Essential Questions for Seminar 1
1. What are the biggest educational challenges in your education system/country in the 21st century?
Bhutan’s education is confronted by the geographical feature of the country and scattered settlements as well as lack of facilities in the school. Further, long hours walking distance to school and the swollen streams during the monsoon make consistent attendance in school difficult. So, most of the parents are discouraged to enroll their children in the school. Nevertheless, education is free in Bhutan but parents who are from impoverished background try to withdraw their children from school. Moreover, some students drop out when they reach middle secondary school to help their parents.
However, education is a basic right and a pre-requisite for achieving the nation’s social, cultural, and economic goals. So, (Ministry of Education, 2009) the overall goal is to have an efficient, high-performing and successful education system that prepares students, its future citizens, to thrive in a competitive and fast-homogenizing world with knowledge, intellectual competence, and character. So, ministry of education of Bhutan has recently introduced nationwide program 21st century transformative pedagogy infused in education system whereby school have to implement in the real classroom situation according to the need of the future citizen. But the fact is teacher being over loaded with other responsibilities apart from teaching makes it challenging to cope up. Moreover, crowded classroom and lack of modern facilities are the main challenges faced in my country.
Ministry of Education, B. (2009). Education in Bhutan. Retrieved from Global pertnership for Education.: https://www.globalpartnership.org/country/bhutan
Sherig. (2014-2018). Ministry of Education. Thimphu Bhutan. Retrieved from Ministry of Education. Thimphu Bhutan: http://www.education.gov.bt/home;jsessionid=A2EB302D01C5ED60742592A130B21E08
Essential Questions for Seminar 2
2. How do you see the core characteristics of PLCs reflected in your schools, workplaces and/or in your cultural context/country?
(Education Writers Association, Nellie Mae Education Foundation, 2014) reflected that Professional learning communities tend serve to two broad purposes: improving the skills and knowledge of educators through collaborative study, expertise exchange, and professional dialogue, and improving the educational aspirations, achievement, and attainment of students through stronger leadership and teaching.
Professional Learning Community (PLC) has been introduced recently in the education system of Bhutan. PLC Programmes are carried out in three different levels; school level, cluster level and national level in Bhutan which consist of National Based In-service Program(NBIP), Cluster- Based In-service Program(CBIP) and Dzongkhag -Bases In-service Program(DBIP) and School Based In-service programme (SBIP) where they share their knowledge to the other teachers. These programmes are conducted through workshops, trainings and seminars where teachers get opportunity to enhance their professional’s skills. Education Minister of Bhutan pointed out (Education, n.d.; Education, n.d.) If there is a sliver bullet to raise the quality of education, it is teacher development. Competent and committed teachers are the most important influence for the student achievement. Moreover, he stated, if we want great citizen, we must first make great teachers.
Teacher Professional Support Division was inaugurated on 19th August 2016 by the Hon’ble Education Minister of Bhutan.
Two broad mandates are:
Professional development for teaching professionals in the country
The objectives are:
1. To ensure that teachers possess required knowledge, skills, and aptitude
2. To promote continuous learning of teaching professionals
3. To ensure access and equity of professional development for all teaching professionals
4. To ensure quality assurance of INSET/PD programmes in the country
In my school Teachers are divided in to different department according to the subject we teach (Language Department, Mathematics/IT Department, Humanities Department and Science Department) which is headed by Head of Department (HOD). Every week each department have meetings about the subjected related issues. And all the department head (HOD) have meeting with Academic Head on every Saturday and raise the issue brought from the department meetings. In Bhutan teacher should get 80 hours of Professional Development Programme a year. For that school conduct PD programme every Saturday about 3 hours.
(Huffman, 2011)Everyday our students, teachers and administrators face fear, mistrust, apathy, and failure in schools. These threats continue to place our students and educators at risk. Clearly, we must find ways to work and learn together to mitigate these threats. Now PLC is being properly infused in education in Bhutan and to introduce PLC in education is very essential whereby we aim towards shared information in school to bring improvement in learning.
Education Writers Association, Nellie Mae Education Foundation. (2014, 03 03). Professional Learning community. Retrieved from The glossary of education reform: https://www.edglossary.org/contact/
Education, M. o. (n.d.). Teacher Professional Development Programme. Retrieved from Ministry of Education: https://sites.google.com/a/moe.gov.bt/tpsd/
Huffman, J. B. (2011). ProfessionalLearningCommunitiesintheUSA. Demystyfying,Creating,andSustaining , volume 17,number 12.
Essential Questions for Seminar 3
1. Assess and think about the broad phase your institution (school/university/college) has reached in each PLC dimension.
I have worked in two different schools, one was Middle secondary school and the other one was central school. Both school have level ranging from pre-primary till class 10. I want to assess Professional Learning Community Dimension of my former Central School where I have been working for five years.
