was voluntary or compulsory that makes a difference. What appears to have made the most difference is that the students understood the purpose of the homework.”
Student: “Seeing my pre test marks and then my post test marks it’s just really cool cause you know that you've done the work, and that you should deserve that mark.”
Robbie: “We need to keep going back to that data of student outcomes, and saying, ‘We know what we did, what difference did it make?’ And if it made a difference, ‘What was the part of it that made the difference?’ So it’s not just a case of collecting the data, it’s actually a case of also unpacking it, analysing it, asking questions around it.”
Julie: “Attitudes to science have changed dramatically. I would think probably 90% of them love it now.”
Student: “It’s fun now, like she asks us. We have choices to what we want to do.”