Working with individual teachers or small groups of teachers in a school means that you, as a professional development expert, can tailor the professional development to the needs of those teachers. For example, if they want to try something new in a particular context, you can plan a lesson with them and then watch them teach and talk to them about the lesson afterwards. They could also plan their own lesson, and again you could watch them teach and discuss with them afterwards.
Your discussion with the teacher helps them to reflect deeply, not only on the way they taught the lesson, but also on their students’ responses. It can also help them think in detail about the design of the task and the classroom lesson as a whole. For many teachers this process leads to significant learning.
The FaSMEd experience
In FaSMEd, some partners worked directly with individual teachers. For example, AIMSSEC discussed classroom materials with teachers and reflected with them in depth about the tasks, the approach taken in FaSMEd lessons and their own teaching as well as refining the materials based on the teachers’ experiences in the classroom. ENS de Lyon, on the other hand, left the responsibility for designing lessons to the teachers. Then the researchers observed and analysed lessons and discussed them with the teachers. The redevelopment of classroom materials was performed by the researchers based on these analyses and discussions. In addition, their work with teachers involved the development of a French toolkit website including all adaptions made to the classroom materials.
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