“It was inspiring to see the Indian teachers implement new strategies”

At our assigned school, we ran two conference days, with many more days in school observing lessons, modelling ideas and giving feedback to teachers.

Conference Day 1: Building Relationships

For our first conference day, we wanted the Indian teachers to get to know us as Fellows, and to understand that we wanted to help them grow as practitioners and educators. We broke up into small groups with the teachers we would work with for the rest of the Fellowship, and discussed the teachers’ needs, with teachers completing a self-efficacy survey. After the first conference, teachers felt comfortable with us visiting their classrooms.

Anntriniece and two Fellows pose for a photo with some of the Indian teachers

School visits: Observing and embedding

During our subsequent visits to the school, we observed that lots of the teachers were doing most of the talking in their classrooms. Students did not have many opportunities to collaborate with their peers. Therefore, as Fellows, we introduced the Indian teachers to an idea called Gradual Release, through the use of ‘_I Do, We Do, You Do_’. This teaching strategy allows the teacher first to model, then the students to work with the teacher, and finally the students to work independently after they are released.

Some Fellows co-taught with the Indian teachers to help them succeed with this new strategy. We also suggested other teaching methodologies to encourage students to discuss their learning and objectives, such as ‘_Turn and Talk_’, ‘_Think, Pair, Share_’, and ‘_Back-to-Back_’. If students are able to communicate with their peers, this can help them learn from one another.

Conference Day 2: More teaching strategies!

For the second conference day, we explored Growth Mindset, Questioning and Discussion, and Independent Practice. Fellows demonstrated how these techniques could be used effectively in the classroom. The Indian teachers asked questions during the workshops, to get a better understanding of how these best practices could enhance learning.

After the second conference day, Fellows visited classrooms to see if any of the strategies introduced were implemented in lessons. Many teachers had made an effort use some of the new techniques! I had been working with Kindergarten teachers, and it was very inspiring to see them implementing new Gradual Release strategies.

The second conference day focused on Growth Mindset, Questioning & Discussion, and Independent Practice.

What did I learn from the Fellowship?

As a veteran American teacher, I learned that with limited resources, students still have the opportunity to engage in activities that will increase their academic achievement. I gained a lot of respect for teachers in India with 30 or more students in a Kindergarten classroom. In my school district, a maximum of 25 students is mandated in Grades K-2. I truly believe that the Fellows and the Indian teachers that we worked with have the same goals. We all share a love for children and teaching students, and want to use the best methodologies to improve learning in the classroom.

I am grateful that I was able to attend the Fellowship in India. The Fellowship has inspired me to think about applying for leadership positions in my school district. I enjoyed helping and working with the teachers in India. I believe that all teachers need appropriate professional development opportunities to improve their pedagogical practices in the classroom.

Taking the mic at a conference day

Written by Anntriniece Napper

2018 India Fellow

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