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The Skillful Teacher in the PETALS environment
Engaging Learners, Empowering Teachers
The OLN Teaching and Learning Framework combines the key concepts of The Skillful Teacher and the dimensions of teaching and learning in the PETALS Framework. The school uses the PETALS Framework as a guide for instructional decision-making which leads to actions that impact learning. The Skillful Teacher outlines the different areas teachers have to be skillful in, in order for teaching and learning to take place effectively.
The PETALS Framework comprises 5 dimensions of teaching and learning which contribute to engaged learning. These 5 dimensions are Pedagogy, Experience of Learning, Tone of Environment, Assessment and Learning Content. Teachers draw on the PETALS dimensions to guide their lesson planning and teaching which in turn influences the level of pupil engagement in the classroom.
Each dimension in the PETALS Framework guides the teacher to think about how and what to do to engage learners in the classroom. The pupils are engaged when teachers:
- select Pedagogy that considers pupil readiness to learn and their learning styles;
- design an Experience of Learning that stretches thinking, promotes inter-connectedness and develops independent learning;
- create a Tone of Environment that is safe, stimulating and which engenders trust;
- adopt holistic Assessment practices that provide information on how well pupils have performed and provide timely feedback to improve learning; and
- select relevant and meaningful Learning Content that makes learning authentic for the pupils.
The teachers can use all 5 dimensions in the lesson plans to help realise Student-Centredness in the learning process. Student-Centredness is at the heart of the Framework.
Teacher beliefs play a major role in the development of the pupils. They guide the teachers in their daily interactions with their pupils. They also serve as a constant reminder to the teachers on the basic role of educators, that is, that every child matters and that there are hidden possibilities in each and every child. These beliefs inspire the teachers to be the best educator and the pupils, to be their personal best. The OLN teacher believes that:
- Every child is precious
- Every child is unique
- Every child can learn and achieve
In order to develop the teaching and learning environment, teachers need to build their competencies in terms of knowledge and skills. The school has adopted the practices of the Skillful Teacher to build an effective system for the professional development of teachers. The school hopes to develop skillful teachers who have a repertoire of strategies and the ability to choose the appropriate strategies to cater to the learning needs of their pupils. The tasks of teaching are grouped into 4 main areas – Management, Instructional Strategies, Motivation and Curriculum Planning.
- Management – Skillful teachers attend to the six management areas of attention, momentum, space, time, routines and discipline to create an environment conducive to learning and achievement. (Tone of environment)
- Instructional Strategies – Skillful teachers know what to do to help students attain their learning objectives. They select the most relevant and effective strategies to use with different groups of students to maximize teaching and learning. (Pedagogy)
- Motivation – Skillful teachers communicate high standards and expectations clearly and convincingly to all pupils. (Experience of Learning)
- Curriculum Planning - Skillful teachers are clear about what is to be learned, and know when learning is achieved. They develop clear and appropriate lesson objectives so that good lesson plans can be created. They recognize the influence of assessment on student learning and that it must be aligned to learning objectives. Assessment is also a means for teachers to identify areas for improvement in teaching and to refine teaching practices. (Learning Content and Assessment)