The Heads of Department (HoD) guide, support and coordinate the teaching, learning and assessment across compulsory education (including kindergarten), with dedicated teacher leaders supporting the teaching of around 26 subjects in the secondary years. The team together with their manager, Angela Charles, embarked on this learning experience, just when the educational system in Malta, like the rest of the world, was dealing with COVID-19 restrictions.
The process started with a group discussion and contribution into articulating the common vision for the Curriculum Entitlement team. This initial step was essential as each Head of Department re-explored the purpose in their role, implicitly and then explicitly, identifying the core principles that guide the work they carry out in schools with teachers.
Heads of Department had been using digital tools in their teaching but now it was time to start the conversation with the teachers they coordinate. Through the guidance of Mr Klaus Conrad, MS Global Training partner, these teacher leaders were invited to identify where in their lessons would technology aid to improve the quality of teaching, learning and assessment. In learning area groups, they worked together to identify common tools that would help in the teaching of transversal skills across the various subjects. They then sought the help of our Digital Literacy team, themselves MIEEs, to become proficient in using and applying the various digital tools to their lessons.
This process has enabled HoDs to show teachers how implementation of the Learning Outcomes Framework (LoF) can be facilitated using digital tools. Worthy of mention are tools that improve the gathering and giving of quality feedback to students, one of the pillars of formative assessment that is intrinsic to LoF implementation. Tools that enhance interactivity and active student participation were welcomed by teachers and their use increased significantly. Several HoDs carried out training sessions themselves linking the pedagogy of the subject to the use of digital apps.
The next step in the ETF process served to strengthen concepts of 21st Century skills. This was crucial as Malta’s National Curriculum Framework presents learning in a cross-curricular fashion bound by specific trans-disciplinary themes that are essential for active citizenship and the world of work. Noteworthy to mention are collaboration and knowledge construction, both these skills being intrinsically interwoven across all subject areas across all grades in compulsory education.
In conclusion, the Heads of Department act as multipliers of quality teaching practices across all Church schools. Interest in Microsoft Showcase School Programme and ETF implementation is growing and these teacher leaders can help make the process more effective in the various schools that take this on.
Service Manager Curricular Entitlement