‘The Mirage describes the widely held perception among education leaders that we already know how to help teachers improve, and that we could achieve our goal of great teaching in far more classrooms if we just applied what we know more widely. Our research suggests that despite enormous and admirable investments of time and money, we are much further from that goal than has been acknowledged, and the evidence base for what actually helps teachers improve is very thin.’
Fears often exist for staff where their CPD is concerned- how can they be certain it’s going to be used to empower them rather than to be used against them?
Change is a process not an event. Introducing new approaches to CPD should therefore expect to carefully navigate the fears and lack of trust staff may have.
Lesson observations can often be a key contributor to the fears staff may have- could they be provided ‘on demand’? Perhaps this approach would help to build trust around what is a developmental process.
Time will ALWAYS be a barrier to good quality CPD taking place. Leaders must carve out the time for it otherwise things will NEVER change.
Be aware that any accountability measures are sure to undermine any culture of learning you’re attempting to create.
Shaping a learning culture
To what extent is the emphasis on what is to be taught rather than what and how well the recipient learns?
How much discussion, collaboration, sharing and verbalising of goals and ideas is a distinct part of the learning process in your day to day working life?
How do we create the time?
How is outstanding learning and teaching modelled, shared and disseminated so that there is deep understanding and consensus of what works well?
How does collaborative learning create opportunities for innovation?
What opportunities are there for learners to reflect with others on how they solved a problem, developed a new strategy or made a successful change in order to evaluate progress and set new learning goals and targets?
School led teacher learning and research
- It takes place over months and not days
- The classroom is the central location of the professional learning activity
- Collaboration between one/more professionals- preferably in the classroom
- Experimentation and enquiry
Leaders get involved too. This kind of activity results in a co-evolution of new practice.
A great teacher will solve 30 problems within a 30 year career. Then they die. Usually, none of this is shared. 1000 flowers blooming individually but never enhancing one another’s colour. This needs to change.
In Japan, the lesson studies teachers undertake help to inform curriculum changes: every 5 years universities gather it all up and make sense of it in order to transform what the curriculum looks like. Click here to access the World Association of Lesson Studies.
Cultural consistency- how can it be ensured across an MAT or a large college?
How do we provide teachers with meaningful recognition?
Are we providing too many different routes into teaching?
Do too many of these routes (TeachFirst for instance) lead to too great Teach First provides a cliff edge that doesn’t exist in other routes.. Or does it?
How do we get past the need to recruit quickly so that we can enter the more secure world of careful recruitment?
How might we ensure our accountability to our students is placed at the centre of our engagement in professional learning?
How can we ensure lesson observations lead to development, without being fooled into thinking that because they’re not graded, they’ll automatically lead to development?
How can we structure appraisals so that they contribute to development, as well as valuing risk taking?- What are you going to do? Which area of your practice are you going to master? What activity are you going to engage with in order to achieve this? How will you know you’ve achieved it?
How might we encourage more of our staff to share when things don’t work as more learning can result from this?
Teacher learning and development is important not because ‘you need to’ but because ‘we could do better’. Dylan Wiliam.