Hello, I'm Paul Anthony, and this is Lindy Amato from the Ontario Teachers Federation. I believe you've tuned in today because you intend to apply for funding under TLLP, the Teacher Learning and Leadership Program.
We're excited by TLLP because it is by teachers, for teachers.
It recognizes your experience and professionalism, and provides resources to help you solve problems that are particular to your classroom. It's the opposite, you might say, of 'One size fits All'!
The program is funded by the Ministry of Education and implemented in collaboration with OTF and the Teacher Federations.
Over to you, Lindy!
With any application, any project for that matter, it is vital to be clear about your objectives. And, for your project application to be successful, you should understand our objectives. So we're here, along with other Ministry and Federation members of the provincial TLLP Selection Committee, to explain what we call:
TLLP: Ideas ... and a Plan.
You can apply for a TLLP grant as an individual or as a team. If you have assembled a team, please name the members and list their qualifications.
Groups must be teacher-led but may include other workers such as educational assistants and support staff. Administrators and consultants, because teaching in a classroom is not their primary job, are welcomed as advisors or team members but cannot lead a TLLP project. The TLLP is focused on teacher leadership and the skills and knowledge that Ontario's teachers bring to their craft.
Ultimately the projects result in improved outcomes for students; but, keep in mind: the learners in TLLP are teachers who will gain new knowledge to improve their practice.
Other segments of this presentation will tell you more about expectations around research, preparing a budget and sharing your experience.
There's also loads of advice on line and in print to help you prepare a successful proposal. In the end, TLLP is all about giving you the opportunity to deepen and share you expertise with colleagues across the province.
Good day, I'm Myrna Ingalls, and this is Bob Fisher. We're here to give you some basics on TLLP, the Teacher Learning and Leadership Program.
Teachers often ask: What sorts of projects will be funded?
What's your take on that, Bob?
The easy answer is all sorts!
A wide variety of teaching challenges and skills can lend themselves to TLLP: just about anything that can help teachers to help students in elementary or secondary schools.
Your project can target any group of teachers in regular or special programs;
combine content areas – for example, language and social studies – or stick with one discipline;
explore any of dozens of teaching challenges: assessment practices, special education, technology, diversity, gender-based learning . . . .
In other words, you decide based on the expertise you bring to the topic, and your need to explore it further. TLLP is all about your ideas and your leadership.
One way to strengthen your application is to use SMART goals.
That's S for Specific in everything from the name of your project to the description of what teachers will learn.
M for Measureable, which is part of the research and evaluation process.
Attainable and Realistic, A and R, are joined at the hip:
Is your plan and your budget realistic, and do you have the support to bring it off?
T pertains to Timely and Tangible – a practical timeline and sustainable benefits.
Your application will be assessed initially by a joint board/federation committee that will forward up to two proposals to the Ministry. A joint ministry/federation provincial committee then evaluates each of these applications and chooses those that
describe the project clearly, with an effective strategy for sharing your concepts and skills
define the teacher learning that will take place, with a rationale for why this learning is important
explain how, through research, the participants will quantify expected outcomes.
Write it right – and there's a good chance it will be approved!
So, building a budget seems a bit daunting. Do you have to hire an accountant and use fancy budgeting software?
No! It's pretty straightforward – it just has to take into account all the release time and the funding for resources you will need for all the activities in your project and then add up!
If you need help in formulating your budget, we recommend that you contact your principal, Board consultants and financial managers.
Ask local experts, and if you're still uncertain, ask the TLLP team!
But let me ask you the other big question: How much can teachers get?
That's like asking "How long is that ball of string?" Fact is, you have to unravel it first. The amount depends on how much release time you and your colleagues need to undertake the desired learning and to prepare and deliver the sharing activities.
And what will resources, travel and experts cost?
It also depends, naturally, on whether you are reaching out to a few dozen teachers in one or two schools; or developing professional learning that will impact hundreds in your Board and beyond.
Some projects involve only individuals or small groups and require minimal funding, while others involve larger teams and greater costs.
The TLLP application asks you to estimate costs in two areas:
development of your learning project or workshops, and
sharing of your expertise via written materials, workshops, webcasts, video – or other means.
Every TLLP project is about teacher learning, so start with your pedagogy and learning goals. Then build the budget around the costs of reaching those goals. Keep in mind that the TLLP is not intended to fund equipment or resources that should normally be purchased by your board. That said, a budget for technological equipment may be considered if there is a strong pedagogical justification for it and you provide evidence that the equipment is not available at your school.
In this case, describe your teaching strategy and explain how the equipment is essential to support that strategy. In other words, sell us on the pedagogical benefits!
Remember SMART goals: be specific and realistic: As in, Why, How many, and How much?
Also, you should consider other sources of funding. Your Board's professional learning funds may cover some of your costs while TLLP funding covers other parts. It's a question of balance.
So you see, it's not easy for us to be specific about "How much." However, most grants over the past two years have ranged from ten to twelve thousand dollars.
Meanwhile, some teachers have required as little as $2000 dollars while one large-scale project came in at nearly $50,000.
With a little help and a lot of common sense, we're sure you can figure it out!
Was your project a success? As your professional learning project winds down, we will all want to know this – you most of all.
So obviously a strategy for Measurement and Research must be clearly described in your proposal.
Measurement requires documentation – generally a before and after analysis. Step one in the measurement activity is to define the situation as you know it.
To what degree are you or your group currently using the skills or techniques that you plan to introduce? An entry in a reflective journal, or the results of informal discussions within your group, will help you develop a baseline for your learning journey.
The same applies for measuring the learning of the people you are working with. For the sharing activity, consider doing a pre- and post-survey to give you some valuable data on the impact of your sharing.
It may also be helpful to do some of this basic research as part of the application process to establish where you are now as part of the rationale for your project.
You should describe when and how you will assess your progress.
Have you and your fellow teachers understood and begun to implement the skills and concepts?
Can you quantify the degree to which you achieved both your learning and sharing objectives?
For example, as part of sharing your expertise, you might propose that teachers be asked to respond to a questionnaire right after one or more workshops; with a second round of questions after they have a chance to use what they learned.
The Final Report Form for teacher-participants asks about
sharing and measurement of professional learning;
about the benefits teachers gained;
and the challenges you faced.
When you can answer these questions clearly and completely, you've done your research and achieved your goals.
In short, your project plan should clearly describe your measurement and research strategies and provide timelines for their completion.
How are you planning to share your bright ideas? Workshops, yes: that's the traditional form of professional learning for teachers.
But have you thought about other options like blogs, a journal article or a podcast; or a website where participants can describe their insights and work collectively to solve problems?
Social media can build enthusiasm – but so can face-to-face sharing of ideas. Consider a variety of formats and choose what works best for your project.
Perhaps most basic of all, who are you targeting?
For the learning component of your project, you will want to describe your teaching role and that of your TLLP learning group, then define the challenges that you are hoping to overcome.
If you plan on developing a teaching kit or other resource materials, how can you describe their form and content at this point, before the project takes off?
For the sharing activity, the target audience may be small – for example, primary teachers in a family of schools – or as large as all the algebra teachers in your Board. You may have thoughts – let's hear them – about expansion of the concept to your region or the province.
As you prepare the plan for sharing your ideas, think in terms of who, where, when – and how much this will cost.
TLLP is about sharing the best ideas – from teachers to teachers!
You have the ideas, so all you need is a sound plan.
Put the two together – ideas and a plan – and there's a good chance they will lead to funding!