The role of Curriculum Coordinator

Just some notes I wrote up in trying to identify what I feel are key aspects of the Curriculum Coordinators role in schools.

Curriculum Coordinator


talking about teaching

As part of our term 2 workshops on HSC Teaching we hope to post some of the materials and discussions that take place here. Attached today is one of the stimulus documents used for discussion in our first workshop.

Quality teaching at the HSC
What matters to students? A high achievers perspective from 2010.
What makes a difference to students_

View original post

Professional Accomplishment – annotating the standards

As I have begun annotating the standards I have realised just how many there are and for each standard a range of evidence that is required. I have recently changed my approach from working through standard by standard to picking some key activities or pieces of evidence that I will use, and mapping these across the standards first.

I have just added these as key pieces of evidence on one of the first pages of the document and will go through and map these out to the standards from here.

This is what is recommended anyway but I have learnt the hard way. I think that this will be the more efficient way to cover the standards and help maintain a broader more holistic view of the standards in doing so.


Professional accomplishment – first steps

The first term was a bit of a blur really. Having done the job for a year it was easier in a lot of ways but I am not sure it was any less busy. I think it just enabled me to spend a little more time on some areas that I think have a lot more impact in the longer term but there is still plenty more I would like to have done. (That is teaching I guess – work in progress and do the best you can at the time. Don’t lose heart over the things you could have done better. That is for next lesson/week/term/year).

The term finished with a professional learning day with others from the Wollongong Diocese who are working towards the higher levels of the NSW institute of teachers – professional accomplishment and leadership. It was great to be able to discuss with others the requirements of   the process and it certainly helped me clarify a plan of attack to move forward.

Part of the plan of attack is to try and keep most of the process and documents I will be using as shared documents and public documents so that others may benefit and I can refer to them later if required to help others through the process. A key theme of professional accomplishment is sharing and working with other teachers so I think this approach is appropriate.

I aim to use the support document as a guide and annotate to show the evidence I am thinking of using. By linking documents to this I think it can provide a good framework to organise the resources and evidence I intend on using. Hopefully this will be useful to others also in the long run.

Concerns – It appears to be a huge process to show that you meet each of the 7 standards and 42 elements and require evidence that you are consistently meeting these standards over time (not that it should be easy and I see merit in it being a rigorous process). While I feel they are things that I am doing regularly the task of organising this evidence will take considerable time.

Referee’s are required to validate some of the standards and this still to me is a big ask of other people. (Max 250 words per element you ask them to be a referee – (4 elements = 1000 words!) They also need to register in the Institute site for a number to be able to act as a referee. Bit of a hard sell here I think!

I guess going through the process early may assist but I think over time this will be a big ask of  other teachers, particularly Principals who appear to be required as referee’s for all people working towards accreditation at the higher levels. From what I have seen, Principals are pretty busy already. I wonder how sustainable this model may be? Not that it is a bad process but I can see issues moving forward as more people work towards these levels.

My concerns are not outweighed by the potential benefits and professional learning I anticipate by going through the process so I am approaching this in a positive manner.

My goal over the holidays is to annotate each standard with my ideas for the evidence I will use and hopefully include one piece of evidence that will be fully annotated for a range of elements.

See how we go.

Challenges of professional accomplishment

I think the idea of professional accomplishment and teaching standards are very worthwhile but there are some challenges in ensuring validity.

I think one of the difficulties of going through the process of professional accomplishment is the idea that you need to prove to a few people that you meet a whole raft of criteria without knowing exactly how to demonstrate this. By this I mean the depth of information required and level of documentation that is sufficient to show that you meet these criteria. I am confident that if someone could trail me for a term they could see I meet the criteria but a day or two’s worth of observation is likely to lead to a ‘demonstration’ type lessons that may not reflect the regular classroom. How much detail is needed for documentation at the professional accomplishment level? (Hopefully I can answer this for you soon!) I must say that their support documents are very detailed and will be very helpful but it would be great to see some examples of other acceptable evidence.

In reality determining whether someone meets these criteria is not something that can be done with a few days of external observation. Referee checks provide further depth but again place a large responsibility on other teachers to justify your cause and to me this seems a fairly onerous task to other teachers. This is probably my greatest concern at this stage as asking someone to be a referee appears to be quite a bit of work for them.

I can see the process needs to be rigorous but initially I have to say it seems fairly overwhelming. I am sure as I get into it it will appear more manageable but initially this seems like an awful lot of work!


Visible learning for teachers – John Hattie

I have just received John Hattie’s latest book which aims to explain how to apply the principles of his previous book to ‘any classroom anywhere in the world. I will keep a summary of some of the points he raises I think are useful and keep them at the link below. Hope they might be useful to you also.

“Know thy impact”

Embedded formative assessment – Dylan William

Holidays is always a good time to catch up on some reading and make plans for putting any useful recent ideas into action for the following year. I find that very few of the ideas I come across actually get fully implemented. I don’t think this is a bad thing necessarily as when you read fairly widely it would be impossible to follow up every idea or approach that is presented. For me what is important is finding those things that have the potential to make a big difference to my students and giving them a go.

There is plenty of research to suggest that assessment for learning (formative assessment) approaches have the potential to have a big impact on student learning. I read ‘inside the black box‘ by Dylan William and Paul Black 7 or 8 years ago which is considered a key document by many, that helped sharpen the focus of many education systems on the value of formative assessment. I was pleased to come across one of his recently published books ‘ embedded formative assessment’ which I purchased during term 4. I managed to highlight some points that I thought were worth reading over a number of times and so I thought I would store them here for easy access!

Formative assessment is something that I am well aware of but believe there is plenty of scope to improve my implementation.

Google doc with selected quotes below (A little too long to dump all here).