JULY - AUG, 2022

2 0 2 2 / 2 3 :
The Year of Tinkering

The Year of Tinkering

The Matrix of Professional Development Opportunities (PDOs) for the 2022/23 training cycle has been organised to draw attention to the value of tinkering as a professional practice for educators. The Teaching Council is keen on using the matrix to enable teachers to engage in ongoing experimentation, tinkering and investigation of their instructional practice with a view to discover, refine, develop and master new methodologies.

What is Tinkering?

Tinkering is one of the effective practices of professionals. Tinkering refers to the ongoing process of making and investigating small changes to a process or activity – especially in an attempt to improve it. Tinkering involves troubleshooting a problem with a view of producing a solution. When professionals tinker, they engage in deliberate and thoughtful experimentation in an effort to discover new strategies, verify the utility of existing strategies, and establish evidence for their practice.

How do Teachers Tinker?

Teachers, like other professionals, understand that improvement in their practice does not always take place in leaps and bounds, but sometimes through incremental changes. They understand the value of interrogating their instructional decisions and of using data to refine or validate their actions. Here are some of the ways that teachers tinker:


Action Research

Teachers carry out action research in order to create new knowledge to advance
their practice. They modify elements of their practice and study the impact of these



Teachers think about their teaching, always asking themselves how they can do
better. They make changes to their practice based on their reflections.



Guided by data, teachers identify areas in which they need to make improvement.
They make changes to aspects of their practice and use data to evaluate how well
these changes work.



Teachers engage in collaborative discussions and activities with their colleagues
and develop solutions to common challenges.


PD Activities

Teachers are prompted by PD to implement new ideas in order to move their
practice in different and exciting directions. They are not afraid to experiment
with new ideas in their classroom.

The training matrix will support teacher tinkering by:

  • Inviting teachers who complete courses successfully to engage in action research
    around areas related to the training
  • Asking teachers to complete statements of Intent (SOI) after finishing a course,
    outlining areas of their practice that they will change. Selected teachers are invited at
    the end of the school year to participate in a forum detailing their experience.
  • Inviting teachers to implement a ‘Capstone Project’ based on the course they have
  • Tracking teachers who participated in a course for a term after the course is finished to
    see how their practice has changed.
  • Forming learning communities among members of a course to support the implementation
    and tinkering.
  • Collaborating with principals, middle managers and field officers to hold teachers


During July and August 2022, the Council will offer 58 hours of developmental activities for in-service teachers. <be>The available courses are summarized below:

Course Duration Targeted Teachers Date
Getting to the FUNdation: Strategies for Exciting Reluctant Learners 10 hours All Teachers Jul 18 to 29, 2022
Teaching to Reach Boys 9 hours All Teachers Aug 8 - 19, 2022
Appraising Your Way to Excellence 12 Hours All Teachers Jul 18 to 29, 2022
Blended Learning in the Post-COVID Classroom 15 hours All Teachers Aug. 8 - 19, 2022
Professional Development Planning for Educators 12 hours Teacher leaders; Middle managers Aug. 8 - 19, 2022

Details of these courses are outlined in the following section.

Course: Getting to the FUNdation: Strategies for Exciting Reluctant Learners

When teachers use activities that make learning engaging and fun, students are more willing to participate and take risks. Having fun while learning also helps students retain information better because the process is enjoyable and memorable.

This course has been developed to support teachers in creating fun, interesting lessons, learning activities and assessment tasks that can be used to engage reluctant learners. The course empowers participants to integrate technology, games, and the creative expressions (music, art and drama) in their lessons.

The course is opened to all teachers. Participants will be expected to complete an assessment to receive a certificate of competence.

Course: Appraising Your Way to Excellence

Since 2018, a new appraisal process has been in place for educational professionals. The new process is highly-evidence based and is premised on the notion that teachers work in various and varying contexts and therefore should be permitted the space to determine the scope of accountability. Specifically, this means a school is able to define for itself how excellence will be measured against the standards and expectations of the appraisal. The objective nature of the appraisal has placed greater emphasis on evidence-gathering and portfolio development as important skills for teachers. In addition, the imperative of a school-wide, broad-based understanding of the school improvement plan has become more obvious.

This course provides teachers with a comprehensive review and examination of the appraisal instruments for teachers. Course participants will examine the nature of evidence for appraisal purposes, how to identify and optimally present and preserve evidence (portfolio development) and how to match descriptors and expected behavior (appraisal standards) to their practice. By completing the course, participants learn how to develop descriptors and are empowered to participate in discussions about their school improvement plan (SIP) and to review such plans in order to develop their individual plan.

The course is opened to all teachers. Participants will be expected to complete a series of reflections in order to receive a certificate of completion. Teachers who complete the course will be invited to implement an Action Research in their school/classroom for an additional certification.

Course: Teaching to Reach Boys

The issue of boys’ performance in schools and their resultant place in society has dominated educational discussion for decades. The underperformance of boys in schools has been documented extensively both in Jamaica and internationally as there is a consistent gap between the performance of boys and girls in critical national examinations, and under representation of males at the tertiary level.

This course provides concrete examples of pedagogy and instructional style that have been proven effective in a variety of school settings. Examples of lessons and learning activities will be shared in an effort to demonstrate how boys can be motivated to learn and be excited by lessons. The course exposes participants to instructional approaches for encouraging boys to learn, strategies for building the confidence of boys, effective instructional practices that can be used to engage boys.

The course is opened to all teachers. Participants will be expected to complete an assessment to receive a certificate of competence. Teachers who complete the course will be invited to implement an Action Research in their school/classroom for an additional certification.

Course: Blended Learning in the Post-COVID Classroom

With the return to face-to-face instruction, teachers have discontinued using much of the technology that they had mastered and found useful during the period of disruption caused by COVID-19. At the same time, some teachers are keen on routinizing technology as a part of their classrooms but are unsure how to integrate it meaningfully into their face-to-face instruction.

This course provides participants with the opportunity to examine how they can reorganize their instruction in order to make technology a greater part of children’s experience. Course participants are also introduced to free access technology that can be included in their lessons and will look at different models of blended learning with a view of determining which may be most ideal for their context. Teachers are provided with the opportunity to review and modify lesson plans in order to make them more tech-friendly and to demonstrate the principles of blended learning.

The course is opened to all teachers. Participants will be expected to complete an assessment at the end of the course to demonstrate competence and must commit to participate in the Council’s tracking programme for 1 term after course completion in order to demonstrate that they are implementing the lessons learnt from the course.

Course: Professional Development Planning for Educators

As the educational landscape changes as a result of developing and immersive technology as well as government policies, there is an increasing need to engage teachers in a discourse that allows them to purposefully chart their professional growth path. This will enable in-service educators to look beyond a single approach to professional growth by considering a broad range of educational opportunities. This course offers teacher leaders a framework to use when assisting their colleagues in composing their professional development plans by focusing on: Understanding the players and their role in the professional development planning process. Reflecting on the appraisal activity and apply data to direct professional development decisions. Creating a career pathway projection Use needs analysis to formulate SMART objectives that drive the creation of a professional development plan. The course is opened to all teacher leaders (JTC’s Mentors, Lead Teachers, Master Teachers) and middle managers. Participants will complete various assessment pieces in order to obtain a certificate of competence and are expected to develop and implement an action plan for leading and supporting IPDP conversations in their schools.