Saturday, November 20, 2010

Initiatives in Professional Development

Date: 16 Nov 2010
Venue: Usual Math Room
What's Up?
  • Professional Learning Communities (PLCs)
  • Lesson Study
  • Polygons
  • Test Date Options
  • Research Lesson
  • Sample Test
We started off by talking about the different learning communities in our schools, like the learning circle, lesson study and action research and some projects the teachers were involved in.
Dr Yeap then went through some of the steps of a lesson study. It was noted that a lesson study first and foremost helps the teacher to improve his craft.
The teacher would need to have a Research Theme and the learning goals, work out the learning content, and solve the problems before going to the class to engage the pupils.

Example 1: To engage the pupils in the learning of Mathematics.
Example 2: To help pupils develop reasoning and communication skills

We looked at the example of polygons and discussed how to find the sum of the interior angles of polygons of different sides. We were encouraged to work out a formula to help us find the relationship between the number of sides and the total of the interior angles. As usual, the answers were not the priority but rather the reasoning, thinking processes behind them.

Dr Yeap, as usual, pricked and prodded us with questions, making us re-look our strategies and crystallising our thoughts and reasoning. He hardly ever gives us any answers to the questions but always, always, makes us think. He then went through the PETALS framework and how a research lesson could be carried out.

The evening came to a close with a look at sample test questions from previous years and how to go about answering the questions. It was a good exercise for me.

We had a guest, Dr Peter Foley (hope I spelt it correctly) who sat in during the lesson. Dr Yeap and Dr Foley are in the midst of setting up a school in Thailand and it is initaives like these from my teachers that inspire me to want to do something for these kids in the less-developed countries too. Another such teacher who has similarly inspired me is Dr Low Guat Tin who is involved in Nepal.

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