all the planned activities undertaken by teachers (which includes all educational personnel) to improve their effectiveness, both in the conduct of regular duties occasioned by promotion or transfer to new positions. (Bassett 1978, p.63)Acceptance of this broad definition of in-service education means that in-service education is applied to principals, administrators and classroom teachers. It also means that the classroom teacher must make decisions in respect to the form of in-service education to be undertaken, and persons responsible for in-service education need to consider the forms of in-service education to be offered. These forms of in-service education may include:
There is evidence that teachers don't learn by and large from scholarly journals (Little 1982), research reports (Stenhouse 1978) or even preservice courses (Hogben 1980). Rather they seem to be influenced most by precept and example, especially role models held of their own teachers. (Smyth 1984, p.26)From this research it is concluded that an important form of inservice education is related to teachers learning from other teachers (Brandt 1987). An analysis of research by Joyce and Showers (1981) indicated that effective teacher education is brought about through a matrix of training components which enhance teaching skills and strategies. These components are:
Research in the foregoing review emphasised the classroom modelling component for training and in-servicing teachers. This research examines teachers' perceptions of classroom modelling for introducing and developing a process writing model in the primary school classroom.
The advisory teacher visited the school at the request of the principal who timetabled her to work with the appropriate teachers on the staff. Normally, the advisory teacher spoke to the teachers as a group about the writing process, stages of the writing process and ways to implement the writing process, and then worked with individual teachers in the classroom by demonstrating strategies used to implement and develop the writing model in the classroom. Demonstration was related to individual teacher needs as teachers were at various stages of teaching writing in the classroom.
Teachers' needs included: (a) assistance in encouraging reluctant writers to write; (b) assistance in organizing classrooms for writing conferences; (c) guidance for writing; (d) ideas for linking writing and reading; (e) strategies to help children take responsibility for their own writing.
Classroom demonstrations focussed on the four aspects of writing shown in the model (meaning, expressing, print and presentation). While the advisory teacher demonstrated strategies related to aspects of writing, the classroom teacher observed and took notes. The classroom teacher could ask questions as the demonstration progressed or at the conclusion of the demonstration. Discussion between the classroom teacher and the advisory teacher provided opportunities for the advisory teacher to clarify teaching strategies. In the classroom context the teacher was able to observe the children's responses as part of the on-going language arts program that operated in his/her classroom.
Forty-one teachers responded to the questionnaire - three principals and thirty-eight teachers. Of these teachers seven taught year one, four year two, seven year three, three year four, three year five, five year six, two year seven, and nine multiple grades which included one teaching principal.
Name of School .....................................................
Deputy Principal .......................................
Assistant to Principal ...............................
Year Level Taught ....................................
|1.||Do you find this form of in-service helpful?||YES/NO|
|2.||Do you find this form of in-service better than attending seminars or workshops?||YES/NO|
|3.||Is this form of in-service appropriate for instruction in writing and language development?||YES/NO|
|4.||Should this form of assistance in the classroom be preceded by teacher-group discussion led by the adviser?||YES/NO|
|5.||Should this form of assistance be followed by teacher-group discussion led by the adviser?||YES/NO|
|6.||How has this form of in-service helped you most?|
|7.||Briefly list the advantages of this assistance.|
|8.||Briefly list the disadvantages of this assistance.|
These responses indicated that this form of in-service is highly acceptable by teachers.
Question 6: How has this form of in-service helped you?
Question 7: Briefly list the advantages of this assistance.
Question 8: Briefly list the disadvantages of this assistance.
Question 9: General Comments.
Question 7 (Briefly list the advantages of this assistance) is also related to Questions 1 and 6. Advantages were related to the teacher being able to observe the advisory teacher and discuss what she was doing to clarify the teacher's thinking. The teachers also indicated that it was an advantage to observe their children's reactions to the activities.
Question 8 (Briefly list the disadvantages of this assistance) resulted in few responses. Most teachers did not see disadvantages in this form of learning but the disadvantages that were listed were related to the desire to have more time with the advisory teachers. It was perceived that more time was needed in individual classes and more frequent visits were needed to do follow-up instruction.
Question 2 (Do you find this form on in-service better than attending seminars of workshops?) clearly showed that most teachers agreed that this was a better form of in-service (34 to 6). Some teachers suggested that seminars and workshops be held as well as classroom visits by the advisory teacher.
From Question 3 (Is this form of in-service appropriate for instruction in writing and language development?) there was a yes response from every teacher. Comments from other parts of the questionnaire tied the advantages of this form of in-service to a range of factors as well as writing but the significance of this form of in-service specifically for writing was expressed in some responses (Questions 7 and 8).
Questions 4 and 5 (Should this form of assistance in the classroom be preceded by/followed by discussion led by the adviser?) clearly indicated that teachers wanted to discuss the writing process. These discussions were perceived as opportunities to discuss problems and solutions. These opportunities also gave the teachers a chance to discuss writing without the constraints of the classroom teaching that was occuring when the adviser was in the classroom.
This research clearly shows that classroom modelling is an important aspect of in-service for teachers, and reinforces Joyce and Showers' (1981) conclusions on coaching in the classroom. The tenor of the responses indicate that these teachers want to develop writing in the classroom, need help to do this, this help needs to be systematic, and should include demonstration in the classroom.
In the context of this Region of Education, a great deal of interest has been stimulated in the writing process, and the visits to the schools by the advisory teacher have helped generate this interest. School based sequentially planned in-service could be organized by principals and staff in schools, and incorporate appropriate visits by the advisory teacher to work in the school and classrooms. This form of planning and inservice may also be an advantage for implementation of curriculum change, innovation in classroom instruction, and provide opportunities for the continued professional development for the school staff.
Brandt, R.S. (1987) "On Teachers Coaching Teachers: A Conversation with Bruce Joyce". Educational Leadership. Vol. 44, No. 5, pp. 12-17.
Bullock, A. (1975) A Language for Life. London: Her Majesty's Stationery Office.
Joyce, B.R. and Showers, B. (1981) Teacher Training Research: Working Hypotheses for Program Design and Directions for Further Study. Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association, Los Angeles, California.
Smyth, J. (1984) "Teachers as Collaborative Learners in Clinical Supervision: A State-of-the-Art Review". Journal of Education for Teaching, Vol. 10, No. 1 24-38.
|Please cite as: Brimble, R. (1988). Modelling in the classroom: Teacher in-service in the writing process. Queensland Researcher, 4(1), 43-53. http://www.iier.org.au/qjer/qr4/brimble.html|