'Professionalism in Teaching' (National Education Conference, 28 May 2009)
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'Professionalism in Teaching' (National Education Conference, 28 May 2009)

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This workshop explored a range of approaches to improving professionalism at all levels in education, drawing on recent inspection information. Specific reference was made to the general strengths......

This workshop explored a range of approaches to improving professionalism at all levels in education, drawing on recent inspection information. Specific reference was made to the general strengths in Scottish education and how the need for further and faster improvement has grown in response to the changing context within which education operates in an increasingly competitive world.

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  • And that future is one in which there are major challenges, set by change. The list shows some of them. They all demand people who are skilled in various contexts, and who are above all skilled in learning, in interacting with others, in applying technology and in providing quality. Intellectual ’value-added’ – the knowledge economy – is with us now. This is within a Scottish context of an ageing population – it is in OUR interests to ensure that the younger generations will be able to support us in our pensioned age. We are increasingly in a world where the ’waking giants’ like China, India and Brazil or former Eastern European-bloc countries are able to produce manufactured goods at prices well below those which wages in this country would demand. There are simply not the jobs we used to have. Our learners must be enabled to ’move up the value-chain’, contributing at higher services and entrepreneurial levels than currently. For that, they need more and different skills from those which might have sustained them well over the last half-century. There is also here a running theme about citizenship – we need an educationally skilled population, yes, but also one with value-conscious citizens who will be able to deal with complex moral issues. We need a system which embraces change, takes the change agenda forward and itself seeks creative and innovative responses rather than waiting for a central directive and then maybe not following it anyway.
  • From Ms Watt’s speech 12 th August 2008
  • Broader achievements fill out the picture beyond a learner’s attainments and need also to be more systematically valued and recognised. We must have learners who are capable of learning throughout life. Teaching must allow the development of independent learning skills and empowerment of learners, and the capacity of ICT must be applied to learning situations. There must be a focus on the individual – his/her personal and learning needs, the opportunities he/she needs to develop and grow and be as successful in the four capacities as he/she can be. We need to combine forces in education with other services and agencies, get better at joint working and working in partnership to achieve ends which any one service alone is not going to achieve. Within education we need to ensure that our teachers can fulfil their professional role. They need to embrace fully their role and accept the responsibility outlined for them. This will empower them, provide them with professional space and space in which to provide learners with the best possible learning experiences. We need dynamic, vibrant and exciting leaders, unafraid to bring in well-judged innovative practices and empower staff at all level also to take on the role of leader.
  • At the heart of things is the Curriculum for Excellence and at the heart of this lie the four capacities. JTE and ACE all focus on achieving these capacities for young learners. If they are the capacities of future generations of young people, they are also desirable for today's adults including staff and all members of the local community! What challenges does that present? Responsible citizens Effective contributors Successful learners Confident individuals Bearing in mind the principles of: Challenge and enjoyment Breadth Progression Depth Personalisation and choice Coherence Relevance
  • Schools and centres have been using self-evaluation for around about 15 years We need to take more account of the maturity of Scottish schools and place their self-evaluation at the centre of inspection. The new approach to inspection does just that.
  • As Scottish schools ‘grow up’ in their approaches to and experience with self-evaluation, we need to focus more on its purpose. What comes after self-evaluation – ACTION! Are there other activities – Support/challenge and challenge/support - appreciate enquiry through building on strengths – visioning whereby you paint a picture of the future – where you want your school or service to be in three years time – and create that future.
  • Focus on better learning – for all, including staff, the community ….borrowed from Macbeath
  • 1 minute task for the audience – only press the forward key after the audience has considered the task question and the results have been discussed in plenary briefly. A useful discussion to round off the role of those present from schools and EAs.
  • Some people need to focus on the craft of teaching. For too long we have not focused sufficiently on this.
  • I am pleased that we are able to publish two reports today which will help schools and pre-school centres to refine their approaches to self-evaluation. These guides provide additional advice to supplement that in How good is our school? and The Child at the Centre
  • The wider backdrop is for all services to work together to achieve success for all in the vision statement for children.
  • In summary, Improving Scottish Education attests to the many strengths of our Scottish system and the quality of the experiences provided for and outcomes achieved by our learners. We need to sort some aspects and the sooner we act towards that end, the better for ALL of our learners. But we also need to act now to equip our youngsters for the increasingly complex and uncertain world in which they will be citizens. All we can do is provide them with the highest possible quality of education.


  • 1. Professionalism in Teaching Anne McGachey HMI GTC Scotland conference May 2009
  • 2. Context - the challenges of :
    • consolidating and building on strengths
    • addressing known weaknesses
    • but also
    • globalisation
    • scarcity and sustainability
    • moving up the ‘value chain’
    • changing demographic balance
    • increasing health inequalities
    • impact of technology
    • demand for quality and customisation
    • employers’ need for generic and ‘soft-skills’
  • 3. Future world (1) Child aged 3 may still be at school in 2025 Teacher starting out in 2009 may still be teaching in 2051…and beyond.
  • 4. Improving Scottish Education 2005-2008
    • “ This drive for enhanced professionalism relies upon brave and effective leadership which engages the abilities and determination of a strong and reflective teaching profession.”
