MAXPD01 – MAX Professional Development Course


MAXPD01 - MAX Professional Development Course


Every generation should be an improvement on the previous. We cannot teach the way we were taught.

Qualities of a Professional Teacher:

  • Knowledgeable
  • passion for the subject
  • thorough
  • calm, patient and disciplined
  • ability to think independently
  • tailor the course to suit the needs of the student
  • endless enthusiasm
  • creativity
  • willingness to go the extra mile
  • holistic education provider (social, physical, emotional, academic, spiritual and psychological)
  • positive characteristics (teachable, approachable &)
  • real-world experience
  • independent thinker
  • Three way communication (Parents – teacher – students)

Do you love children?
Don’t be afraid to be wrong!

How, in your view, can quality education be defined?
Its a combination of Communication – Student – Content – Community

Holistic education

What kind of student do we wish to develop?
We need to focus on three areas for student development: Transferable skills, knowledge and  character.

  • Transferable Skills
  • Communication
  • Listening (good listener)
  • Leadership potential
  • Writing
  • ICT
  • Explorative Skills
  • Critical Analysis Skills
  • Initiative
  • Balanced decision makers
  • independent and open-minded thinkers
  • self managers
  • team workers
  • interpersonal skills
  • self-confidence

Methods of Differentiation in the Classroom
It’s a term that every teacher has heard during their training: differentiation. Differentiation is defined by the Training and Development Agency for Schools as ‘the process by which differences between learners are accommodated so that all students in a group have the best possible chance of learning’. In recent decades it has come to be considered a key skill for any teacher, especially those of mixed-ability classes. But what does it really mean?

What is meant by ‘differences between learners’?

In a large class, differences between students may on the face of it seem too numerous to be quantified, but differentiation works on 3 key aspects which can be summed up as follows:

  • Readiness to learn
  • Learning needs
  • Interest

These differences may sound rather broad, but by applying effective methods of differentiation, it is possible to cater for quite wide variations between learners. Expert opinion varies when it comes to a definitive list of the methods of differentiation in the classroom, with some holding that it can fall under as many as 7 categories. Let’s look at them.

One of the core methods of differentiation, differentiation by task, involves setting different tasks for students of different abilities. One way to achieve this may be to produce different sets of worksheets or exercises depending on students’ abilities. However, some teachers are loath to employ this method because of both the social implications and the additional planning it entails. An alternative method is to use a single worksheet comprised of tasks which get progressively harder. The more advanced students will quickly progress to the later questions whilst the less able can concentrate on grasping the essentials.

Collaborative learning has many well-documented benefits such as enabling shy students to participate more confidently in class, but it’s also a useful differentiation method. Small, mixed-ability groups allow lower achievers to take advantage of peer support whilst higher achievers gain the opportunity to organise and voice their thoughts for the benefit of the whole group (known as peer modelling). Grouping also allows roles to be allocated within the team which cater for each member’s skill set and learning needs.

Differentiation in the classroom – ipads in classroomIn this method it’s important to recognise that some students can work with more advanced resources than others, and that it is possible to use multiple materials in order to approach a topic from different angles. This means that while some may require quite basic texts with illustrations, others are capable of working with more advanced vocabulary and complex ideas. Differentiation of this kind allows a wide spectrum of materials to be used to attain a single learning outcome. It’s a method that is greatly assisted by advances in technology, and the use of educational video in the classroom, which is why it is becoming more prevalent.

In the traditional classroom, activities are completed within a single time frame, irrespective of the level of difficulty for some students. The result is that more advanced learners can be held back to the speed of the less able ones, and at the other end of the scale, some may simply find it impossible to keep up. When differentiation is used in lesson planning, the available time is used flexibly in order to meet all students’ needs. Students who quickly grasp core activities need not be held back because their classmates need to spend more time on the fundamentals of a topic. They can instead be allocated more challenging extension tasks in order to develop a more rounded understanding of the subject matter or even to progress through the set course more quickly.

