Assistant teacher course/Teachers' handbook/Policy framework Galileo

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  Consistent with Rhodes's (2002) observations, social learning theory suggests that mentors' ability to model and to provide instruction on appropriate behaviors in one of the settings in which positive change is desired (e.g. the school) could prove particularly beneficial. Similarly, mentors may promote competence in areas that are relevant to their own backgrounds. For example, teachers who serve as mentors may be especially effective in promoting academic competencies given their background in education.  
DuBois, David L.; Michael J. Karcher (2005). Handbook of Youth Mentoring. Thousand Oaks, California: SAGE Publications Ltd. ISBN 0761929770. 

Policy framework Galileo

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The policy framework Galileo is an example framework that is intended to become useful as a framework for the self-imposed policies of an assistant teacher effort. The philosophy of the framework is to motivate the assistant teachers to derive their own policies from questions and general requirements. The framework emphasizes freedom of decision and independence but is expected to require very thorough analysis and monitoring through the faculty as a consequence.


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The expected context for the framework is an educational environment in which pupils between grades eight and ten predominantly learn in classes and courses but work in a learning resource centre or school library media center is possible and individual curricula are possible. The participation in the assistant teacher effort is expected to be mandatory and should result in the permission for independent study; this should not be confused with open learning, which can be offered for younger pupils and independent from the assistant teacher program. The framework will make recommendations for high school grades past grade ten but an attempt will be made not to rely too much on the presence of older pupils.

Framework directives

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Qualification of assistant teachers

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Initial qualification
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  • The initial group of assistant teachers is chosen at the end of grade seven.
  • The initial group should consist of between 10% and 25% of the pupils of a grade.
  • The choice is made by a committee of class teachers and subject teachers who teach in the grade. Parents can be admitted to the committee on request by a parents' society.
  • A formal requirement for being considered for the initial group is a grade point average that is above the average of the grade, but this is not a sufficient condition.
  • The committee can request counterproposals to its list from the parents' society and other groups but has no obligation to follow counterproposals.
  • The initial group of assistant teachers is a single group that receives voluntary tuition during the summer break. Failure to participate leads to disqualification.
Subsequent qualification
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  • All assistant teacher groups can qualify assistant teachers according to their published policies.
  • The class teacher must be informed immediately about qualifications and retains a veto right but is admonished to employ the right of veto reluctantly.
  • In the absence of pupil-defined policies the following default procedure is effective. The default procedure is designed to irritate.
Default procedure
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  • Assistant teachers can only qualify in one subject at a time.
  • Applicants have to apply to the subject teacher of the subject of their choice. The subject teacher can demand additional preconditions to be met in order to accept an application.
  • A teacher can only qualify two applicants per class and subject at once. The assistant teacher candidates have to assist in their own class as assistant teachers until the subject teacher confirms their qualification.
  • The minimum duration for the probationary period is one month.
  • The teacher can demand additional exercises and additional work outside regular lessons during the probationary period.
  • An assistant teacher can only assist teachers in subjects in which he is qualified.

Federations of assistant teacher groups

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  • Assistant teacher groups can split into several groups according to their published policies. If the published policies do not allow for separation then separation is not possible.
  • In the grades eight to ten pupils are allowed to form single-sex groups (and demand that by policy), because the female groups may benefit from not being dominated by male participants.
  • A policy that restricts participants of a group according to any other criteria than gender is invalid.
  • The initial group is not allowed to split until it has at least doubled in size.

Disqualification of assistant teachers and groups

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Disqualification of assistant teachers
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  • In the absence of pupil-defined policies assistant teachers can be disqualified by teachers according to the following rules. The process is intended to irritate in order to motivate pupils to protect their independence and to keep their pupil-defined procedures functional.
Default procedure
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  • An assistant teacher is disqualified if two or more teachers experience difficulties with the assistant teacher. The teachers do not have to demand disqualification, any kind of problem that is reported is sufficient.
  • A disqualified assistant teacher remains disqualified for the remainder of the semester.
  • A disqualified assistant teacher loses his qualification in all subjects.
  • Disqualification can be revoked by the school administration, but appeals against disqualification are discouraged. The school administration is encouraged to recommend pupil-defined qualification procedures instead.
  • To regain qualification the assistant teacher has to pass the original qualification procedure again.
Disqualification of groups
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  • The disqualification of assistant teacher groups can be requested as a recommendation or as necessity.
  • A recommended disqualification can be requested by all class teachers concerned, by all department conferences, by other assistant teacher groups and by all class councils, grade councils and the pupils' parliament(s).
  • A recommended disqualification can be rejected by the assistant teacher group and can be discussed in class councils and grade councils.
  • A grade council can disqualify an assistant teacher group at any time but the procedure must follow published policies.
  • The pupils' parliament, the school administration and the school conference retain a right of veto against disqualification of assistant teacher groups.

