Wednesday, October 2, 2013

New Teacher Induction Sessions

I will confess that one of the highlights as an Instructional Consultant is the time I spend with new teachers! This year I was once again very privileged to work with several staff members at Dr. L. M. Hanna who were either 'fresh out of university' or new to our Division. I am very grateful for the New Teacher Induction sessions which offer a common instructional framework, as well as opportunities for me to learn along side new teaching members.

The New Teacher Induction Sessions follow the The Instructional Environment Model (IEM): 

Instructional Environment Model
The (IEM) aims to strengthen the instructional program in Regina Public Schools and enhance learning and achievement for all students. A common teaching and learning framework, drawn from the professional knowledge base, supports a system of effective teaching and learning designed to:
  • Guide decisions as they relate to curriculum, assessment, instruction, intervention, and the learning environment
  • Support provincial and division priorities and initiatives
  • Enhance professional learning for teacher development.
The goals of the Instructional Environment Model are to:

  • Support teachers in developing and enhancing effective instructional, assessment, and intervention practices
  • Contribute to a coherent program of instruction within the division and schools
  • Provide a sound, evidence-based system of professional knowledge of teaching and learning
  • Support the use of a common professional language for teaching and learning

The New Teacher Induction (NTI) sessions are broken into four sessions:
  • Co-Managing the Learning Environment: Managing the social interactions, behaviour and relationships within learning environments with students including the organization, procedures and problem-solving that make for optimal student engagement and learning in relation to reflective style, reclaiming relationships,consistent structure and support, self-regulation, and collaborative problem-solving and restorative practices.
  • Instructional Skills: Specific instructional actions of teachers that enhance learning, and in combination, help to generate a powerful repertoire of teaching and learning strategies in relation to student engagement, feedback, questioning and dialogue, culturally responsive practice, and professional learning community.
  • Curriculum Content: The curriculum goals and learning outcomes and indicators that clearly identify what students will know and understand, be able to do and be like as a result of their learning experience and includes how to determine learning success and addresses the use of value-added assessments, formative assessments, and ongoing feedback to monitor student progress, inform instruction, and guide design and planning.
  • Instructional Repertoire: Instructional repertoire consists of various strategies designed to accommodate improvisation, student engagement and response in pursuit of particular learning outcomes – Literacy Instructional Framework, Numeracy Instructional Framework, and Inquiry.
The first session of the NTI is extremely valuable as it also provides the initial contact with the new teachers. As Chris Mieske (new to our Division) reflected, "What I appreciate about the new teacher sessions is the time to meet new teachers and have a chance to collaborate with colleagues.  It also gives me the opportunity to meet and arrange for the Instructional Consultants to come to the classroom and help me implement new programs."

The connection with new teachers carries over into the other sessions as we learn together. The content of all of the sessions was very well received. Tori Krogsgaard (new teacher) appreciated the introduction to RPS resources. Jasmine Johnson (new teacher), stated, "My favourite session were the RAN and Inquiry sessions.  I really liked the RAN Model and want to get into using it more next year.  An area that I think would work well with this strategy is First Nations content: to see where the students are at and what knowledge base they already have, and then see where the conversations would lead." 

I realize that I have to be very strategic in how I plan my time and what sessions to attend. It is not always possible to attend every session. I try to ensure I attend one day of each component, and with a teacher I am currently working with so we could plan together.

The planning time during the NTI sessions meant that I had the opportunity to work with Chris and Jasmine on supporting a balanced literacy program, and Tori with the Explore + 4 structure. Over the course of the year the working relationships grew as we developed a mutual trust and a stronger collaborative partnership. From a teacher's perspective, Chris said : "Sharia spent many sessions with me, in my classroom...she helped me get my head around an entire new approach to literacy.  I feel that the implementation was a success with my students and I’m looking forward to keep improving on it next year!"

Jasmine felt, " I especially loved when you (Sharia) came into my classroom and supported me in the Daily 5 process.  I really didn’t have a lot of knowledge with the Daily 5 and your help with this was huge and really appreciated.  It is my classroom's favourite part of our day."

The goal of the NTI sessions is to strengthen instruction and enhance learning and achievement. It is also to provide new teachers to RPS the opportunity to meet one another and work with an Instructional Consultant to provide support in their first years of teaching. When summarizing his own experiences, Tori's reflections would indicate that these goals were achieved: "as a new teacher I had no idea about the resources that were available to me. The NTI was extremely helpful at introducing me to available resources.The NTI also introduced me to the consultants that were available to work and plan with me.These two things made my first year much smoother than it otherwise would have been."   posted by:  Sharia Warnecke [Instructional Consultant]