Collegial Reflective Practice. Unfurling the Koru Within…. Fay Greenslade October 2005. About the Researcher?
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Unfurling the Koru Within…
Fay Greenslade is a practicing Resource Teacher: Learning and Behaviour (RTLB). She is married, is the mother of two and step mother of two. This research is part of her study towards a Masters of Education degree through the University of Auckland. The summaries included in this presentation are not final and represent findings to date. If you are interested in the final analysis of this research (due Dec 2006), please e-mail Fay at: [email protected]
The aim of this research is to understand the lived experience of teachers who are using Virtues Project strategies as a collegial reflective practice tool.
The research question is:
What do teachers think and say about their experience?
The THE VIRTUES PROJECT™ was founded in 1991 by Linda Kavelin-Popov, Dr. Dan Popov and John Kavelin.
Through researching the diverse sacred traditions of the world, Linda (psychotherapist), Dan (pediatric psychologist) and John (Disney designer) discovered over three hundred and sixty commonly held virtues at the core of these traditions. Irrespective of tradition, the virtues gave the 'how` to achieve meaning and purpose in life. The Family Virtues Guide was originally self-published in 1991. It has subsequently been translated into many languages and is now published by Penguin. The Virtues Project Educator`s Guide was published in 2000 and is the foundation guide for many schools' social skills programmes.
Since its inception, THE VIRTUES PROJECT™ has become a global grass-roots network in over eighty five countries. It functions within a range of communities including churches, indigenous groups, schools, penitentiaries, hospices, corporate businesses, addiction recovery centers and others. During the International Year of the Family (1993), THE VIRTUES PROJECT™ was honoured by the United Nations Secretariat and World Conference of Cities and Corporations as a model programme for families of all cultures.
In New Zealand, THE VIRTUES PROJECT™ was incorporated into the Living Values School Development Project (Lawley, 2003) and is currently used by a number of schools in New Zealand to build healthy cultures of character.
For more information go to: www.virtuesproject.com
… are just a few of them!
*Desire to contribute…
(Before I kick the bucket!)
*Believe that understanding is the key to unity,
and unity the key to
‘It is behind closed doors of the classroom that
‘… national ideas are shaped, moral traditions are imparted and social relationships set down’
Snook, 2003: 60.
Teachers make THE difference!
(Baker, 2002; Fogherty, 2002; Hattie, 2002; Tuuta et al., 2004)
Although teacher reflective practice is considered crucial to both teacher professional development and ethical practice, literature indicates teacher reflection time is rarely planned for nor considered worthy of professional development funding.
This is contrary to research which finds when time to reflect is not valued, particularly opportunities for collegial reflection and development of a collaborative culture, teacher capacity is minimized, motivation is eroded and teaching becomes very stressful. In this state teachers risk poor mental health and student learning is significantly compromised.
Compassion for Teachers’
Term 2:Individual interviews: Wk 10 ~
July Holidays: 2 Day Intensive
Term 3 & 4: 9 x fortnightly Virtues reflection meetings ~ 3.30 – 5.30.
Term 3: Individual interviews: Wk 9
Still To Come…
Term 4: Individual interviews: Wk 8
Focus group consultation Wk 10
Term 1: Focus group consultation Wk 4.
What did the teachers’ think about being teachers before we started the reflective practice group using Virtues?
All people acknowledged teaching was considered a profession, though some felt its real status was semi-professional due to the lack ofprofessional autonomy, opportunities for professional development and reducedrespect for teachers as advisors or learned persons within the wider community.
People related professional status to a number of factors: The length of training required and having a degree, the need to abide by a code of ethics, having a high level of influence on and therefore responsibility for the wellbeing of others, the requirement for ongoing learning/ professional development.
Learning from life experiencesand learning from educational mentors, colleagues and students. Both forms of learning were experiential, happened within the participant’s learning environment (contextual), happened in relationship to others over an extended period of time and were personally significant.
When investigating the most important aspect of being a teacher all responded that it was about havingtrustworthy, respectful and caring relationships with their students as a means of encouraging student engagement in positive learning/the curriculum.
All participants had a shared vision of what a collaborative staff culturecould look like. Over the course of our reflective practice meetings it become apparent that the most common cause for teacher stress within school is collegial/peer relationships that are not collaborative. Concerns about teacher/student relationship or the ‘paper-war’ did not cause undue stress. These problematic peer-relationships seemed characterized by a lack of respectand trust and a feeling that one’s contribution is not listened to or valued. People feel particularly vulnerable when they are tired (end of term, portfolios, reports etc) and during the first two years of teaching.
All participants felt they had the capacity to greatly affect the learning outcomes of the students in their classroom, irrespective of student socio-economic or cultural background and that giving students the tools of clear learning intentions greatly contributed to this. They also considered their relationship with each individual student as the key encouraging factor in that student’s engagement with learning (either positive or negative). In addition, all participants said they were concerned with the holistic development and wellbeing of the child ie: the spiritual, emotional, physical and mental capacities (hauora).
What have we found out so far about the lived experience of teachers who are using Virtues Project strategies as a collegial reflective practice tool?
This is very cool, guys!
Huge, mate! huge…