  • 5. Curriculum for Excellence: a key to success is the creativity and ingenuity of teachers across Scotland National Seminar 2008
  • 6. Improving Scottish Education 2005-2008
    • “ We have to place professional development, covering both subject content and pedagogy, at the centre of our approach to change.”
  • 7. Improving Scottish Education 2005-2008
    • “ Self-evaluation should not be seen simply as more effective monitoring by managers but as the commitment of a staff team to reflect and improve. The increasing extent to which teachers are sharing, analysing and comparing each other’s practice, although still limited, is encouraging.”
  • 8. The ISE reports
    • Based on huge body of evidence
    • Give overviews of performance
    • Comment on broad themes across sectors
    • Indicate capacity for improvement
    • Suggest key areas for future action, including HMIE focus
  • 9. Scottish education: continuing challenges
    • The need to ensure a consistently high standard of general education as an expectation for all young people.
    • As part of that general education, developing both intellectual depth and personal attributes in our young people and addressing with greater determination the need to raise standards across the board, particularly in literacy, numeracy and science.
    • Improving progression in learning, especially across transitions and across all sectors.
    • Maintaining a strong focus on preparing young people for positive destinations when they leave school.
  • 10. Improving Scottish Education 2005-2008
    • “ Formally accredited attainment and broader forms of achievement are sometimes portrayed as alternatives. They are not. Both are essential to the future success of individuals and of our society and economy as a whole.”
  • 11. ISE 2: Looking ahead
    • create more space for imaginative teaching
    • develop and recognise wider achievement
    • improve basic skills – literacy and numeracy
    • address the needs of all, especially the most vulnerable
    • avoid academic/vocational trap
    • further improve leadership
    • ensure that self-evaluation leads to improvement
    • Improving Scottish education, HMIE 2006
  • 12. Promoting Achievement for All
    • Recognise that attainment and achievement are not alternatives – both arise from a rich educational experience.
    • Use curriculum reform to engage learners in deeper, challenging learning – to increase achievement and particularly to improve standards of literacy, numeracy and science
    • Look at ways of recognising achievement which will reflect the purposes of the curriculum.
  • 13.
    • “ Curriculum for Excellence embodies a new way of working. It recognises that sustained and meaningful improvement should, to a significant extent, be shaped and owned by those who will put it into practice.”
    • (Improving Scottish Education 2005-2008)
  • 14.
    • A flexible, local,
    • curriculum so that
    • young people become
    • successful learners
    • confident individuals
    • effective contributors
    • responsible citizens.
  • 15. Scottish education: what are our strengths?
    • Early education continues to be strong overall
    • Primary and secondary schools are generally well led, have a good ethos and offer a broad curriculum. Pupils make good progress at pre-school and early stages of primary.
    • While maintaining a focus on established expectations in knowledge and skills, more schools are giving emphasis to broadening achievement.
    • The strengths in the education system reflect the professional commitment and competence of teachers, lecturers and support staff.
    • Aspects of leadership are improving in schools, colleges and pre-school centres.
  • 16. Scottish education: continuing challenges
    • The need to ensure a consistently high standard of general education as an expectation for all young people.
    • As part of that general education, developing both intellectual depth and personal attributes in our young people and addressing with greater determination the need to raise standards across the board, particularly in literacy, numeracy and science.
    • Improving progression in learning, especially across transitions and across all sectors.
    • Maintaining a strong focus on preparing young people for positive destinations when they leave school.
  • 17. ISE 2 Professionalism
    • …… . have a very significant opportunity to use their professional judgement and ingenuity as they translate the new broad guidance into practice.
  • 18. Professionals
    • All those engaged in supporting an individual’s learning from pre-school to continuing education…………..part of a continuous and collective endeavour.
  • 19.
    • The need for self-evaluation to be embraced by all staff as the basis for improvement.
    • The need to rethink approaches to professional development and to build leadership capacity at all levels.
    Scottish education: continuing challenges
  • 20.  
  • 21. Where are we with self-evaluation?
    • Self-evaluation is well embedded in most schools and pre-school centres.
    • The Scottish approach of internal self-evaluation and external inspection has worked well.
    • Now we need to move up a gear.
  • 22.
    • “ In too many cases, self-evaluation can become almost an end in itself’.
    • ‘… .need to ensure that self-evaluation leads to improvements.’
    • Improving Scottish education, HMIE 2006
  • 23. Journey to Excellence
    • Encapsulates key drivers for improvement
    • Exemplifies them in a range of contexts
    • Provides practical advice on approaches
    • For EAs, leaders at all levels and individual staff
  • 24.
        • Appreciative Inquiry
          • What is working well around here?
          • What were seriously brilliant moments?
          • Discover – reflect on the best of the past and the present.
          • Dream – Use the findings and stories from the Discover phase to create a compelling, memorable and ambitious picture of the desired future.
          • Design – Agree the rules that will govern action from now on to reach the goal.
          • Deliver – Commit to what has to happen next and who will do it
  • 25. Change! TASK 3 John Macbeath
  • 26.
