Back to School: School Focus

Getting your school ready for the new school year.

Towards the end of August, most schools’ wind down their summer camps/programs, however, this does not necessarily mean they wind down operations. The curtains call on summer camps, signals a change in gear in the preparations towards the new Academic Year. The Almighty ‘Resumption Day’ is the new D-Day.

If is important to note that as a school, you need to plan for everything – Staffing, Children (new and returning), Parents (new and returning) Staff, Vendors and of course, government officials. However, regardless of your status as parent, staff or school, it is critical to make the often-exacting transition from holiday to school, easier with proper planning.

In this context, the term ‘Resumption’ is a verb involving the action of students returning to school after a long holiday period. This activity is a culmination of several process reviews aimed at ensuring readiness of the entire school community inclusive of the children, their parents and of course the staff. All these reviews, must be translated into action points which have due dates, usually before the D-Day.

I will provide a checklist that sadly does not cover all the elements to plan for, but will provide a good chunk of planning focus. If these areas are covered adequately, we can safely say ‘we will start the new school year on the right footing’.

I will group the ‘To Dos’ for schools into three major categories:

  • School
  • Student
  • Parents

Each of these categories is a focus area for the school as an institution and will be elucidated below:

The School: For the School, I will begin with the Leadership Structure. All  organizations must have a Senior Management Team and a Leadership team; Schools are not exempt. These Leadership structures are necessary because every organization is involved in Leadership, Management and Administrative functions. In Schools, the Management Team should not focus on administrative functions as these make up most of the daily activities of the school, cutting across classroom and administration, and it very time and energy consuming. The SMT in a school, should be involved in charting strategic directions and finding ways to diversify the business arm of the school, thus ensuring economic relevance and core business sync.

Hence, the first step in the Back to School Journey, is a review of the Leadership team.

These teams may have overlaps in terms of personnel but not in terms of specific functions.

The SLT is responsible for setting the direction and overseeing the set-up of the following items as related to ‘Back to School’. The itemization does not follow any order.

  • Academics
  1. Curriculum overview
  2. Curriculum mapping and termly scheme review
  3. Book Purchase
  4. Uniform purchase
  5. Assessment alignment
  6. Class structure
  7. Set the tone for pedagogy
  8. Student pre-assessments
  9. Entry tests for new students
  10. Documentation and Display
  11. Staff Training
  12. Student Pre-Assessment prep
  13. Class Structure and arrangement
  14. Lesson planning
  15. Assessment policy review
  16. Portfolio planning
  17. Student Integration Planning
  • Administrative
  1. All forms needed – entry, medication, admissions, allergy, staff time off, class requisitions
  2. Policy review and communication mapping
  3. Staff recruitment, on-boarding and training
  4. Legislative requirements review and planning
  5. School painting
  6. Review of indoor and outdoor classrooms tools
  7. Enrichment/After school clubs planning and vendor meetings
  8. Receipt booklets
  9. Injury reporting and documentation
  10. Back to School Communique
  11. General Documentation
  12. Whole year calendar
  13. Routines and schedules
  14. Extra Services: Bus, Lunch, Afterschool care

2. The Student: It is important that the students are not left to chance, hence we must plan for our students.

  • All uniforms needs’ per student, must be considered and planned for.
  • Specific class placement
  • Welcome back to school activities and integration mechanics
  • School and class tour
  • Pre-assessment administration techniques
  • Class ground rules
  • Seating arrangements
  • Engagement techniques for all class participation
  • Cognitive, Affective, and psychomotor domain checks
  • Feedback and assessment administration strategies

3. The Parent: Finally but by no means the least, as a school, there is the need to plan for our parents especially, with respect to home-school collaborations. All communication must be clear, precise and timely.

  • Back to school letter/newsletter
  • Fees Information
  • Student supplies list
  • Policy changes/upgrades
  • Program must be planned and communicated with sufficient notice – 2 weeks. Reminders must be worked into the plan.
  • Plan events so parents can attend
  • Have a parent support mechanism especially with respect to payments structures.
  • Documentation

Some of the items on the checklist are fluid and may change as the day draws closer, hence it is advisable that a lot of these activities are planned for right from the end of third term.

If as a school, we spend time focussing on these areas, we will be truly ready for a hitch free back to school day and a smooth school year.

 

Writer:

Okeyinfu, a certified Assessment Lead, is the founder of Busy Minds Center Limited and Soundview Consulting. She is an educational reform advocate. She has extensive experience in coaching and mentoring teachers, parents and young adults in a variety of contexts. She loves to be called a teacher.