Differentiation by outcome is a technique whereby all students undertake the same task but a variety of results is expected and acceptable. For example, the teacher sets a task but instead of working towards a single ‘right’ answer, the students arrive at a personalised outcome depending on their level of ability. It’s a method about which some teachers have reservations as there is a risk that the less able students will fall below an acceptable level of understanding, however that risk can be mitigated somewhat by establishing a clear set of guidelines that apply to all students, and it does offer one clear advantage in that no prior grouping is necessary.

Dialogue and support
Differentiation by dialogue is the most regularly used type of differentiation in the classroom. With this technique, the emphasis is on the role of the teacher, who must facilitate problem solving by identifying which students need detailed explanations in simple language and which students can engage in dialogue at a more sophisticated level. The teacher may also employ targeted questioning to produce a range of responses and to challenge the more able students. Verbal support and encouragement also plays a crucial part in this technique.

How to Develop Positive Classroom Management
A recent report found that educators believe that the secret to effective discipline is proactively building relationships, not reacting punitively to student misbehavior.

Agree on Classroom Rules at the Beginning of the Year
Taking time out for this simple step can prevent a lot of misery in the long term. Experienced educators suggest engaging students actively in the process of determining a set of class rules. Taking this preventative measure creates a positive climate from the start.

Be Consistent About Expectations
This can be the biggest challenge for individuals to address, but it’s important to keep in mind that school staff should work together as much as possible to foster consistency in expectations, and discipline methods, throughout the school.

Reinforce Appropriate Behavior
When you are in a classroom with a teacher who reinforces positive behavior, kids calm down. Students need to be able to trust you and feel safe. That enables them to experience emotional health and flourish.

Be Neutral, not Accusatory
When problems arise, don’t ask, for example, ““Why did you take Sally’s pencil?” This apporach often provokes defensive comebacks such as, “She was mean to me.” Instead, ask what happened, opening the way for students to tell their story. Follow up with questions such as “How do you think that made Sally feel?”

10 Ways to be an Inquiry-based Teacher

It’s hard to run an inquiry-based classroom. Don’t go into this teaching style thinking all you do is ask questions and observe answers. You have to listen with all of your senses, pause and respond to what you heard (not what you wanted to hear), keep your eye on the Big Ideas as you facilitate learning, value everyone’s contribution, be aware of the energy of the class and step in when needed, step aside when required. You aren’t a Teacher, rather a guide. You and the class move from question to knowledge together.

Because everyone learns differently.

Where your teacher credential classes taught you to use a textbook, now it’s one of many resources. Sure, it nicely organizes knowledge week-by-week, but in an inquiry-based classroom, you may know where you’re going, but not quite how you’ll get there—and that’s a good thing. You are no longer your mother’s teacher who stood in front of rows of students and pointed to the blackboard. You operate well outside your teaching comfort zone as you try out a flipped classroom and the gamification of education and are thrilled with the results.

And then there’s the issue of assessment. What students accomplish can no longer neatly be summed up by a multiple choice test. When you review what you thought would assess learning (back when you designed the unit), none measure the organic conversations the class had about deep subjects, the risk-taking they engaged in to arrive at answers, the authentic knowledge transfer that popped up independently of your class time. You realize you must open your mind to learning that occurred that you never taught—never saw coming in the weeks you stood amongst your students guiding their education.

Let me digress. I visited the Soviet Union (back when it was one nation) and dropped in on a classroom where students were inculcated with how things must be done. It was a polite, respectful, ordered experience, but without cerebral energy, replete of enthusiasm for the joy of learning, and lacking the wow factor of students independently figuring out how to do something. Seeing the end of that powerful nation, I arrived at different conclusions than the politicians and the economists. I saw a nation starved to death for creativity. Without that ethereal trait, learning didn’t transfer. Without transfer, life required increasingly more scaffolding and prompting until it collapsed in on itself like a hollowed out orange.

