Saturday, 25 October 2014

Sharing resources

A few times recently I have come across colleagues online who feel they do not have access to adequate resources in their schools. A colleague who I used to work with has moved to a new school where they do not have any established resource bank or protocols for sharing resources they make.

I find it surprising there there still seem to be departments which are not efficiently set up with this in mind.

One job of a Head of Department is to ensure his or her colleagues have access to all the resources they need and that there is a culture of sharing. If there is healthy discussion going on within the department, then sharing resources follows naturally.

It appears that some teachers are reluctant to share what they have produced because they resent the fact that their colleagues are not doing the same. Why should they also get the fruits of my labours? Whilst I understand this sentiment, I do not support it. If the goal of a department is to get all students to achieve their best, then any means are good and teachers should be happy to disseminate their resources. If you willingly share over a period, the practice may even catch on.

Having said this, if a department is well resourced already (probably with good textbooks and online content), there should be no great need to produce a large number of new materials. Even so, some teachers like to tailor-make resources for their classes or simply enjoy the creative experience of writing new materials. I certainly do.

How can resources be shared within a department most effectively? Here are some thoughts:

  • Every time you write a new resource leave a hard copy in your colleagues' pigeon holes/lockers.

  • Every time to write a resource send it by email to all your department members .

  • Have a clear and comprehensive physical filing system, strategically located. A good filing cabinet costs about £70.

  • As a performance management target encourage colleagues to produce a set of resources with a specific purpose in line with the department's wider goals. Make it their target.

  • Create a website to which you can upload resources for your colleagues (and the wider world) to use. That's how I started frenchteacher.net and it soon became a standard departmental resource bank.

  • Store resources digitally on your school's intranet, if they have one.

  • Devote some regular meeting time to sharing what you have created. This may encourage less confident or willing staff to join in. Talking about resources is far more useful and interesting than talking about Ofsted or targets.

  • Join the MFL resources Yahoo forum.

  • Every time you find a resource online (e.g. via TES) download it and share it by the means above.

  • Use Google Sites, Google Docs or Dropbox to share resources.

  • Create ring-binder files for each department member in which they can store copies of worksheets etc for each year group. Include unit assessment materials.

  • Get A-level or very good GCSE students to create worksheets themselves, which you can then correct, adapt or just share. They will learn from the process.

  • Have a small departmental library of books on pedagogy from which colleagues can get ideas.

  • Go and talk with a department in another school to see what they do. This could be a performance management target too.


A happy, successful department should be creative and willing to share.


3 comments:

  1. I love these ideas. Especially the suggestion to put copies of resources in colleagues' pigeonholes. My colleagues have previously said they were 'overwhelmed' by the number of resources I shared (either by email or by linking them from our schemes of work) so I stopped sharing. It may have been better to share resources on paper - easier for them to glance at.

    I found that my 'virtual colleagues' on Twitter are much more receptive to new resources! I now put all my favourite resources on my website resourceaholic.com (maths) which has benefited me and others.

    I also like your suggestion about performance targets. I've previously had a performance target to organise my department's card sorting activities - it really helped to get things in order and make these resources more accessible to all.

    Thanks for all the good ideas!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thank you for your feedback. I didn't know maths teachers read my blog!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I saw this post through the Echo Chamber! :)

      Delete