Supportive and shared leader: The school change and educational leadership literatures clearly recognize the role and influence of the campus administrator (principal, and sometimes assistant principal) on whether change will occur in the school. It seems clear that transforming a school organization into a learning community can be done only with the sanction of the leaders and the active nurturing of the entire staff’s development as a community (American Institute of Recearch, SEDL, 1997). In my school in the beginning of the year before starting of the academic session, Principal, Vice Principal and teachers get together and start to disseminate the roles and responsibilities of different coordinators such as Academic Head, Non-Academic, Exam controller, Club coordinator, literary in charge, House Masters, Class Teachers, Disaster coordinator, Games and sports in charge, Health in charges and HODs are appointed. Furthermore, those above-mentioned roles are divided among Academic and non- academic heads. And the Principal is the overall chair person. Therefore, I think my school is in the institutionalization stage of this dimension.
Shared vision and values: Shared vision is a common consensus of good ideas, it is an idea or a solution which is important to an organization or an individual. It encourages staffs to involve in the process of developing a shared vision which can help in decision making in relation to teaching learning in the school (Hord ; Hord, 1997). likewise, before the academic session starts, all the teaching staff with the principal conduct meeting and set target for every activity of the year in line with the vision of the school. We conduct teacher parents meeting and School Management Board meeting for familiarization on our school mission and vision to student and staff for the betterment of the school. Consequently, my school is in implementation stage of this dimension.
Collective Learning Application: We conduct School Base In-service Programme (SBIP) by the teachers who have attended work shop or seminar in the national or cluster level. Moreover, we conduct department meeting chair by HOD about 1hour every week. We do peer observation, paper moderation and group evaluation to enhance learning and to meet the need of the leaners of today. So, I think my school is in the implementation stage of this dimension.
Shared and personal practice: One goal of reform is to provide appropriate learning environments for students. Teachers, too, need “an environment that values and supports hard work, the acceptance of challenging tasks, risk taking, and the promotion of growth” (Midgley ; Wood, 1993, p. 252). Sharing their personal practice contributes to creating such a setting. So, in my school we have HODs for different departments and teachers are divided according to the subject they teach. We have department meeting every week where we share what went right and what must be done to improve teaching and so on. HOD also observe the teaching classes and give feed backs to the teachers. After looking at the activities I think my school is in implementation stage of this dimension.
Supportive condition: Several kinds of factors determine when, where, and how the staff can regularly come together as a unit to do the learning, decision making, problem solving, and creative work that characterize a professional learning community. For learning communities to function productively, the physical or structural conditions and the human qualities and capacities of the people involved must be optimal (Boyd, 1992; Louis ; Kruse, 1995). Likewise, my school have conducive learning environment with new infrastructures and head of the school renders their support to the teachers. Within the teachers we try to come together and help each other to solve the problems. So, I think my school is in implementation stage of this dimension.
American Institute of Recearch, SEDL. (1997). What are they and why are they. Retrieved from Professional Learning Community: http://www.sedl.org/change/issues/issues61/references.html
Essential Questions for Seminar 4
• What does organizational culture look like in your school/institution?
My school is guided by school policy which provides a framework that ensures consistent principles that are applied to practice in the school to have effective functioning of the school in accordance with ministry of education(MOE) policy. The school level policy is reviewed in the meeting chaired by principal and vice principal (Non- academic head) and attended by all the staff. The guided policies are bound to be change after the discussion looking into the pros and corns of the issue encountered. The school policy is focused under the non-academic activities and academic learning which is headed by non-academic head and academic head. Furthermore, the functioning of all the different activities such as co-curricular activities (Games and sports, Cultural, Agriculture, Literacy, Examination, clubs and others) are coordinated by the appointed concerned in charges.
Moreover, school have School Management Board (SMB) which is an advisory body to ensure smooth functioning of school and dose not interfere in the daily administration of the school affairs. SMB members are Principal, Non-Academic Head, Academic Head, Vice Principal, one representative from local community and head of local government. Then we have School Management Team (SMT) which performs the decision taken by SMB (in consistence with the Delivery and Performance Agreement). As a member we have Principal, Vice- Principal, Academic Head, Non-Academic Head and one senior Teacher. We have Student Governing Board who carry out supporting functions to manage the school by taking up roles such as certain decision making in addition to its role as a bridge between the general student body and the school management. The member of the board are school captains and the other captains of the school.
In the beginning of the year, Subjects are distributed according to the subject field and divide teachers into different departments and have Department meeting chair by (head of Department (HOD)about planning, yearly, weekly and daily plans. And, about the student assessment, Summative Assessment and Formative Assessment according to the criteria. Every week we have department meeting where we share about the lessons and what are the ways to improve learner. How to go with the low achievers. HOD and principals come for class room observation where they give feedback on the lesson we taught.
To enhance ones professional, teachers are sent to attend various workshops, seminars and trainings according to the subject and on every Saturday, we have Professional Development(PD) programme in school facilitated by the teacher who went for seminar, training and workshop. Other than teaching, teacher shoulders different responsibilities like house masters, Class teachers, Disaster coordinators, Health in charge, Cultural in charge, games and sports in charge, club in charge, literary coordinator and
Ingvarson, L., Reid, K. (2016). How Strong is Your School as a Professional Community? In The ACER Professional Learning Community Framework . Australian council for educational research Ltd.
