Coaching in Belize Continues - Science Workshops

Coaching in Belize Continues - Science Workshops
Wed, 03/27/2013 - 12:27

The trip was a big success, from the science perspective. I worked with the coaches and the principals and VP's had the choice to stay with me or go with nelson/the math folks. We had about half participate with each of us. By far I have to say the biggest success was in Punta Gorda with the Toledo District folks. They were SO eager to learn, share their ideas and experiences, be totally open to the (new) paradigm of teaching and learning (inquiry based, experiential, being resourceful), and blew me away!!!  The same can be said of the Stann Creek folks. I found some hesitancy of the Corozal group, and there were a few missing as Nelson noted. We only had 8 in my group that day, while Stann Creek was about 16 and Toledo was 24-26 total.

We focused on developing the teachers' ability to understand and facilitate meaningful and authentic learning of science concepts, and I had the teachers complete inquiry, experiential based activity on the concepts of Gravity, Forces, Energy (basic as well as potential and kinetic), friction, resistance, velocity and acceleration. We built rollercoasters (or waterslides) to illustrate the concepts and solidify understanding. We moved from general to specific understandings, and used tools such as conceptual models (or mind maps) to bring the learning together at the end (wrap up). We also focused on assessment of, as and for learning using guidelines from both Alberta and from my teaching days in Ontario. We also discussed and reviewed/practiced using a student profile to aid n assessment of learning - they found this to be particularly useful and needed, especially the principles and VP's. I will be sending Nelson a zipped file of resources for the teachers, and I will copy you and others that have requested to be copied to that email.

I have also committed to following up with teachers, principals and VP's as they requested me to, through an email listserv - new folks will be added to the existing listserv I have, and will be used to continue to network teachers, share ideas and lesson plans, etc. Further, there are some of the curriculum officers and teachers that are VERY KEEN to work with me to develop a lesson plan package (of 'best' ideas, etc) that align with each infant and standard level of the curriculum. We will also focus on developing assessments for the lesson plans.  This is a VERY cost effective way to continue to support the teachers and the implementation of the curriculum, and will aid future teachers when the curriculum is in full implementation. We will discuss what this resource package might look like, as Nelson has other ideas, needs, etc to attend to. That said, I can work with the keen and committed officers and teachers on this via email in the meantime.

I have asked Nelson to provide some input/feedback on the next round and needs for teacher PD - he has indicated this work will be ongoing and that he sees a place for me in this. I am keenly interested to stay involved and help facilitate the development of learning coaches as this program moves forward. 

Courtney Hughes
PhD student, University of Alberta
MEd, BSc, BEd