Clarifying the case

desembre 15th, 2008

After having presented the case to the class, we have realised that we did not take into account the case provided by our teacher in the way we should have. In fact, we found the proposal so general that we concentrated in dealing with the factors and real situations (from our parcticums) that affect designing a timetable.

Having said that, we would like to clarify that despite having presented a real timetable that meets rigid timetables criteria, we, as a group, can argue that a good alternative for the case provided would be a cooperative timetable. This type of timetables allows teachers adapt their teaching lessons to the students leaning pace. That is, carrying out cross curricular projects in which all the areas are connected and not dealt isolated; promoting construtivism; taking into consideration students tireness and deciding which are the best hours of the day to push and take the best out of students, cutting or expanding sessions according to students responses, working cooperatively with the teaching team, etc.

Although it may seem impossible to keep on changing the timetable weekly, one needs to be coherent and understand that the changes will also be part of the project works being carried out. In fact, the timetable changes can also be planned by the teacher in charge of the group before hand. Morever, one cannot forget the fact that ceratin areas such as P.E. should be respected in order to help parents organise, for example, students clothes.

As said before, the case provided by our teacher was so open and did not contain deatiled information that we did not show a clear position in our case presentation.

We hope this is clear now. Please do not hesitate to make comments, we look forward to reading them!

CASE 2 – DESIGNING A TIMETABLE – GROUP COMMENTS

desembre 5th, 2008

Designing school timetables is a hard and time consuming task because one needs to take into account many factors:

–         Socio-historical factors

            – Traditional timetables: 25 hours weekly

            – Recent changes: including a 6th hour to improve weak areas.

            – New pedagogical approaches: cross curricular projects

            – Students’ diversity: special needs (“aci” and personalised plans), inclusive schools, immigration amongst other

Minimum hours established by the educational department (LOE and decrees)

School educational project and necessities and teachers’ coordination

            – Parents and school community needs

–         Types of timetables

For this reason, and as seen in our practicum schools, the people in charge of this task are normally experienced teachers and members of the management board (head of studies).

The following lines will deal with the points mentioned above and will present an example of a real timetable school.

SOCIO-HISTORICAL FACTORS

Two years ago a new regulation established the addition of a 6th hour within the Catalan scholar timetable. Traditionally schools used to devote only 25 hours a week. This new regulation expanded the 25 hours to 30 hours a week.

The implementation of this extra hour allows schools to reinforce weak areas, new pedagogical approaches (cross curricular projects, constructivism, etc.) as well as to attend students’ diversity (especial needs and immigration). All in all, it supports the idea of inclusive schools.

MINIMUM HOURS ESTABLISHED BY THE EDUCATIONAL DEPARTMENT (LOE AND DECREES)

The current legislation also establishes a minimum number of hours per area that must be accomplished by schools.

We think that this is essential to guarantee students from any school are exposed to the different areas equally. Once distributed the minimum hours, schools still have remaining hours (7,5h plus the sixth hour) to be devoted as they need.

The way schools distribute the remaining hours refers to students’ needs, school educational project and annual plan.

Image 1 shows the minimum hours established by the educational department.

Depending on the school educational project, schools may organise their timetables on different ways. For example, they may devote hours:

–         To work in the library if the school is involved within the “.edu” project,

–         To work on environmental issues if the school is involved within “agenda21” project.

–         To work ICT competences if the school is involved within the “redes” project.

At the same time, teachers’ coordination must also be taken into account since teachers need to combine lessons and spaces according to the timetables established. Teachers can only be in one place at a time. This is particularly important when the school gives relevance to split groups. In that case, two teachers must be available to teach the split group.

Finally, but not the least, break time has to be taken into account, too. Some schools have small areas for the break time. This fact forces the school to distribute different break time throughout the morning shift. Consequently, teachers are also needed to look after children at break time and therefore, teachers’ coordination takes an important role, again.

The school Enric Casassas is suffering this situation. One teacher is supposed to be both taking children to the break time and starting an English session. This is quite stressing for the teacher, she normally has to take the children five minutes earlier and make sure there is a teacher with them before going back to her English session.

We personally think that timetable should meet not only school necessities but also students and teachers needs. Teachers should also have break time in order to disconnect and rest for a while throughout the school day.

