Reflect and Grow with the 5Cs

Previously I worked at a bilingual school, the nature of which made the teaching time an extremely rare resource. I was thinking about a solution, which eventually led me to look into blended learning, especially the flipped classroom, to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of the precious class time. Little did I know, due to the outbreaks of COVID-19, we were forced into a state where we had to look into blended learning during the unexpected development of the pandemic.

With little preparation, we started our synchronous learning a day after the planned starting date. There were many struggles along the way but much learning as well throughout the semester.

Looking forward to this new school year at ISB, I think the 5Cs provide a very useful framework for me to reflect on my strengths and weaknesses in teaching so that I can focus on my areas of improvement in the coming year.

I think care is one of my strengths in teaching as I have been making conscious effort to care for the students during my teaching and interaction with them. As an EAL teacher and a language learner, I totally understand the emotional state of the ELs when their additional language is developing in an academic environment. When they feel being cared for, naturally their affective filters are low and language learning happens more effectively. Therefore, I tend to have built-in time for greetings, check-ins, and free sharing at the beginning of the class. During this difficult time, it’s even more paramount to having these emotional connections with students.

Another area of strength, I think, would be clarify. I often think about the words and sentence structures I use to explain meanings, ideas, concepts, processes, etc. to help students understand. I also try to use various ways to explain, including using students’ native language when I can. However, when offline classes are moved online, a new set of skills are required to make the content clear to the students.

Based on the 5Cs, I’d like to focus on these areas as my goals for improvement this year:

Clarify

  • Use student-friendly language to present and explain learning goals and objectives.
  • Use digital tools to create models for students.
  • Teach students to ask clarifying questions.

Collaborate

  • Understand the grade level collaborative model.
  • Use various digital communication tools to collaborate with my co-teachers.

Since I am new this year at ISB, my goal is to quickly get accustomed to the system to effectively support the English language development of the students, with whom I will be working.

End-of-Course Reflection

Phew! (Patting myself on the back.)

I have just finished this new teacher orientation course. It was definitely more than 20 hours of work! I may sound like complaining but I am not. I am actually very grateful to have this comprehensive online course where I could take time to watch/read, think and reflect at my own pace, having a little more control than over the current craziness we got thrown into at the beginning of the year. I appreciate all the effort and hours (probably many more than the consuming end) that my colleagues at ISB have put into this course. A big “Thank You” from me!

This orientation was very helpful for me in that it gave me a panoramic view of what teaching and learning are like at ISB. From the mission and strategy to curriculum, instruction and assessment as well as the instructional technology and support services, it helped with the background building of my professional life at ISB. I feel I am introduced to this well-structured system.

The middle sections of the course helped me understand the expectations and practices at ISB, and why, what and how to teach in order for students to learn. Collaboration and personalization, which I am in total agreement, probably could sum up all the teaching and learning that happen here.

If I use an analogy of a craftsman, now I feel that my tools are sharpened, and I am ready to start the work.

Reflection on My Teaching through the Lens of Tripod’s 7Cs Framework

This is my first time learning about the Tripod’s 7Cs Framework of Effective Teaching. The framework instantaneously attracted my attention. It’s succinct, intuitive, and to the point, offering a clear guide for effective teaching.

By reflecting on my EAL role in the past few years using the framework, I could see that there were areas where I did decently well and others where I overlooked or didn’t have much time to focus on.

When I started my role as an ES EAL teacher, I was very intentional on being caring (since it’s one of my previous school’s core values), giving student choices, making learning captivating and authentic as well as working on classroom management. I had a built-in component for every class or small group where I briefly checked on students and helped them warm up to the class. As a language teacher and learner myself, I naturally made a conscious effort in ensuring I was clear and easily understood. I tried to use various ways to explain difficult concepts and ideas, including using some Chinese.

I think what I was aware of but didn’t have much time to focus on was in the area of consolidation. I attempted to use the beginning of class to review and the end of class to summarize the learning. However, I was in a constant struggle to be able to cover the curricular requirements, which were required, and to do all the consolidating work. In retrospect, I realized I had overlooked a very crucial part of learning, and I could have prioritized the allocation of class time better.

Thankfully, this career of teaching is a career of constant learning and improving. We are learners and teachers, or teachers and learners, whichever order you may like. As I was applying the framework to my teaching, I had some preliminary thoughts for this coming school year:

  1. Have a built-in component for reviewing and summarizing.
  2. Create and co-create summary charts with students and document them.
  3. Implement a learning journal for students where students can take notes and keep summaries as well as other essential learning.

Professional Growth Model Reflection

In the past, the school I worked for used a few different models for teachers’ professional growth. Generally speaking, most of them fell in the camp of appraisal evaluation, a final judgment and reflection of performance measured against the goals set at the beginning. To be honest, it felt pretty much like the myriad of tests I took throughout my grade school, college and even grad school. The tests defined what I did and how I behaved. Similarly, the appraisal confined how I improved and grew as a teacher, very focused and simply a means to the end. Don’t get me wrong. It was helpful for my growth as a teacher, but it was just that something was missing. I felt that it was the holistic development as a teacher that was missing. 

Now I am looking at ISB’s model and it really intrigues me. Personally, I totally believe in growth mindset as a professional. Adjustment and improvement come from feedback and trials and errors. Teachers, just like students, also need motivation (purpose, autonomy, sense of achievement, and fun) to grow and improve. I had a slight taste of something similar to this model just the past year when our interim principal introduced a growth model to our department. She made it clear at the beginning that it was not about judgment but growth. Therefore, she observed and gave a lot of feedback with a lot of “food for thought”. She gave directions but also much autonomy so the motivation level for an individual or department was high.

I am happy to learn that ISB has been piloting this professional growth model for two years. I am most excited that everyone will already have this mindset of growth when I walk into the school, where I can have the peace of mind to focus on personal growth by getting feedback and to give feedback to help other teachers grow, and not to worry about the judgment. 

To think about my personal growth in the coming year, I do wonder how often ISB teachers are getting feedback from peers and supervisors, and how such interaction is initiated or organized. I am looking forward to learning and growing this new school year. 

Welcome!

Welcome to your Professional Learning Blog! This is a place for you to post your goals, and reflect on them throughout the year.

  • Decide on your goal, perhaps in consultation with your colleagues or principal, and create a post to share with this online professional learning community that you are now a part of! Categorise this post in Goal Setting. Set your goal by considering:
    • Self-assessment and reflection based on new teacher standards  (Tripod 7Cs)
    • Previous or new observation data from peers and principals
    • Student surveys (online surveys developed and aligned with 7C’s)
  • Identify colleagues, coaches, principals etc. that will play a supporting role in achieving your goal, and invite them to view and comment on your post. Encourage them to bookmark your blog and visit regularly.
  • Throughout the year, collect and share evidence to support your progress. Categorise these posts in Reflection.
  • Encourage your colleagues to share your learning journey by engaging with your blog. In return, engage with their blog (and others across the School)
  • You may also like to share work that your students have created or your own professional achievements that may not be directly related to your goal setting. This is encouraged! Categorise these posts as Showcase.

If you need support using this platform, please don’t hesitate to contact Ed Tech, we are always happy to be of assistance!

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