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Reflective Exercise: School Partnership

The school I am familiar with lacks dynamics. Shared leadership is its weak point, which is the reason for the low level of professional community development. Teachers usually work separately from each other, only rarely taking advice from more experienced colleagues. Collaborative work is not developed as well. The school also does not possess an authentic curriculum and pays no special attention as to what is taught to the students and how this process is held. Due to the initiative of individual teachers, some subjects are taught with high level of inquiry, with collaborative action research being actively used during the lessons. However, such changes are single and are not presupposed or compulsory by the curriculum. Thus, the school should pay more attention to the students’ needs, their treatment and to the ways they are taught at school. Its curriculum should be adjusted to these demands, and respond to the authentic requirements of the school itself.

To satisfy the above-mentioned needs the school has to work in collaboration with external partners to create a strong basis, more or less independent and free from the influence of the government or district authorities.

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  1. One type of partnership, which can be suitable in this case, is parent-school one. It is to some extent developed at the school under consideration, but the ties with parents should be strengthened for their children to work better and feel safer as well as more comfortable. Parent-school partnership forms a bond between parents and the school their child studies at.
  2. The goal of such a partnership for parents is to get to know not only the attitude of the children, but also their teachers and the atmosphere they study at Teachers, in their turn, should  understand children better through their parents, assess their abilities correctly as well as get to know their preferences and background.
  3. While teachers get students’ parents acquainted with their academic problems and achievements, parents help teachers to understand their children better.
  4. This collaboration should be coordinated by the form-master or supervising teacher, who knows students best, holds educational and instructional discussions and talks, and is obliged to communicate with parents in any case. The latter can also be actively encouraged to participate in daily and festive life of the school by attending and taking part in various school concerts, quizzes, meetings, competitions, fairs and festivals. The presence of parents makes students feel at home and safe, which contributes to the friendly atmosphere, and is then reflected in their attitude to school and studying in general.
  5. As a result of successful partnership, parents become a part of the big school family, and the academic performance of their children improves. It happens, firstly, because of the comfortable atmosphere and the feeling that a protecting parent is taking part in children’s education. And secondly, because of the fact that teachers organize educational process according to the abilities, preferences and interests of the students, whom they know owing to their parents, or by using some tactics observed from or advised by the parents.

The academic basis of the school under consideration is not strong enough to build bilateral ties and collaboration with a university, thus, this type of partnership is not suitable. However, there is another kind of partnership which will be able to improve the educational services and development of the school as a respected educational establishment. This type is school-business partnership.

  1. The partners in this collaboration are the school and an enterprise, usually local business, no matter whether state-operated or private.
  2. As the partnership is bilateral, it has to present benefits not only for the school, but for the business as well. Thus, the school gets support and resources from the business, while the enterprise may promote and advertise itself among students or their parents and get involved in dealings with different social institutes.
  3. Such a partnership will be more effective if the organization provides the school not only with financial resources, but also participates in school events and the collaboration is reflected in the authentic curriculum of the school. Ultimately, the school will get all the support needed, and the business will get prospective workers, customers, trainees etc. The organization may also encourage the pupils to visit the premises of the enterprise to get acquainted with the production process and spark their interest in it.
  4. This partnership is officially coordinated by the manager of the enterprise and the headmaster of the school, though there may be people specially appointed to handle all issues concerning communication and collaboration.
  5. The financial benefits for the school in such a partnership are obvious, but they should not be the end of collaboration. Depending on the type of the enterprise, students, teachers and parents can become its clients and customers, prospective workers, or just admirers who will advertise the business to their friends and acquaintances. This creates a brand new customer base for the organization. As for the students, due to the excursions to the premises, constant meetings and dealings with its representatives, and probably different fairs, festivals and events, organized in collaboration with the business, they get new experiences, broaden their outline and learn something new every day.

In conclusion, the school under consideration has potential and ways to improve the quality of educational services it provides students with. With the help of wisely chosen external partners the school can get students more involved in both educational and extra-curricular school activity, as well as catch their interest in studying, motivate them and help understand who they want to become, what priorities they need to set, and where they want to work.

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