3. Relationships

Competency 3: Builds collaborative, productive, professional relationships with:

Parents by:

Professional Colleagues by:

The Wider World by:

3.2 Providing opportunities for participation

Being a parent myself, I know how important it is to get feedback from teachers because more often than not, a child will not share that much about their daily life at school. Apart from answering all emails and phone calls promptly, I also point parents to the online classportals and show student work during parent teacher interviews. During the first round of parent teacher interviews, I handout a letter to all parents which contains a course overview and general information about the subject. Please click here for an example.

In our Year 9 unit about Australian Politics, I have used the “Interactive Student Notebook (ISN)” approach to the workbook which also allowed for parental participation in their children’s work.

Sample of Year 9 ISN resources

Students are given all “input data” such as notes, content, tasks and stick this on the right side page of their notebooks. They put all their “output” on the left side page which includes diagrams, answers to questions, cartoons, research etc.

During parent teacher night I discussed the workbooks with all the parents and encouraged them to fill out an assessment form that all students had stuck in the front of their workbooks. The feedback was very positive. Parents appreciated seeing their children’s workbooks because in Year 9 many students do not share what they do at school with their parents.

Please see the wiki page I made for all student’s ISN notes and content: http://vanweringh9.wikispaces.com/notebook

3.6 Sharing expertise with professional colleagues

I have enjoyed sharing my expertise in the field of ICT with my colleagues. I have shared my knowledge in several ways:

  1. Two Wednesday Professional Development Modules (four in total). For this I created this website which contains all my most often used tools and applications: http://thinkedu.net/blog/web2/
  2. A targeted PD for the Individual Needs Department, see the Prezi presentation here.
    As a result of this PD, the Head of the IN Department created her own wiki to communicate with her department.
  3. I regularly share teaching materials, handouts, links, PowerPoints and ideas with my colleagues via email, the school’s Q drive and informally. I believe it is very important to share resources because teaching can at times be quite insular. By sharing teaching resources, we can adopt a more common approach and learn from each other.

3.9 Maintaining links with the wider community

There is great value in breaking down the classroom walls and inviting people in to talk about their experiences directly.MrPrince Visit June  2010 I have done so on several occassions. Some examples are:

  • Organising a speaker from the local Aboriginal community to speak to our Year 9 students,
  • Inviting the school’s librarian into our class to talk about her experiences as a young Polish teenager at the time of the Polish Solidarity movement in the 1980s,
  • A member of the Jewish Holocaust Museum spoke to my VCE History students about his experiences as an inmate in Auschwitz. It was an unforgettable experience for all who attended the lecture.

3.11 Discussing educational ideas with others

I have become a regular contributor to the online educational community. I do this through Twitter, Diigo and Delicious. This allows me to keep abreast with the latest trends, educational ideas, links, TED talks and blog posts. I have found this process very rewarding. It’s the equivalent of hanging out with a bunch of cool people who know all the latest hip places to visit in a city.