    • “ Future success will require an education system which is itself responsive and flexible and which is open to new ideas.”
    • Improving Scottish education, HMIE 2006
  • 27. New approaches to inspection
    • Inspection now takes the school’s self-evaluation as its starting point.
  • 28. Why do we inspect the way we do?
    • Start with self-evaluation
    • provide clear and consistent assurance
    • increased opportunities for professional dialogue
    • proportionate
    • less intrusive and less stressful
    • greater user involvement
    • concise reports in plain English
    • focus on what matters for all young people
  • 29.
    • Use a variety of evidence
    • Involve all stakeholders
      • be open
      • use teachers’ self-evaluation
    • Track pupils’ progress
      • use ICT, get data rich
    • Feed back to each teacher
      • classroom practice
      • pupils’ work
      • forward plans
    • Focus on improving outcomes
    • for pupils
    A classroom-perceiving approach – evaluation for improvement
    • Current Success – risk avoidance
    • Culture – ambition and intelligent innovation
    • Attitude - open
    • Learning – connectedness
    • Leadership - distributed
  • 31. Perceptual Traps
    • Back to the future
    • Tilting at windmills
    • Someone will stop me
    • Professional isolation
  • 32. Inspection gives assurance AND builds capacity
    • scrutiny AND self-evaluation
    • challenging AND inspiring
    • processes AND outcomes
  • 33. Principles of inspection
    • Inspection ‘with’ more than ‘to’.
    • Supporting innovation.
    • Disseminating good practice.
    • Taking forward Curriculum for Excellence.
    • Professional discussion.
  • 34. Who said?
    • ’’ We need to internalise this idea of excellence. Not many people spend a lot of time trying to be excellent. ”
  • 35. HM Inspectorate of Education Who said …… ? “ As a young man, my fondest dream was to become a geographer. However, while working in the customs office I thought deeply about the matter and concluded it was too difficult a subject. With some reluctance I then turned to physics as a substitute. ” Albert Einstein
  • 36. The results of some research conducted in a group of American High Schools revealed some surprising answers to this question. The top 10 responses were as listed below. A good teacher is someone who -
    • Is interested in you
    • Is patient and willing to listen
    • Is fair, but strict for you
    • Challenges you
    • Explains things well
    • Has a sense of humour
    • Is informal in manner
    • Is interested in the subject
    • Is of neat appearance
    • Smells nice
    What makes a good teacher?
  • 37.  
  • 38. Improving Scottish Education 2005-2008
    • “ The key to developing capacities, raising standards and meeting the needs of all learners lies of course in consistent, high quality learning and teaching. It remains true that differences within schools are generally greater than those between schools.”
  • 39. Learning and Teaching
    • Teaching for effective learning
    • sharing the aims of lessons, summarising
    • range and appropriateness of teaching approaches - variety, balance
    • clarity of teacher's exposition and explanation
    • appropriate use of questions – closed and open-ended
    • scope and quality of discussion and interaction between pupils and between pupils and teacher
  • 40. Learning and Teaching
    • Pupil's learning experiences
    • pupils' motivation and interest
    • pupils' progress in courses, pace of lessons
    • scope for pupils to exercise choice, take responsibility
    • scope for active learning, investigating (fieldwork) and problem-solving
    • scope for co-operative work in pairs or groups
    • scope for independent learning (ICT?)
  • 41. Learning and Teaching
    • Meeting pupils' learning needs
    • tasks, activities, resources matched to needs of individuals
    • assessment information used to inform future targets
    • purposes of activities relevant to pupils' experiences and interests
    • pace of work matched to individual pupils
    • appropriate challenges for more able
    • contributions made by learning support staff
  • 42. Learning and Teaching
    • “ Assessment is for Learning”
    • range of approaches - formal & informal
    • integral to course plans - pupils aware of strategy
    • balance between summative and formative
    • regular feedback to pupils on progress, next steps
    • criteria for assessment shared with pupils and understood
    • use of pupil self-evaluation to set future targets
    • effective recording of assessment information - shared with pupils, reported to parents
  • 43. The big ten classroom factors?
    • having a positive attitude
    • the development of a pleasant social / psychological climate in the classroom
    • having high expectations of what pupils can achieve
    • lesson clarity
    • effective time management
    • strong lesson structuring
    • the use of a variety of teaching methods
    • using and incorporating pupils’ ideas
    • using appropriate and varied questioning [Reynolds]
  • 44. Two new publications
  • 45. A challenge for HMIE
    • ambitious
    • meet our need to give assurance – Scotland Performs
    • support Curriculum for Excellence - provide a spur to innovation and improvement - look for and highlight success
    • report our findings clearly to schools, parents and other stakeholders
    • keep our focus on children and young people.
  • 46.
    • focus on learning and outcomes for children
    • be aspirational
    • be open and reflective
    • create the learning links
  • 47. Focus on children and young people
    • So that young people are:
      • safe
      • nurtured
      • healthy
      • successful in achieving
      • active
      • respected and responsible
      • included
    With a moral dimension
  • 48. We need to build on our strengths to meet the challenges of an increasingly complex and uncertain future.
  • 49. www.hmie.gov.uk