School democracy

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Powers of a class council
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  • A class council can make binding decisions for its own class only. The class teacher retains a veto right where the authority of the teacher would be affected.
  • A class council can decide on formal communication with other parties of the school community, for instance formal complaints about assistant teachers to an assistant teacher group or to another class council.
  • A class council can monitor the work of assistant teachers who are pupils of the class.
  • A class council can contribute to an initial charter of a grade council.
Powers of an assistant teacher group
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  • An assistant teacher group cannot participate in the school democracy by default.
  • An assistant teacher group can apply to the pupils' parliament or one of its committees for affiliation in order to be granted the right to represent its members in the wording and ratification of an initial charter of a grade council.
Charter of a grade council
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  • The charter of a grade council must be ratified by all class councils of a grade in accordance with their published policies.
  • The grade council cannot be constituted without an initial charter.
Powers of a grade council
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  • A grade council can disqualify assistant teacher groups. The procedure must follow published policies of the grade council and its committees. The pupils' parliament, the school administration and the school conference retain a right of veto against disqualification of assistant teacher groups.
  • A grade council can protect assistant teacher groups against disqualification. In the case of disqualification of an assistant teacher group the grade council can veto against the disqualification but requires a three-quarter majority to employ the right of veto.
  • A grade council can request to modify the applicability of school policy in its grade.
Powers of a pupils' parliament
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  • A pupils' parliament can consist of two independent parliaments for junior high school and high school. The rationale is that this leaves more room for the younger pupils to experiment and to devise their own procedures. The junior high school parliament is formed as an alliance of grade councils, if no such alliance exists the high school parliament represents the whole school community as the only pupils' parliament.
  • A pupils' parliament enjoys a right of veto against disqualification of assistant teacher groups. The application of the right to veto must follow published policies of the pupils' parliament and its committees.
  • A pupils' parliament can request to modify the applicability of school policy in its school or in its set of grades.

Use of resources

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Formal interaction with the faculty

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Pupil-defined policies

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  • A policy is accepted as published if it has been published according to the policies of the publishing entity.
  • It is the responsibility of the publishing entity to define publication in a way that is useful for the school community.
  • Before a policy can be published it must be submitted to the responsible policy committee.
  • The policy committee is not responsible for publication and should not accept that responsibility.
Publication format
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  • The publication format should follow the recommendations of the pupils' parliament and its committees.
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  • Mutual agreements and agreements between more than two parties require ratification.
  • The procedure of ratification must follow the published policies of all parties concerned.
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school administration
pupils' parliament department conference
grade council
class council assistant teacher group
  • A set of policies can be revoked by a superior council or office if the policies implement a procedure that is seen as detrimental.
  • The responsible policy committee should be consulted before a set of policies is revoked.
  • The hierarchy that is used for the purpose of revocation is shown to the right; class councils are not expected to publish policies.
  • Revocation can be regulated by policies of the entity whose policies are to be revoked but cannot be denied.

Requirements of the framework

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Obligations of the faculty

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Policy committees
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  • The faculty must nominate a policy committee for each grade.
  • The obligation of the policy committee is to approve or reject pupil-defined policies.
  • The policy committee must approve policies that are not in violation of superior school policies or in violation of laws but may postpone and advise against the implementation of policies that appear silly or otherwise unadvisable.
  • The school administration retains a veto against pupil-defined policies, which can be requested by a policy committee but should be used sparingly.
  • A policy committee must respond to a request for evaluation during the semester within ten days and can postpone a request for another ten days.

Obligations of the school conference

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  • The school conference must nominate a board of arbitration for policy issues.

Board of arbitration

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  • The board of arbitration and its committees offer consultation and mediation in all policy issues between all parties, including the school administration.
  • The board of arbitration can only interpret policy, mediate and offer compromises, it cannot make binding decisions.
  • The board of arbitration has a right to make public all conflicts brought to its attention as deemed necessary.

Questions and issues

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Questions for a new assistant teacher group

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1a) How are decisions made?
1b) How are policies made?
1c) Who decides when a new policy can be ratified?
Code of conduct
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2a) What is the code of conduct of the group?
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3a) How are assistant teachers qualified?
3b) How are assistant teachers disqualified?
3c) How are disqualified assistant teachers retrained?
3d) How is the quality of training procedures ensured?
Communication and cooperation
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4a) Which offices and committees of the assistant teacher group do exist and how are people appointed and dismissed?
4b) Which outside offices and groups does the assistant teacher group formally recognize and are there any rules for formal cooperation with these offices and groups? (e.g. department conferences, class councils, grade councils, pupils' parliament, school administration, school conference)
4c) Who are the representatives towards outside offices and groups and what are their obligations and powers?
4d) Does the group cooperate with other groups in shared committees or is the group willing to do so?
4e) How are complaints from teachers or from pupils of assistant teachers handled?
Research and reporting
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5a) Does the group conduct education research?
5b) Does the group provide reports and statistics?

