A place for everyone.
I taught a multi-level French Second Language course a number of years ago. The students were following a mix of Pre-secondary through Secondary five programs – and I had one student studying math. The students were part of a special program offered through Tewatohnhi’saktha and Nova Career Centre and they had one morning of French class a week. The work was immense. And there was one French class a week.
When I think about multiplying the work 3, 4, or 5 times a week, I start to shake. Yet this is what many teachers in Adult Education in Quebec do on a regular basis. The longer I work in Adult Ed, I am seeing that individualized classrooms are more the norm than the exception. I am humbled by teachers like Janie Lamoureux and Karine Jacques (and so many more!) who strive to make their classrooms work for all of their students, regardless of level, background, or course they are taking.
…& they do this through flexible learning environments.
But of course, flexible learning is SO much more than just a pretty space! And this is what Janie & Karine spoke about at the first après-cours for individualized teachers of the year, November 6, 2018.
Avi Spector, Véronique Bernard, and I decided to create an online community for Individualized teachers so they could have a place to meet with others and talk about the unique challenges and opportunities that come with an individualized classroom.
The theme for the first meeting was changing things up in the classroom and I think the best thing we did was to hand the content over to two master teachers – Karine Jacques & Janie Lamoureux. They spoke about how their flexible classroom environments help their students as well as their teaching. The meeting was completely bilingual and it was great to see the chat box blow up in both English and en français!
Their presentation/conversation was nothing short of inspiring. Below is a video of the meeting and some links to other resources from the après-cours. Enjoy – and I hope to see you at our next meeting! We will announce the date soon.
Last May, a group of FSL teachers allowed me to record their thoughts about curriculum renewal in FSL. They spoke of their concerns as well as some solutions they felt will help them to get through these times of change.
The teachers were responding to questions asked in a series of videos created through a DEAFC project and presented by Caroline Mueller, PhD. and teacher at Place Cartier Adult Centre and Judith Davidson, Responsable des programmes d’études Francisation et Français, langue seconde DEAFC.
The videos talk about the new programs in SEC 3 and 4 FSL and present a new learning situation that can be used at both levels. They also address concerns and solutions related to the programs. The videos will be available soon – I’ll update you when they are!
Les conversations sont en français.
Concerns: New exams, creating new materials, and implementing multiple levels of new programming in one classroom.
Solutions: Collaboration! Whether it be having help in the classroom or working together outside of the classroom to develop materials, collaboration seemed to be the number one practice that is giving teachers hope through these times of change. One teacher also mentioned the need for mentoring as teachers try new things in their classrooms.
Notes: These conversations were originally recorded during a workshop delivered by Caroline Mueller at a Provincial Ped Day for DBE implementation organized by Isabelle Bertolotti, May 12, 2017. The background noises are other conversations that were happening during the workshop – the teachers had a lot to share!
Julie’s Online Student Resources, created in collaboration with Michelle Robinson at Hull Adult Education Centre.
FSL – French Second Language / FLS – Français Langue Seconde
DBE – Diversified Basic Education is the program for Secondary 3, 4, and 5 in Quebec Adult Education.
I am writing this blog post during a visit to Colleen Glover’s classroom with a team of teachers and consultants from the ETSB, NFSB, PROCEDE, and the RECIT. (this post was originally written on June 9, 2017)
Colleen is a Math and Science teacher at the Nova Career Centre of the New Frontiers School Board. Her classrooms are always multi-level and sometimes multi-subject as well.
With our new programs and the shift towards the use of learning situations for the development of competencies, teachers are questioning just how they are going to manage this when they teach multi-level and multi-subject groups using an individualized approach.
Well, Colleen manages her groups in a way that is not only possible but positively supports the philosophy of our new programs.
So, we organized a visit to her classroom so that teachers from the ETSB could see how she manages her individualized classes.
What a rich experience! I was inspired by watching the class unfold and seeing how Colleen organizes student learning within the context of different courses – including labs! Her individualized classroom is truly a community of learners. Students support each other in their learning. A group of students in one science course were creating solutions for a small group in another science course for their lab activity.
I particularly liked the celebration wall, where Colleen showcases copies of the acceptance letters her students receive from CEGEPs and universities!
The result of this day will be a video to share with the rest of the province because teachers have been asking for these kinds of resources so they can take a peek into the classrooms of their peers as we transition into teaching with our new programs.
While you are waiting for the video – I invite you to listen to the latest podcast, which is a conversation that took place after the visit, about the unique student/teacher relationship in Adult Education.
We are not alone and when we realize this, anything is possible!
Thank you, Colleen, for inviting us into your classroom!
Teacher voices are incredibly powerful.
They are powerful for me because they teach me how I can best support them.
They are powerful for each other because they can support each other in this extraordinarily complex and important profession that can often feel so lonely.
They are powerful for their students because it is their teacher’s voice, their teachers’ voices, that are their prime models for learning – their anchors in learning.
And this is why Daniel records his math lessons. As he explains in this video, he records himself every day so that his students can have access to his lessons when they are ready for them – at their pace. Sometimes it is during class time when he explains things live … but sometimes it isn’t and that is ok. By recording his lessons and posting them online, he can model learning to his students wherever they are in the learning process without having to do much more than press record when he starts speaking. No extra prep, no circus sideshows with apps that do or do not need wifi or login credentials or fancy devices. As he concludes in the video:
“It assures the students that, you know what? If I don’t get it now, it’s ok! I don’t have to beat myself up about it right now. I can always go back later and then learn this thing.“
And if this weren’t enough, it is only one of the areas where teachers voices hold power.
It was through feedback sessions with teachers that I learned of the need for videos like Daniel’s. Last spring, my colleague, Avi Spector, and I went to an adult education centre to present something that the teachers ended up absolutely hating but that particular afternoon became incredibly valuable to me (to both of us, I think). Why? Because some of the teachers let us know that they hated it (beyond just falling asleep in the back of the room) and let us know what they needed from us. They said, you know what would be valuable to us? Concrete examples of good teacher practice going on in Quebec Adult Education Centres. Some might think that flop of an afternoon PD session was a disaster but it changed the course of how I support the educators I work for. This is the power of teacher voice for me and I am hopeful that videos such as Daniel’s story above (and Julie and Michelle’s story, here) hold proof of the power of teacher voice for each other.
(If you are interested in Daniel’s approach, a good place to start to learn more about it is on this PD Mosaic tile about Blended Learning.
If you know a teacher who is doing something great in their classroom with technology or if you are doing something interesting yourself – please let me know about it so we can share even more stories. Find me @tracyrosen on Twitter)