Posts Tagged ‘Reflection’

TLN Webinar – Creating Positive Staff Relationships

I recently participated in a TLN Webinar about Creating Positive Staff Relationships.  It was fantastic and I feel like I learnt a lot.  The next day, I raved about it in the Staff Room with a few colleagues.  And that’s it… Now’s it’s on my To Do list as an area I want to further explore.  Has this Professional Learning experience been somehow embedded in my practice?  And as a leader, how can I use this Professional Learning experience to inspire and support my colleagues and others in the education sphere?


On Friday, I received a timely email from Daniel Cohen at TLN, which resonated with me.  The email was a follow up to the Webinar and highlighted the importance of  “reaping the full investment” of Professional Learning.

Here is an excerpt from the email:

Ongoing Professional Learning

Research indicates that improvements in teaching practice take some time to embed into daily classroom routines. I encourage you to take one or more of the following steps to make the most of your professional learning experience. I realise that workload is high and time is short for most people but having made the investment of time to attend the workshop, reaping full benefit from your ‘investment’ is important. Try one of these:

  1. Try one technique or idea in your classroom or school or early learning centre this week
  2. Write down  three reflections about your experience at the workshop
  3. Share your experience at the workshop with a colleague
  4. Write a short report about the workshop for the school leadership team or present a brief report at a staff meeting


So here is a short report of my reflections which I hope to share with my school’s leadership team this week:

Communication is the single most important factor in successful workplace.  Facilitating communication does not mean holding meetings or sending loads of emails.  For our own wellbeing and those around us, we need to communicate effectively using our social and emotional competencies.  Explicit communication is the key to positive staff relationships.


Self-awareness of our feelings is another important factor.  We need to be able to recognise our own feelings as well as the feelings of others.

“The capacity for recognising our own feelings and those of others, for motivating ourselves and for managing  emotions well in ourselves and in others.” Daniel Goleman – Emotional Intelligence


In our workplace, we may have times of feeling frustration, anger or helplessness.  It’s OK to have the feelings we have but it is important that we are able to manage our emotions via our behaviours.  We need to put forward an appropriate and timely response to our feelings and those of others.  For example: aggressive emotions does not mean that we are allowed to behave in an aggressive manner.


Perception is a key factor that may inhibit communication and relationships in the workplace.  We may have different interpretations to the same experience, due to our perceptions, opinions and beliefs.  Our perspectives become our reality.  We need to remember that each person has a perspective.

We need to remember that each person has a perspective and it is valid.  Each team member needs to feel valued and have an opportunity to share their feelings and emotions.  We need to see each situation from the other person’s perspective, in order to find a solution.


How do you build positive relationships with staff or students?

What works well in your school/workplace?

What are some obstacles/challenges?

Maths Workshops Reflection – September 2014

This year I have made changes to my approach to teaching Mathematics.  After Recess on four days of the week, the students come in and are engaged in Maths Workshops.  The Workshops last for approximately 25 – 30 minutes.

I have 4 groups, usually organised into ability groups.  One group will work with the teacher on a number based skill or strategy.  There is a group on the computers accessing teacher set tasks on the Studyladder website.  Another group will be playing a hands-on game, usually number based with a mental computation element.  The remaining group may be completing an open-ended investigation, more skills practice or another hands-on game.  This varies from week to week, depending on the Maths unit.

After almost three terms of implementation, I have found many strengths of the initiative.


1. Differentiation

This year I have used Maths Workshops as an opportunity to work with students at their points of need.   Meeting with small groups of students each day means that I have been able to closely monitor students’ progress.  I have been able to group students’ according to their learning needs and then work on the relevant skills and strategies that may require further practice and consolidation.


2. Assessment Data

Compared to previous years, I have been able to gather more assessment data about students’ progress.  As I meet with students once per week in the Maths Workshops, I am able to record anecdotal observations about their maths knowledge, skills and understandings.  This is in addition to the assessment data that I collect during the Mathematics lesson that follows Maths Workshops.


3. Planning

I have found the Maths Workshops easy to plan and not too time consuming.  I have included a sample planner, which you can view by clicking below.  I have tried to work smart not hard.  The game I include is often a game that I have taught the students in a previous Mathematics lesson.  Sometimes this game may be related to our Maths unit and can help to reinforce the understandings of the unit.  The set tasks on the Studyladder website are differentiated as I can select/deselect for certain students.  I usually leave these set tasks for two weeks, so this too lessens the load.

Sample Maths Workshops Planner


4. Student Engagement

The students have been very engaged in the Maths Workshops.  As soon as we come in from our Recess, the students are able to independently move into their Maths Workshops.  This did take a little time to get up and running.  Most of first term was spent reinforcing behavioural expectations and familiarisation of the process.


There are still a few areas that I would like to improve and expand upon.

1. Share Time

I have recently begun to incorporate Share Time at the end of Maths Workshops.  The students have adjusted to this well as it follows a similar format to our Literacy block.  The students already have knowledge of how to reflect on and share their learning, and have been able to apply this to our Share Time during Maths Workshops.


2. Parent Involvement

I would like to engage parents/carers in all areas of the curriculum, but particularly Mathematics.  This will be a personal focus for 2015.


Please feel free to leave a comment below with any suggestions or questions regarding Maths Workshops.