Permissible modifications of school policy

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A modification of school policy is a request from a grade council or from a pupils' parliament to modify the applicability of school policy in the sphere of influence of the requesting entity. The following rules should serve as guidelines how to handle requests for modification of school policy.

The school administration should generally respond to any non-trivial request with the formation of a committee that can consist of teachers and parents. The committee should demand extensive planning and research for any proposals to modify school policy. A request to abolish homework, for instance, should be accompanied by education research documenting the chances of success of alternative methods.


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  • Pupil-defined policies can regulate the amount of homework if the intended educational objectives can be accomplished by other means.
  • Regulation of homework may require independent consultation with department conferences and coordination between these negotiations.
  • The means to accomplish educational objectives that are intended to replace homework must be given credibility by education research conducted by the requesting entity or by references to credible publications (references to Wikimedia publications are insufficient).


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  • Possible changes to the curriculum are very limited in required subjects. If a group of pupils intends to propose changes to require subjects these changes must be in line with the educational objectives of the official curriculum.
  • Changes to the curriculum in voluntary courses and elective subjects are recommended. The responsible department conference is the negotiating party.
  • Changes to individual curricula do not require permission but the requesting entity may not be recognized as an authority either. Pupils are free to reject the authority of a grade council in matters concerning individual curricula.

Schedule of lessons

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  • The schedule of lessons can be subject to negotiation if the pupil representatives take an interest in the problem in time; once the schedule of lessons has been published the schedule is not negotiable any longer.
  • If older pupils propose a schedule of lessons that is biased towards their own interests the faculty should represent the interests of the younger pupils.

Test schedule and procedure

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  • Only details surrounding test schedule and procedure are negotiable. This can include but is not limited to the appropriate time of day, appropriate staff, policies for leaving the room, frequency of tests, number of tests per week or month, and publication of example solutions after the test.

Work load

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  • Policies for work load are subject to the same restrictions as policies for homework.


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  • Assistant teacher groups can offer coaching lessons for assistant teachers and teachers.
  • Assistant teacher groups can request the participation of teachers in coaching lessons only according to published policies.
  • Assistant teacher groups can request the removal of a teacher only after coaching lessons have been attempted and have been unsuccessful (including lack of participation).

Quality of education

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  • This section applies only to assistant teacher groups that conduct education research.
  • Assistant teacher groups can conduct education research with the aim to measure and to document the qualify of education.
  • Assistant teacher groups have the right to publish their results to the whole school community.
  • Assistant teacher groups have a right to demand response from the faculty and the school administration and to publish research and response according to their published policies for education research.

Extracurricular activities

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This text is incomplete


After-school supervision

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This text is incomplete


Monitoring and guidelines for interference

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  • An assistant teacher effort should be assessed at the end of each semester.
  • Resulting interventions and especially disqualifications should be communicated in time for the pupils to react to disqualifications with their own arrangements, as for instance summer schools for disqualified assistant teachers.
  • Measured indicators are:
A Number of assistant teachers
A1 Number of assistant teachers that have been disqualified exactly once
A2 Number of assistant teachers that have been disqualified exactly twice
A3+   Number of assistant teachers that have been disqualified three times or more
Q Average number of qualifications per week during the preceding semester
D Average number of disqualifications per week during the preceding semester
  • All indicators should be measured for the whole grade and for individual assistant teacher groups.
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Criteria for recommended intervention and required intervention apply to the whole assistant teacher effort and to intervention concerning individual groups or pupils. The specified criteria aim to provide a framework but are not sufficient as the only reasons for intervention; specific problems may occur only in relation to specific pupil-defined policies.

Required intervention
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  • The school administration can decide to extend a variable entry phase for assistant teachers into grade ten.
  • Intervention may be required if pupils fail to qualify in time relative to the official end of a variable entry phase or relative to the anticipated end (in grade ten) of a variable entry phase. In both cases should the class teacher be instructed to intervene and to provide additional motivation for stragglers.
  • The number of qualified assistant teachers should approximate linearity with an assumed number of zero assistant teachers at the beginning. If the number of assistant teachers is more than 25% below the expectancy intervention is required.
  • If A3+ is not zero these assistant teachers may require individual attention.
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  • The number of qualified assistant teachers should approximate linearity with an assumed number of zero assistant teachers at the beginning. If the number of assistant teachers is below the expectancy intervention is recommended.
  • Recommended intervention should be appropriate for the phase of the assistant teacher effort. During the first semester or year special considerations for intended problems for pupils and assistant teachers may be necessary. Recommended intervention during this phase should respect those problems.
  • Significantly decreasing performance compared to earlier semesters in any of the indicators A/A1, A/A2, A/A3+, Q and D can be a reason for recommended intervention.

Obligations of parent representatives

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  • Parent representatives should observe the development of an assistant teacher effort and be prepared to recommend interventions themselves.

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