Ongoing research: http://bit.ly/2uySe3v.

Email: ajayi.svc@gmail.com

SM: @okeyinfu

 

 

Pedagogy and Assessment: The Road Map to Quality Education

What is learning?

Pedagogy and Assessment

This question always draws a variety of answers from respondents. Ranging from skill – focus to knowledge – focus. However, all respondents are unified in the ideology that Learning is Mastery, proven over time. Mastery being the ability to draw upon knowledge and skill, over a variety of contexts, time and time again.

Learning occurs when one has the ability to draw upon knowledge and skills gained, time and time again, applying them over a variety of contexts. To attain this, pedagogy and assessments must be structured such that students receive knowledge and skills in a way they can understand, remember and most importantly, apply.

As Spencer Thompson puts it ‘As generations pass, simply telling your child “you need to go to school because I say so” is becoming less relevant. Without developing a deep sense of purpose and context as to why they are sitting through chemistry class, it is extremely difficult to motivate the majority of students. Anyone but the type-A students will have a really hard time justifying how learning the way molecular bonds form will help them in real life’. We as educators, must show students that coming to school, is crucial to their future pursuits.

The way a child is taught, plays a huge role in determining if they Learn! It is that simple. Teacher pedagogy and the role of assessments, it huge. Yet, there is not a lot being done to dig into the practical aspects of classroom practice, with respect to assessment and pedagogy. This could be due to enormous significance placed on curriculum implementation in theory.

Pedagogy, as defined by the Collins English Dictionary, is the method and practice of teaching, especially as an academic subject or theoretical concept.

Analogy: Imagine, an environment where a lot of importance is on the type of vehicle (curriculum) and the modality of driving and navigation of roads is neglected, the results will be impractical to the realities of driving in modern day society. This is the case when there is an over dependence on the one aspect of the Curriculum – Pedagogy – Assessment relationship.

I have often said ‘What is assessed, will determine the focus’. This takes us right back to mastery. If this is the case, why do we see high test scores with no corresponding application of skills? Simple, we are teaching for the test scores.

In our schools, we have placed a huge demand on SCORES to the detriment of actual learning. We have a situation in our educational journey, where ‘teaching for the test’ has become the purpose of the children’s learning. This is counter-productive because, it is not about what the children know, it is about how they use it. This can only be addressed when Assessment and Pedagogy are tuned, right.

In her words, the Deputy Governor, Mrs. Oluranti Adebule of Lagos state and who is also the Commissioner for Education, said: “The importance of the services being rendered by private educational institutions to the socio-economic development of the state and the nation cannot be overemphasised. The number of children in the various private schools are too numerous to be ignored, hence there is the compelling need to redefine the criteria for the delivery of quality education in the state.”

Classroom practice and structure, should follow function. Function in this context is quality education. To start the process on the right footing and ensure, we work children towards mastery, we must find the function. We must define what ‘quality education’ is and we must, as matter of urgency, have a picture of ‘the modality of delivery’ of ‘quality education’.

Assessment has its place and assessment must never be equated with input versus output. It is much more than this. Assessment drives the way pedagogy is delivered, it incorporates student voice and experiences in delivery and it drives reflective practice. Assessment is a vibrant and living part of good classroom practice. Why? As I mentioned earlier, what is being measured, becomes the focus of the thematic units in each subject. Sadly assessment is a section of the Curriculum – Pedagogy – Assessment relationship, that is neglected.

Super imposing the learning pyramid on blooms taxonomy (Fig 2), shows us quite clearly what the focus of classroom practice and assessments should be. It is also shows us what effective classroom practice with respect to pedagogy, should look like.

We often assume that all teachers can assess. They probably can, but are the assessments valid and reliable measures of the learning that is or has taken place? Most times the answer is NO. There is a technique to assessments that facilitates knowledge retrieval in and outside the classroom. As educators, we need to engage this technique.

We need to ask ourselves, ‘Do our questions require just remembering or do they prompt the learners to use the upper category of Blooms Taxonomy skills? The Domain of Higher order skills! Hence, how we assess will drive the sustainability and efficacy of the reform efforts in our Education sector.

If we have systems that focus largely, on curriculum implementation with less emphasis on pedagogy and assessments, we have a third of the equation and sadly it is not the third that can standalone.

Teaching, with the focus on scores as the end goal, is not the blueprint for the delivery of the much sought-after ‘quality education’ because “Assessment Drives Pedagogy”. I have often said, “what is being measured, becomes the life of the thematic units in each subject” The scores, not learning in scores absorbed environments, is the motivation.

