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Part 7 of 10. Meet Jonas Fors, Head of School, and his colleagues who have new perspectives after 450 lesson observations
Meet Jonas Fors, Head of School, and his colleagues who have new perspectives after 450 lesson observations
This is about a spring term 2019 professional development-day for all 17 schools in Ludvika municipality. A day when all teachers had the opportunity to analyse and discuss statistics and reports from BRAVOLesson that gave them and Jonas Fors a clear picture of how they start and end their lessons.
It is also about the planning for the next two academic years in Ludvika – a step by step plan to achieve better and better teaching and learning – that is related to singer Tommy Nilsson’s most famous love song.
Teaching analytics for shared reflection
From October to the end of January 2019, 450 observations of the start of and the end of lessons were completed in the 17 schools in Ludvika,. With the help of BRAVOLesson, it was possible to analyse and share statistics both from a school and a municipality perspective around each dimension that was included in the observation forms.
The analysis showed, for example, that the majority of all lessons started with focusing on helping the pupils understand the intention of each lesson and getting started with the tasks.
– We could also see that a development area is how the lessons are ended. ‘In almost half of the lessons, the teacher did not, or to a small extent, summarise what the lesson was about and in almost 60 percent of the lessons the pupils did not, or to a small extent, have the opportunity to reflect on their learning’, says Anders Bobäck, development manager in the municipality of Ludvika.
The analysis became a focus for discussions during the Ludvika schools’ professional development-day on 15th February.
– We saw that we could improve both how we start and end lessons, especially how we finish our lessons. At our school we discussed the templates and the statistics. We discussed and gave each other tips and ideas on how to best finish a lesson. The conclusion helps me as a teacher to plan lessons ahead, says Sara Graniti, teacher at Knutsbo school.
“We saw that we could improve both how we start and end lessons, especially how we finish our lessons.”
Sara Graniti, teacher at Knutsbo school
A guide on how to implement systematic focus on teaching
During the Autumn term of 2018, Ludvika began to work according to a new specific plan that focused on developing and improving the teaching at all the schools. The plan is part of Ludvika developing the structure for school improvement and performance management. They have asked for support from Successful Schools and use their handbook The Model for inspiration.
Ludvika was among the first to use the new whitepaper and guide from Successful Schools and BRAVOLesson: A guide for how to write a plan and implement a systematic approach to improve teaching step by step plan.
– ‘The guide accelerated our process and helped transform our ideas into a concrete, clear and systematic plan. All of a sudden we had a tool that gave us courage to move on from the theory stage’, says Anders Bobäck, development manager in Ludvika municipality.
“The guide accelerated our process and helped transform our ideas into a concrete, clear and systematic plan. All of a sudden we had a tool that gave us courage to move on from the theory stage.”
Anders Bobäck, development manager in Ludvika municipality
The core of the school’s systematic quality work
At the start of autumn term 2019, Ludvik’s own concrete plan was ready. The plan focuses on how to improve teaching and learning in all schools. The plans overall aim is to develop “a collaborative culture where it is natural for teachers to study their and others ‘teaching to develop the students’ learning together”. The plan’s name is Open your door and say you want me here.
– It was when we were working with on our plan that Swedish singer Tommy Nilsson’s old love song suddenly began to ring in my head. Opening the door for colleagues is exactly what it is about. To help and share ideas to develop the teaching together and build a learning culture, says Anders Bobäck, development manager.
“It was when we were working on our plan that Swedish singer Tommy Nilsson’s old love song suddenly began to ring in my head. Opening the door to for colleagues is exactly what it is about.”
Anders Bobäck, development manager in Ludvika municipality
Focus on one thing at a time in all classrooms
The first step in the plan involves focusing only on the start and end of lessons, without a connection to a specific person / teacher. It focuses on the principals carrying out short observations – 10 minutes at the start of a lesson and 10-15 minutes at the end of a lesson, to initially get an overall picture of the teaching around these two aspects. Something that takes relatively little time, but that can have a major impact on the quality of teaching and learning. Advice in the guide ‘for better and better teaching’ is not to start at “100 km per hour” but instead start with something that takes reasonable time, but has great impact on learning. After that, you can prioritise and plan how to carry out observations and feedback to teachers in a manageable way, in an ever day school context.
In October 2018, all principals received a 30-minute introduction in BRAVOLesson, the tool chosen for the systematic work for better and better teaching. Start-and-end-of-lesson observations were identified as the highest priority task. It was the starting point for all the principals to carry out observations on all their teachers.
Anchoring at both principal and teacher level
All teachers viewed and had the opportunity to give input into the observation forms that would be used (take a look at the observation form in BRAVOLesson’s library on the web – see example 1.15).
– The decision to observe something that takes relatively little time was a common driver for the team of principals. ‘With the statistics from BRAVOLesson, I have had a basis to discuss with both the principals who started their observations and with those who for various reasons had challenges that slowed them down from getting started. With BRAVOLesson, I know if the work that we have prioritised really is carried out at each school or not’, says Head of School Jonas Fors.
“With BRAVOLesson, I know if the work that we have prioritized really is carried out at each school or not.”
Jonas Fors, Head of School, Ludvika Municipality
– ‘I think it has worked well to use BRAVOLesson at the visits to the classrooms. In practical terms, it is easy to use a digital tool in connection with the lesson observations. I follow the lesson and click quickly in the areas that are the basis for my observation. I also write comments and take notes’, says Agneta Carlsson-Byström, Principal at Church School 7-9.
“I follow the lesson and click quickly in the areas that are the base for my observation.”
Agneta Carlsson-Byström, Principal at Church School 7-9
Work now continues in Ludvika. The next steps are:
– More focus on the start and end of lessons with individual feedback to each teacher.
– Build trust and an open climate where teachers feel empowered in conversations and reflection of each other’s and their own teaching.
– Focus on the leadership in the classroom – a dimension that has great impact on the quality of teaching and learning.
– ‘This is a very important part of our vision and the work for Ludvika to become one of the 25 per cent best school municipalities in Sweden by 2020’, says Jonas Fors.
“Now the work continues in Ludvika… Focus on the leadership in the classroom – a dimension that has great impact on the quality of teaching and learning.”
The schools in Ludvika all have a school license
At each school, these observation forms are included for use in BRAVOLesson. In addition, the module BRAVOLesson Analytics has been selected for statistics on aggregated municipality level.
The Lesson Calculator – 100 Million lessons are about to be taught. How many lessons will be taught at your school?
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Part 5 of 10. Improve teaching in every classroom by thinking about the dimensions that make a difference
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