Codifying Teacher Practice

photo by Ben Kolde on Unsplash

To codify is to arrange information in a logical order that others can follow.

An important starting point for implementing a hybrid approach to teaching and learning is to design learning experiences in the online world that capture the pedagogical aspirations that lie behind what we do in in-person environments. Further, we need to work collaboratively within our organisations to ensure a coherent approach is taken in order to create a ‘familiar’ experience for our learners (and their parents/whānau).

A key issue here appears to be that while individual teachers are competent and proficient at what they do in in their own classroom settings, they often lack the ability to articulate this in a clear and logical way so that it can be understood and followed by others. The need for this becomes important if we are to achieve the level of transparency in practice that will enable teams of teachers to work effectively in a hybrid world. It is also important if we’re to create the conditions for changes in pedagogical practice where required.

Towards the end of last year I wrote a paper titled Resilience Planning for Schools in an age of COVID-19 to provide a conceptual overview and introduce the drivers for why we must be considering hybrid approaches in our education system. It used a scenario approach for helping us to understand this. Earlier this year I wrote a second paper Getting Started With Hybrid Learning: A teacher guide which provides a more detailed overview at a programme level of what is required to establish a hybrid approach within an organisation. It provides strategies and templates to assist your thinking and planning.

The response from schools and educators to these has been very encouraging, and based on the follow up discussions I’ve been having and work in schools I’ve been doing, I have now written a third paper I’m calling “Codifying Teacher Practice” which brings a focus to the work of teachers in a hybrid approach – their pedagogical practice. It provides a practical approach to considering what is required in order to support the change in teaching and learning behaviours and approaches to achieve a fully hybrid system.

The concept of codifying what we do is not new – although the use of the term may be new to some. As educators we use examples of this sort of codification when we use manuals guiding us through the steps in a literacy programme for example. Or as school communities we’ve been through the process of codifying our cultural values when developing the mission/values section of our school charters and so forth.

Rather than attempt to define what the pedagogical practice should be or look like, this new paper provides a way of examining current practices and reflecting on the extent to which they do (or don’t) support what is required to operate effectively in a hybrid environment. The concept of ‘codifying’ practice is used here to describe this process.

The specific areas of focus are based on findings from the research into the experiences of educators, learners/ākonga and parents/whānau during the lockdowns in 2020. They are a mix of the philosophical and practical elements that inform our practice as individuals and as an organisation

Codifying our practice is important in developing an effective, organisational approach to hybrid learning. It makes explicit the tacit knowledge and experience that exists within our profession or community so that everyone is able to participate and contribute to achieving the shared goals and outcomes.  In this way all involved – teachers, learners/ākonga , parents/whānau, support staff etc. – will be able to navigate their path within this new way of working.

The focus areas identified from the research and addressed in the full paper are:

  1. Equity
  2. Inclusion
  3. Learner agency
  4. Engagement
  5. Content
  6. Learning activity
  7. Partnerships
  8. Leveraging digital
  9. Feedback
  10. Assessment

I’ll be posting an intro to each of these sections on my blog over the next few days.

The full paper contains templates and guidelines that can be used in professional development to build shared understandings and facilitate action towards the change required. The full paper will be added to the thought pieces section of my FutureMakers website in due course.

If you’d prefer to receive an advance copy of the full version of the paper please email derek@futuremakers and I’ll send you one.

Meantime, keep visiting my blog as I share the content in sections.

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