During the January school holidays, 29 dedicated teachers and pre-service teachers, 28 eager students, three expert coaches and a magician met at Dawson Park Primary School. The Teach Well Intensive is a week-long, professional development program for experienced and pre-services teachers to develop high impact instructional practices.
Teachers from 11 schools observed English and math lessons by Dawson Park teachers Mr O and Mr B, with year 3 and 4 students. The teachers had several opportunities to practice the skills they were observing and learning, by teaching the students throughout the week. Many teachers were apprehensive as the style of lessons are fast paced, systematic and teacher led, but with the support of experienced teachers and Dr Lorraine Hammond, teachers finished the week confident to teach their own classes using the high impact, explicit instruction method. The student’s schooling during the holidays was rewarded with a range of activities each afternoon, including a magician, activities with Sports Challenge Australia and CoderDojo WA. The teachers were fortunate to have such engaged students to develop their teaching skills with.
The Fogarty Foundation initiated the program to provide teachers wanting to teach explicitly with the content, support and practice often difficult to access in traditional professional development. The initiative generated interest from the media and system leaders. The West reported the program, here, and Minister for Education and Training, Sue Ellery, MLC as well as the Member for Forrestfield, Stephen Price, MLA came and saw the program in action. See the Minsiter’s selfie with the students here.
The Teach Well Intensive pilot program is being evaluated by Murdoch University professor Dr Tony Fetherston, including follow up reviews to investigate if and how these new skills are being used back in the schools. We look forward to sharing the report with educators, advocates and the community in April.