Sherig. (2014-2018). Ministry of Education. Thimphu Bhutan. Retrieved from Ministry of Education. Thimphu Bhutan: http://www.education.gov.bt/home;jsessionid=A2EB302D01C5ED60742592A130B21E08
Essential Questions for Seminar 5
From your experiences, what has influenced your professional learning and practices most? Why?
(MacBeath, 2012) pointed out that “Teaching is a profession that lies at the heart of both the learning of children and young people and their social, cultural and economic development. It is crucial to transmitting and implanting social values, such as democracy equality, tolerance cultural understanding, and respect for each person’s fundamental freedoms.” Moreover, it is complex and demanding work that needs extremely specialized skills and knowledge to impact signi?cantly on student learning. 15 years back, teaching profession for me was not a choice but it was by chance and I had no option other than to join. Before going to National Institute of Education, I went as an apprentice teacher in a remote place for a year with fresh mind and energy but without any idea of school teaching. I was influenced by the manager of the school as (Huffman J. , 2011) states that administrators view themselves as facilitators of learning and help with teaching to collectively meet the needs of student. As a principal he was positive, enthusiastic, had his hand in the day to day activities of the school, and listen to what his colleagues view. Moreover, he was available to teachers, staff members, parents, student, and community members. So, that inspired me to take a step towards my professional development.
Furthermore, I was influenced by team spirit where teachers work in collaborative planning teams under different department head to examine critically and discuss about learning expectations for students. Moreover, they discuss about the issues related to the teaching and try to solve within the department. Head of the Department (HOD) observe lesson in the class and give feedbacks on it. Which made me confident in teaching with all the components and strategies of teaching.
Finally, I would say that being a teacher is a very challenging, but we get unbelievable joy in seeing the difference we make in students and how they are being moulded into a good citizen as (Edutopia, 2008) pointed out “Great teachers help create great students”. Moreover, we become more interested in a subject we taught and learn about ourselves under the guidance of good leadership and cooperative team.
Edutopia. (2008, march 16). Why Is Teacher Development Important?: Because Students Deserve the Best. Retrieved from Eduthopia: https://www.edutopia.org/teacher-development-introduction
Huffman, J. (2011). ProfessionalLearningCommunitiesintheUSA: Demystyfying,Creating,andSustaining . The International Journal of Learning, 17(12).
MacBeath, J. (2012). FUTURE OF TEACHING PROFESSION. Retrieved from LEADERSHIPforLEARNING The Cambridge Network: https://download.ei-ie.org/Docs/WebDepot/EI%20Study%20on%20the%20Future%20of%20Teaching%20Profession.pdf
Online Reflection Posting 6A.
What are the biggest educational challenges in your education system/country in the 21stcentury?
There are a number of challenges identified during the in-class discussion which are prevalent within Australian, affecting the education system at both state and national level.
These challenges are:
1. Diversity of students – Indigenous vs Non-indigenous
2. Socio-economic differences – State vs Private school system
3. Lack of curriculum consistency
Diversity of students – Indigenous vs Non-indigenous
According to Gray and Beresford (2008), Australia has spent many years developing policies and procedures to address the gross underrepresentation and poor schooling results of indigenous students in the classroom, with minimal success. Although there has been some improvement observed, the educational difference between indigenous and non-indigenous students is still astounding. This can be attributed to previous government policies viewing education as a tool for assimilation rather than encouraging equality. The western concepts of education and knowledge differ greatly from the indigenous concepts of education, thus creating major diversity which schools and their faculties are not equipped to deal with (Owens, K. 2015).
Socio-economic differences – state vs private school system
The Australian school system is comprised of three sectors; state, independent and catholic, all of which are supported financially in vastly different ways (Anderson, J., ; Boyle, C. 2015). The government holds firm in saying it comes down to parental choice as to which system will educate their children, but this means that students from low socio-economic families do not have the same ability to attend a school with higher levels of funding and higher support for academic outcome. A study by Benito (2014), found that students, regardless of individual learning differences, performed better when placed in schools with a higher socio-economic ratio than their counterparts. The government has put forward ideas to even the playing field so to speak, however, these ideas are yet to be implemented.
Lack of curriculum consistency
The development of the Australian curriculum was designed to alleviate the issue of curriculum consistency between states, but curriculum choices are still widely open to interpretation and changes across the nation. According to Churchill (2015), curriculum changes are dependent on a multitude of factors, including geographical location, socio-economic situation (as discussed above), gender distribution (same-sex or coeducation), cultural distribution and its categorisation (state Vs private), making every school, in every state across the nation, different in their own way. The level of training provided to teachers’ attempts to encompass these differences, however it often falls short and is unsuccessful in minimising the gap. As found in a study by Perry and Lamb (2016), curriculum differences seen across primary school are minimal and rarely require attention, but, the higher the grade, the greater the change. Having such a geographically large and culturally diverse country makes a “one size fits all” curriculum impossible, and, in turn, makes effective and efficient educational training very difficult.