NAJAF ALI SHERQI
This reflective paper highlights four domains of pedagogical leadership – works for the holistic development of learners and transfers school into a dynamic learning community. The four domains of pedagogical leadership are social, academic, intellectual and professional capital. The area of this reflective analysis is limited to only the professional capital. For this purpose inductive method has been adopted to analyze the topic thoroughly and deeply. The process of interview has been adopted as a major data collecting tool to gather information gleaned from ECD rooms, circulars on boards, documents, charts and posters displayed on walls of staff room and principal office. Although in the visited school, all four capitals of pedagogical leadership are practiced but this paper focuses only the discourse of professional development. Here it is worth writing that in context of the visited school, there are three models of teachers professional development implemented which are: inside-in model, outside-in model and inside outside Model. D.J. Middle and Community High School Sultanabad is located in East of Gilgit City. The school is one of the standard schools of AKES, P. It runs up to secondary classes with the mutual collaboration of local community and AKES, P.
This school was established in 1960-61, as informally but with the passage of time it started primary classes in 1970. The present school building was constructed in 1980. In 1981 the school was upgraded from primary to middle level. It has eight regular AKES, P teachers and nine community teachers. It possesses enrollments of 297 students out of them 60 to 70 students of Gujar families dropped out in December 2012 due to sectarian issues in Gilgit. The academic session starts from April to March every year. The school has a closer relationship with the village community. At a glance, the students were showing confidence and seemed relaxed. Through a general observation on the whole school environment, it has been noted that all compulsory documents like circulars, S.D.P, news articles, result sheets, charts were displayed on the school soft boards and walls. A well developed resource room for ECD-2 has been flourished with some unique components of multiple-intelligence. Portfolios of class ECD-2 were well organized in a resource room the school was leading by a democratic and experienced head teacher who shared evidence based school information with me. Technological paradigm has led to a higher percentage of skills and knowledge to survive in a dynamic environment and a greater demand for skillful teachers.
The skill gap can only be overcome by an expansion of professional development. Professional development for the teachers in a school provides job security because those teachers who become more versatile and multi-skills obviously have greater job security as they can adjust to changes in the nature of their work. According to Damani, (2011) school can be enhanced as learning community through professional training programs such as workshops, certificate course and school-bases short-term programmed for teachers. The school-based professional development structure exists in the above said school in order to provide teachers with opportunities for their ongoing professional growth. The data reveals that there are three models of professional development for teacher in the D.J. school: This approach contains a variety of professional strategies which are discussed in this reflective paper one by one. This strategy is implemented in the D.J school for including both experienced and novice teachers according to the head teacher the aim of induction in the school is the introduction with the school system, discussing and solving problems concerning the subject matters as content knowledge, design of lesson plan and scheme, helping for getting pedagogical knowledge as different teaching strategies” The mentoring strategy is produced to some extent in the said school.
The head teacher is considered as main mentor in the school and others mentors assist the new teachers in setting up their classrooms. The school is run on the basis of long term and short term planning etc. When I asked the head teacher to show any document which ensured the mentoring program practice, I was shown school strategic plan in which mentoring program was written. Peer coaching is a professional development process that has shown to increase collegiality and improve teaching. The data showed that despite the position of school-based coach has many tasks: to support teachers in learning new knowledge and skills through co-planning, getting new information and analysis, conducting workshops and introduction of new teaching strategies: working with teachers in the class room through co-teaching, class room observation and feedback, working with other subject teachers and co-resource teachers. Performance review is an essential in a learning community because it provides an opportunity to meet separately with each member of staff and overall view of job performance along with teacher’s professional development. It highlights performance appraisal and performance planning. Performance appraisal judges the teachers work performance usually over the past year.
Performance planning is concerned with improving a teacher’s performance and planning for future work. In this regard D.J. School strongly believes in performance review to improve school and teachers effectiveness. According to the school principal “the main purpose of performance review in the school is teacher accountability. The performance review in the school is conducted every academic year with the collaboration of RSDU (regional school development unit). It is a teacher training strategy that can be applied at various stages in the professional development of teachers. According to Singh & Sharma “Micro-teaching is a procedure in which a pupil teacher practice teaching with a reduced number of pupils in a reduced period of time with emphasis on a narrow and specific teaching skill. Thus micro-teaching is a scaled-down encounter in class size and class time. It is, therefore a skill based approach to teacher training”. So answering a question the head teacher shared some valuable points in context to their own school regarding micro-teaching that micro-teaching in the D.J school is practiced but it depends as remedial teaching to improve teacher’s skills and student’s learning. Although there has not been adopted a proper mechanism for conducting micro-teaching in the said school.
Class room observation is one of the most important tool of evaluating teachers performance and students learning. Classroom observation is a collaborative process. Both the person being observed and the observer have important roles before, during, and after the observation collaborating at each stage of the process can help put both participants at ease so that each benefits from the experience”. The pedagogical leadership of the said school strongly believes in maintaining class room observation to boost up teachers performance for the sack of teacher appraisal and to improve learning environment. The principal said that two lesson plans are compulsory for all teachers per day. Thus practice of lesson planning improves teacher’s professional performance that is why class room observation tool is practiced in the said school. Head teacher of D.J School said that reflection is practiced in the school but it is not in a systematic way. How’re, reflections of teachers are shared after every 15 days in the school it is evidenced that the school principal believes in teacher’s professional development through maintaining reflection writing and sharing it with others colleagues in the school and making future planning to improve future actions. This underpins our belief that a reflective teaching portfolio should be more than a miscellaneous collection of artifacts or list of professional activities and accomplishments. So it is only possible that a teacher becomes a real reflective in the school. Along with D.J. School is practicing outside-in model. Outside-in model means those professional skills which are improved in collaboration with other schools in the form of networking.
In this regard this model permits D.J. School teachers to interact with colleagues, peers and teachers from other schools. For instance, the D.J. School teachers are also sent to attend the sessions or workshops conducted by Sonni Coat School and High School Daniyoor. Beside, inside-in model and outside-in model, I got so evidences of practicing inside/outside model in the D.J.School as well. This model allows the teachers of the said school to polish their professional skills so they enjoy different workshops and refresher courses conducted by different institutions like PDCN and AKES, P.
This reflective writing helped me not only develop a deeper comprehension of specific actions of school-based professional development but also to reflect on my own experiences and assumptions in facilitating school-based professional development, I have got not only a huge enrichment in my comprehension, but also change some of my views about the role of pedagogical leadership in facilitating the school in moving towards professional practices.