So how do you create the inquiry-based classroom?

  1. ask open-ended questions and be open-minded about conclusions
  2. provide hands-on experiences
  3. use groups to foster learning
  4. encourage self-paced lea Be open to the student who learns less but deeper as much as the student who learns a wider breadth
  5. differentiate instruction. Everyone learns in their own way
  6. look for evidence of learning in unusual places. It may be from the child with his/her hand up, but it may also be from the learner who teaches mom how to use email
  7. understand assessment’ comes in many shapes. It may be a summative quiz, a formative simulation, a rubric, or a game that requires knowledge to succe It may be anecdotal or peer-to-peer. Whatever approach shows students are transferring knowledge from your classroom to life is a legitimate assessment
  8. be Class won’t always (probably never) go as your mind’s eye saw it. That’s OK. Learn with students. Observe their progress and adapt to their path.
  9. 9. give up the idea that teaching requires c Refer to #8—Be flexible
  10. 10. facilitate student learning in a way that works for Trust that they will come up with the questions required to reach the Big Ideas

In the end, know that inquiry-based teaching is not about learning for the moment. You’re creating life-long learners, the individuals who will solve the world’s problems in ten years. You’re job is to ensure they are ready.

Creating Healthy Boundaries with Students

  • YOU are responsible for maintaining healthy boundaries with students.
  • Think before you act – How might your actions be perceived by others?
  • Meet with students in plain view of others – open doors, windows clear.
  • Physical touch should be minimal. It is best that teachers do not initiate physical contact with students.
  • Keep ALL communications with students related to school.
  • You have the power – students may defer to you even though they feel uncomfortable.
  • If you must give a student a ride home or other unusual scenario be sure to contact his/her parents and a school administrator to notify them of the situation.


What Parents Should Know About Computers and Internet

After years of teaching tech in a classroom and online, I can tell you without a doubt that educating your child can be done more efficiently and with better results by using technology to extend their scholastic reach.


  • Research is more productive. Students find information they want from home or the library on the topic being covered.
  • Communication is easier using collaborative tools like wikis, Google Tools. Multiple students can work on a project at once, then embed the result into a digital portfolio.
  • Web tools like Twitter can teach writing skills in ways kids will hear.

So how do you make sure your child‘s internet experience is positive? Here are a few simple rules to help you maneuver that minefield:

  • Youngsters should go on the internet only around you until they’re mature enough to understand the concept of pulsing, sparkly ads. That’s fifth grade, maybe Middle School. When they get distracted, be there to rein them in. Explain what happened and how to not let it repeat in the future. Show them the Back button that will return them to the screen they came from. Show them what ads look like on their favourite pages so they know what to avoid.
  • Have a collection of ad-free child-friendly websites like Starfall for reading, and Zoopz and Game Goo for logical thinking. I try to offer only ad-free sites in the classroom, but they‘re hard to find. These three are exceptional.
  • Filter internet sites. I never recommend unlimited internet access for any age.
  • If your child has been online without you (because you considered them mature enough), don‘t be afraid to check history to see where they went. You‘re not spying; you‘re making sure everything is OK.
  • Don‘t worry that your child will physically break the computer or delete an important program. It‘s harder than you think to mess up a computer. I have twenty-six in my lab and it‘s rare that students have forced me to reformat a drive (what you must do if the computer gets really messed up).
  • As you see which sites your child likes to visit, put them on Favourites or an Internet start page. At some point, you can allow them to access any websites on either. They‘ll appreciate knowing these websites are safe. Do continue to supervise. They still could have pop-ups or links to dangerous locations.

PART 1: Planning and Implementing Internet-based classes:

ICT usage and Tools

Internet Search Techniques

Evaluating Websites

Social Bookmarking

Social Networks


Web 2.0

Blogs and RSS


PART 2: Integration of ICT into a Syllabus

VLE (Virtual Learning Environment)


Blended Learning


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