Op Ed

Planning for Professional Improvement

Greg Cairnduff, M Ed, BA, Dip Ed, MACE, Deputy Managing Editor

16 January 2014

On behalf of all associated with our website , I wish all of our readers and followers a very happy New Year for BE 2557 or 2014 AD. In the Chinese Zodiac this is the Year of the Horse. The spirit of the horse is recognized to be the Chinese people’s ethos – to make unremitting efforts to improve themselves. It is energetic, bright, warm-hearted, intelligent and able. Ancient people liked to designate an able person as ‘Qianli Ma’, a horse that covers a thousand li a day (one li equals 500 meters).

This ethos of unremitting efforts to improve is highly relevant to educators not only in Thailand but universally.

We wish all educators a great year ahead and we wish them great perservence, and resilience in facing the challenge to improve their teaching and learning processes whether in the classroom; in school administration, or leadership of schools and systems.

The start of any new calendar year is of course a time for making “New Year Resolutions” it is the time when we can set personal goals for ourselves and during the year we try to reach these goals.

In my country, Australia, the school year starts quite soon – in most parts of the country, the school year opens at the end of January or in the first week of February. But here in the northern hemisphere, the school year begins during the calendar year, so Thai schools will have been operating on their current school year for some months now. But this should not prevent teachers from making New Year resolutions about the improvements they will try to achieve in the year of 2557.

I challenge all teachers to respond to these simple questions about their own professional growth:

• Do you have a professional growth plan for this year [either for the school year or the calendar year]?
• What targets have you set yourself for improvement in teaching and learning?
• What support are you receiving to achieve the targets you have set yourself?
• If you have a professional growth plan – have you looked at it lately to see what progress you are making with the professional growth targets you set for yourself?
• If you have no plan will you make one?

If you need help with developing a Professional Growth Plan, please contact us at SCLT and we will provide on line assistance for drawing up a plan. It’s not a difficult or time consuming process.

It is very important to the development of the Thai education system that all individual teacher and administrators have such a plan so that all incremental improvements contribute to the improvement of the national education system.
It is a fundamental professional duty of all educators the commit themselves to ongoing professional improvement. Even the Year of the Horse stands for this.
We trust all will have a great year in their particular contribution to the education of young Thais.

This month, two of our regular contributors, Dr Don Jordan and Ms Ellen Cornish provide an excellent article on differentiation of teaching by looking at different ways text books can be used and how one text may be used in many different ways so that different learning styles and stage of learning can be taken into account by the teacher. They
provide examples of how this can be done with text books.

Differentiation of learning is critical in the student centred class room. It is also something many teachers find quite hard to do effectively. I urge classroom teachers to take up some of the plans provided by Don and Ellen.

Warm regards for this New Year

Greg Cairnduff, January 2014
Greg is Director of the Australian International School of Bangkok

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