Many teachers complain about not having time to do anything else other than teaching, preparing lessons, making materials and marking papers. Although I totally concur that this is the case for the most part, I believe that my colleague and I have found a couple of ways that can speed up the process and make cutting corners a positive way to approach your teaching. The addition of ICT in our ELT/ESL syllabus has indeed helped us to reduce our workload on many levels; however, it hasn't always been that way. In order for us to be in this place where we find ourselves with time to spare is because we have been putting the work up to now. It is not an easy process, but after 18 months of really hard slog, we believe we can now sit back and reap the benefits of the time commitment (well for some of the time at least) to our syllabus and lesson planning. That does not mean the work is finished, but what it does mean is that we can step back from the coal face and decide on the most appropriate courses of action for everything we want to do with our students and curriculum. The TWO main reasons for this wonderful feeling are UbD (see my previous post) and COMMONCURRICULUM.
This recently set-up website is a breath of fresh air for busy teachers. Its sole purpose for the moment is to give teachers an on-line platform for them to record and organize their lesson plans and syllabus for days, weeks and months of the year. It is such a quirky and cool interface that it is impossible not to fall in love with it immediately. Here is a video that introduces is. I will follow it with examples from our own yearly plan that we have found so refreshing to write up and complete in a relatively short time to what it normally takes to do.We have both sat down and written up our syllabus since day one this year. This means that when we come back in August, 2013, we will be ready to start the year without worrying too much about what we have to do. Of course we will have some tweaking to do, but the fundamental framework is now in place.
Here is a snippet of our WEEK ONE.
You can see that the organizational model is nothing new with DAILY LESSONS outlined with places for writing up your plan. However, what makes this ICT on-line version so exciting is that you can upload files, documents, links to this blog (hahaha), links to anywhere including Dropbox and any cloud, pictures and video for any teacher in the year group to access. This would be particularly helpful for cover lessons.
Here is a snippet of our WEEK TEN.
This snippet from the middle of our semester highlights how accessible our program is for us and anyone, for instance our coordinator and HoD, to over look and approve. You can also see that we have uploaded our weekly idioms which stand out for the week. If you find that you didn't use a particular lesson outline one day, it is easy to slide it over to the following day so that it can be picked up and taught.
Here is a snippet of our WEEK SIXTEEN.
Although I have blown the trumpet of this awesome looking platform for curriculum design and planning, we are still in the early stages of how it best helps us. For three weeks we have felt a real sense of organized lessons as a result of getting them all uploaded. However, as with everything, the proof of any pudding is in the eating. This we plan to do over the next semester and see how really affective and effective it turns out. In addition we plan to link it to our standards that are on our Atlas Rubicon in the school system. Once this has been further integrated, we will have a further measure as to how brilliant it is. But for now, we are very pleased.