Hence, delivery of quality education to our children, is tied to Pedagogy and Assessment

 

Writer:

Okeyinfu Ajayi is a certified Assessment Lead and she is an advocate for effective classroom practice.

Okeyinfu is the founder of Busy Minds Center Limited, Soundview Consulting and a Facebook group, Teaching Inspirations, and Support Network. She is one of the In-House Consultants for AgeKyndle Education – an educational reform platform. She is the Convener for the PLN Hangout, a platform geared towards supporting female entrepreneurs and educators in Nigeria and beyond.

She has extensive experience in coaching and mentoring teachers, parents and young adults in a variety of contexts. She loves to be called a teacher.

Access her current research at http://bit.ly/2uySe3v

References:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/spencer-thompson/early-education-_b_3343844.html

Lagos Private Schools Have Till August 10 to Register, Says Govt

https://drwilda.com/tag/national-training-laboratories/

Using Bloom’s Taxonomy to Write Effective Learning Objectives

 

Share and Repost.

Comparative Judgement Trial in Nigeria

Making a case for Comparative Judgement (CJ) as an alternative to traditional grading in literacy based subjects in Nigeria – Okeyinfu Ajayi

In one of her reviews, Daisy Christodoulou said, “Comparative judgement has enormous potential to transform the way assessment works. Some of the most pressing problems in education today are around workload, marking accuracy, and the way that assessment distorts the curriculum. Comparative judgement has the potential to help solve all of these problems.”

As Tes outlined in a recent feature, comparative judgement involves teachers taking two pupils’ scripts and simply deciding which one they think is better. This information is then fed into computer software.

There is much more to do than this however, as they have said  ‘The process is significantly quicker than current marking and moderation of written work’.

 

In the past, Ms Christodoulou has referred to comparative judgement as “an assessment innovation that really works”.

 

Does it? What do you think? Share your comments please partake in the ‘initial trial’ by clicking the link below.

Link to take trial survey: http://bit.ly/2uySe3v

 

In education, we need to get to a place where we make decisions based on evidence translated into best practice.

 

Learn more at https://www.nomoremarking.com/aboutcj

 

#cj #comparativejudgement #trials #tryouts

Free Teacher Training

Do you want to be one of the teachers who qualifies for the first cohort of the free training?

How to register:
Send an email to ajayi.svc@gmail.com, stating why you need this training.
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Schools can register whole teams .
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Thank you to all our sponsors and volunteers, you make the work lighter.

Opportunities for sponsors and volunteers still abounds: Please send a DM or an email to ajayi.svc@gmail.com to join the sponsorship team or to be a volunteer. We need all the help we can get to transform the players in the education sector.
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A child cannot rise significantly above the level of their teachers. We need to raise the standard/ skill set of our classroom staff, to raise the output of our children.
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Work Hard

You must be willing to Work Harder than ever. Entrepreneurship is not a sit and fold hands journey. You have to put your nose to the grind and get the work done.

If you want to grow, quit talking and start doing.
Remember, personal development upgrades you — but without the skills and hours spent acquiring the first-hand knowledge you’ll need to succeed, you only become more conversational at your current skill level, whether it relates to your business, health, or any other area of life.

Without spending time in the trenches, all you’ll ever do is be able to talk. Now more than ever, the world is full of people talking. Very few of us are choosing to actually do.

Repost from @goal.cast
#guardianwoman #womenleader #beboldforchange #womenrocktheworld #womenempowerment #femalediaries #okeyinfu #diamondbankwomen #gtbank #sheleads #sheleadsafrica #nigeiranbusiness #activeworker #engagedworker

PLN Nuggets 1

So I met this amazing womam, Oke Maduewesi of Zaron global and she shared #nuggets with us at our #PLN hangout with Ms Kaykay.

1. As an #enterpreneur you have to get out of the comfort zone and keep striving for more.

2. Review your market and provide #services they need.

3. You need to be the first #brand ambassador for your business. No one can market it as much as you.

4. Keep your employees who buy into your vision close and find a way to build their skills set.

5. Focus on your strengths and find people who can provide the skills you lack.

6. You really cannot do everything. Give yourself a break.

More nuggets coming soon.

And guess what? She is so committed to building Nigerian Entrepreneurs, she did this for free.

Want an invite to the next hangout? Send me an email detailing the skills you need to develop as an entrepreneur and what you have done in the past year to develop yourself.

ajayi.svc@gmail.com. See you soon.