PARENTS AND SCHOOL COMMUNITY NEEDS

In Catalonia, the official school year calendar generally runs from mid September until the end of June. Students have 2 months vacation during the summer and some day’s holidays throughout the year.

Due to the weather in Spain is really hot, we find 2 different types of school timetables:

1.      Mid September until June: school starts at 9am and then a split day allowing two hours for lunch break. Then back to school until 5pm. (This is the normal school timetable).

2.      Primary schools also have a reduced timetable during the month of June. They start school at 9am, a short break in the middle of the day and finish at 2pm. The idea is that students attend classes during the morning because the weather is not hot at all and then they are free for the rest of the day.

It is also possible to find some minority schools with intensive shifts throughout the whole year (8-3h). This is the case of sport schools which have to adapt the timetable in order to do other activities which are included in the educational project.

Apart from that, schools have the chance of doing some changes in the timetable. For instance, in case those parents find it difficult to adjust their work shift with the school, there is the possibility of starting and finishing earlier (8:30 – 4:30h).

TYPES OF TIMETABLES

Thinking about the timetable in schools, we cannot think just on a unique an ideal timetable for every school. That’s because each school has different pedagogical projects, school areas, organization… in the end, different needs and factors that make schools adapt their own timetable.

Pozo (1988) show us different types of timetables:

·        Rigid timetables: In this kind of timetable everything is organized and planned. However, this activity is often broken up because of the development which is not always planned in the educational fact, so there are some gaps and upsetting within the planned task.

·        Cooperative timetables:   These timetables are not rigid but programmed by both teacher and students according to the needs from the program as well as students’ interests.  They program the timetable at the beginning of the week or day.

·        Rational timetable: This kind of timetable is not like those traditional timetables which have symmetric structures and a very accurate timing prevision. Rational timetables conceive the idea of temporization as a general time scheduling which allows prolonging or cutting the activities depending on the school needs.

·        Block timetable: In case there is the same teacher during the major part of the working day with the same group allows establishing the same timetable for the same cycle or grade, so they also permit to carry out interclass activities.

·        Mosaic timetable: It is used in department models where teacher, as a specialist of a subject, has to be with different groups.

After seeing this classification about types of timetables and thinking about our experience in different schools, we appreciate that in the schools where we have been doing our Practicum they have rigid timetables since everything is well planned and organized. Also, this organization is done at the beginning of the scholar year and programmed by experienced teachers.

At the same time it is also true that the rigid timetable allows certain flexibility in order to embed different activities related to the course needs (workshops, projects, school trips, etc). Moreover, specialist teachers follow a mosaic timetable model since they are in different groups. In secondary education the norm is that each subject has got each department and so it has got its own specialist who moves around from group to group following a mosaic timetable model, too.

In order to illustrate the ideas mentioned above, we have selected an example of timetable (image 2) which is currently being used by a teacher of Year 2 in the school Enric Casassas. That is a clear example of a rigid timetable.

As it can be seen in the example below, the tutor spends most of her time in the classroom with the group and shares some sessions with other teachers (specialists and support teacher) in order to split the group and facilitate individual learning according to students’ necessities. Moreover, subjects requiring much more concentration tend to be place at the earlier hours of the days since children seem to work better.

CASE 2 – DESIGNING A TIMETABLE – REFERENCES USED AND IMAGES

desembre 5th, 2008

In order to solve case 2 we have used the following references:

– Gencat

– Armengol, C., feixas, M. and Pallarès, R.M. (2003). Seguint el fil de l’organització. UAB, Bellaterra

– CEIP Enric Casassas (Sabadell) documents: Minimum hours document (image 1) and Year 2 timetable (image 2)

Image 1 and 2

Minimum hours documentYear 2 timetable

CASE 1 DOCUMENTS

novembre 23rd, 2008

We have finally found the way to upload our case 1 resolution. Please have a look at the new entries:

Power point slides

PEC Leaflet

Group comments

Feel free to add your own ideas!

novembre 23rd, 2008

table of contents related to ppt 2 de 8

novembre 23rd, 2008

ppt 2 de 8

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ppt 3 de 8

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ppt 4 de 8

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ppt 5 de 8

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