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Katherine says: Staff buy-in
I am assuming you are asking how to get staff buy-in. Buy-in for teachers is no different than buy-in for students. It has to be something they are excited about. One way to do that is to get them involved in the student focus groups, let them help design and describe the activities. Then let them choose which activities they want to lead. Be sure, however, that teachers aren’t deciding what activities to offer. This will often lead to activities they are interested, but students aren’t.
Teacher buy-in is a problem for many programs across the nation, so be creative is where you find teachers. I have used local business people, workforce development, 4H, local recreation department, retired teachers and college students. School-day teachers are tired at the end of the day, so it sometimes best for all if you go outside to find leaders for this portion of your program and then just encourage teachers to help ensure that those academic standards are included.
Claudia asks: How do we get certified teachers to get in the afterschool mode?
As I said in the above post, your school day teachers are tired at the end of the day. Asking them to do anything that will require more work on their part is challenging. If you can’t recruit others to help, then ensure that help them see how different the afterschool activity will be. Tell them that instead of set lesson plans, they can help students create their own learning goals and create timelines to get the work done. Tell them that their role will be to ensure that they guide the activity so that students have opportunities to practice new knowledge and skills they are teaching in school day classes, in real-life, relevant ways and how that will help students understand better and hopefully make better grades.
Read the Research Brief that I posted on the Project-Based Learning Page. There are many other research documents that will support Project-Based Learning as a fun, engaging learning strategy that helps improve not only grades, but also attendance and discipline. Just get on the internet and search. Then come back and let me know what you discovered.
Anybody else want to weigh in on how to get certified teachers on board for afterschool? Please post a reply.
Chesea asks: How do I get BOTH staff and students engaged.
I addressed staff in my comments above and getting students engaged requires giving them a voice and making the activity relevant. You can go to the thread on Student Voice for more information. However, I want to point out that for any activity to be truly dynamic, there must be a trusting relationship between the students and the facilitator. If students do not feel safe and valued, they won’t participate. If teachers are tired and feel defeated, positive results are likely. I would do some work about building relationships before anything. I think you will find my podcast helpful this week. Listen to it and let me know your thoughts.
Rachel asks: As a supervisor who is not directly teaching lessons, how do you support teachers who are only working twice a week during program times in PBL? Our role is to support staff and also do prep, how can we best do this.
First, you must be sure they are trained adequately. You can let them listen to these webinars, you can download Trainings to Go from the Y4Y site. Either way, you must ensure that they understand your vision for the program. That will go a long way in clearing any confusion. As the leader, you must provide a simple way for them to document the work and the learning. I gave each of my facilitators a notebook with all the necessary and required documents. They used them throughout the development of the activity with students and had forms they could use to journal, reflect and evaluate. Another important way to ensure they feel supported is to make sure that you provide materials just-in-time. Teachers and students will become very frustrated and often just quit if they don’t have the materials to move forward.
I bet there are others on here who have ideas around supporting teachers. Please share.