#business #marketplace #femalefounder #leaders

Your Network Matters

If we all agree ” No man is an island” it means we all need connections to make things flow smoothly. In the world of #business, collaborations are necessary, you just need to know who to collaborate with and to what extent.

As an #educator, I have several active collaborations – people and businesses, and it helps.

I recently started a #Professional #Learning #Network and I have had to collaborate with several people to make the first meeting happen. Some of these experiences have been humbling, but i can say, all of them have been energizing.

Who is your Learning Network?
Who can you call your #support group?

In my journey as a #woman in business, I notice peope are worried about letting go. Autonomy is a myth that needs to be laid to rest. Why? We all have our strengths. As you maximise your strengths, it will over shadow everything else. You need to surround yourself with people who #compliment you especially in the areas where you have less developed attributes.

As I close, our fist PLN is set for tomorrow and it is set to be amazing.
I am the convener and I am humbled by the show of support I have received. Our speakers are power houses in their fields and they will be with us, contributing their part to build formidable #womeninbusiness #sheleadsafrica

Domains of Learning

Education is not restricted to a #classroom. It goes beyond the place to the how and why of doing tbings.

We need to always consider the three #domains of #learning when working with the children.

The domains are:
1) Affective – How will this make the student feel/ How will feelings be affected by this?
2) Cognitive – What knowledge am I passing accross?
3) Psychomotor – What skill will my #students display as a result of this lesson?

As #educators, we are in a place of great influence.

We need to be trained on how to be intentional and purposeful.

Okeyinfu: Teacher, Trainer, Coach, #Differentiation and #Assessment Specialist.

Stick with it.

The person and the Principles of Jesus are different in purpose.

Applying these principles leads to growth and success in the market/ business place.

For growth to happen your ability to see (vision) and your skills to do, are important.

Ex 23:28-20

Increasing your capacity means you can take on more. And automatically your territory will increase.

Mk 4: 26-30 – wait for the full increase. It will grow and multiply.

You must be consistent and you must be thankful.

The fact that you are not where you want to be at the moment does not mean you are not on your way.

One of the biggest killers of vision is survival mentality.

Refuse to think small. Never allow temporary hunger to truncate the size and spread of your dream.

Never get into survival mode.

You were created to dominate.
Gen 1:26- 28

1) Be fruitful – be a productive person. Have a fruit/ product/ service that you sell. Make it work.

The first step is you. Are you a productive person???

2) Multiply – Increase in that which you are doing.
A)Can what you do now? work for others?
B)Can you cause others to be fruitful as well.
C)Validate your ideas.

3) Replenish- Reproduce yourself in multiply places.
Be replicable
Franchise models

4) Subdue it- consolidate and build a brand
Become a power house
Spread your fame
Get into the market
Be used as a reference point

Acts 1:8

Say these words to yourself daily:

I will Never be afraid of competition. It does not matter how many are doing it. I will succeed if I am called to it for whatsoever i lay my hands on is #blessed.

No hair struggles for space. I will not struggle for market share

God is causing me to shine

The works of my hand will find expression and favour

The doors are open to me

I am excelling and making progress

I will not seek from man, what only God can give me.

Opposition is new opportunity for me tp grow.

Talking Trust

Talking trust
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How can I possibly let go of the #ledge when I am not sure you will catch me? You say you are there, but I do not #see you.
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The new level I aspire for needs two, maybe three to walk together hand in hand and step by step.
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This is not a #journey I can take alone; I need you as much as you need me.
When #teachers work cooperatively, great things are bound to happen.
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Trust is the #essential element to have and maintain with your students, your parent community, your principal, and your co-teachers.
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#Trust you see one broken, never fully recovers. #Guard it.
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Trust is everything.
#busyminds
#nigerianschool
#lekkischool
#schoolinginlagos
#busymindsschool
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#Repost @officialascd
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Trust is essential element to have and maintain with your students, your principal, and your co-teachers. .
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#teachersofinstagram #teachersoninstagram #teacher #teachers #teach #teaching #iteachtoo #teacherlife
#teachercreated #teachersofig #igteachers #teacherfriends #iteachk #ascd #preschool #teacherbloggers  #alwaysateacher #coteachers  #educator #schoolteacher #teacherproblems #teachertalk #teachertalktuesdays  #earlyed #schoolteacher #elementaryteachers #relationship #teachergoals  #middleschool #nursery #preschool #elitemums #dadsinlagos #creche #primaryschool #lekkiphase1