Sunday, August 3, 2014

Leading statewide curriculum teams.

I am very fortunate to currently be the State Review Panel Chair for Health Education in Queensland. This position allows me to work closely with 5 State Review Panelists and 6 District Review Panel Chairs. My intent since being selected for the role has been to lead the development of our curriculum by informing schools and teachers. This is quite a difficult task and one I don't think has achieved its full potential yet. To achieve this goal, there has been specific strategies put into place and supported by the Senior Education Officer (who is essentially my co-leader in this role).

  1. Recognising two distinct roles

    The members of the State Review Panel and District Review Panel Chairs are expert teachers who apply their craft with diligence and precision. Their official role as panelists is to moderate the implementation of the syllabus. However as expert teachers I believe they can offer advice on interpretation of the syllabus, which will inform their implementation and in the long run better prepare them for external moderation.

  2. Communication pathways

    Review panelists have official communication pathways to schools and teachers centred around external moderation processes.

    Opening communication between these expert teachers and schools is critical in changing the perception of the panel members as only "external assessors." Current members on the State Review Panel are intelligent and innovative teachers that can assist other teachers in developing both their programs and their craft. An email discussion list was created by a retired State Panel member, and slowly but surely we are spreading the word this is an effective place to both receive and ask for information.

    At the most recent conference for State Review Panel and District Review Panel Chairs we decided to utilise the email discussion list to distribute pertinent information from the group, informing schools and teachers prior to the external moderation of school based assessment.

  3. Collaborative development of resources

    Generally the agenda of our conferences are tightly managed. I am fortunate that the 2 Senior Education Officers who I have worked with have been flexible in the use of conference time. We tend to get a 90 minute session to work collaboratively as a group on the development of resources. These resources will be progressively communicated through the email discussion list.
This will fundamentally change the communication pathways from current perceptions of the State and District Review Panel members, which will need to be carefully managed itself. My focus on this new communication pathway will be to foster advice for schools on interpretation of the syllabus to inform their implementation before moderation points in time. The significant difference is expert teachers will offer advice before moderation, whereas panel members will offer advice at moderation. Considering this advice may come from the same physical person, managing this effectively is my most significant challenge.

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