This is, frankly, bizarre…There is now plenty of research to show that every student gains a significant benefit from really good teaching but that students from disadvantaged backgrounds stand to benefit even more – they are generally much more sensitive to the quality of teaching. So why would we concentrate so much policy attention and resource on the first year of teaching only and neglect the following years? The research evidence is crystal clear – this is wrong.
What sort of change do we want? How to we connect it to the current demand for evidence-informed practice?Teacher learning could be likened to a student learning a new language, or a politician’s understanding of a policy area.If someone is not given time to properly learn a new skill or understand a new domain of knowledge before they are interrogated or observed then they will simply adopt a superficial approach. Where students are not properly prepared for an oral exam they will regurgitate pre-prepared phrases. The politician who has just picked up a new brief can do little but offer soundbites and platitudes.Our current systems of observations and inspections reinforces this shallow learning. There is now strong research evidence from the US to suggest that, no matter how competent an observer thinks they are, they are an unreliable judge of the quality of teaching taking place. Over in the UK we’ve taken it further to attempt to use a 30 minute observation to judge the quality of ‘learning’ of 30 different young people. There is little evidence to suggest that this is any more feasible or reliable and I would hazard a guess that it is significantly worse. What is the result? Teachers are learning superficial techniques that are easy to see, rather than engaging deeply with teaching techniques and ensuring that both they and their students genuinely master ideas.Similarly it is also clear that all of the one-off courses, advice guides and tips and tricks style professional development is nigh-on useless for improving teacher skill. Would you expect a surgeon to go on a one day course to learn a new surgical procedure? Would you be happy if your teacher thought all the CPD they needed was from twitter or from medic-meets giving 3 minute presentations?
We need a range of different types of evaluation rather than just one type.
This is an example of the enquiry approach we use in our National Teacher Enquiry Network. Teachers pick ideas they want to implement and cycle through an implementation approach.
In NTEN we use Lesson Study to help them refine and explore the ideas.
21 october Presentation
Leading a Collaborative Enquiry
In pairs or trios, teachers lead an enquiry
on an aspect of pedagogy they want to
Focus on a specific cohort.
Focus on gathering evidence of the
impact of our practice on pupils’ learning.
Collaborative planning, observing,
recording, reflecting, tweaking,
EMBEDDING what works.
Sharing and DISSEMINATING.
Making use of the Monday CPD
sessions for this purpose.
Working in clusters with a mentor –
regular input and discussion &
“Every teacher needs to
improve, not because they are
not good enough, but because
they can be even better.”
Research suggests that the impact of
teachers on students’ outcomes plateaus
after a few years. We need to challenge
ourselves to deliberately seek
improvements in our practice.
Why are we doing this?
Effect of teaching on students in years of
Source: Sutton Trust
Better teachers improve the life chances of
The problem with continuous
professional development is that the
continuous bit is too often missing.
Research shows that only 1% of CPD
has a transformative impact on
But teachers can lead a
transformation themselves through
deliberate practice and collaboration.
Ends…as much as means
Start by identifying a specific group of
pupils who are supposed to benefit
and pick an area of learning to
develop and then choose an
Think of ways of evaluating impact
from the start.
Refining and identifying cohort.
Evaluating the impact of our
Range of evaluation
FORMATIVE AND SUMMATIVE
eg attendance figures, number
in contact book
TEACHER’S OWN OBSERVATIONS
– NOTES, PHOTOS OF WORK
PRODUCED, USE OF STAR
QUALITY OF HOMEWORK
POST LESSON INTERVIEWS
WITH FOCUS PUPILS
GETTING A BASELINE FIRST?
Choose an Enquiry question / goal
Design your evaluation
Investigate the issue, get a baseline
Plan and try an intervention
Interim review & expert input/research
Refine your intervention
Write a summary
Dissemination & Sharing
Example: Lesson Study
Plan a lesson together.
Address each activity to your
Learning Goal and predict how
pupils will react and how you will
Pick 3 case pupils.
Teach the lesson with your
Pay particular attention to the
Conduct any assessments and/or
interviews during & after.
3. Reflect & Plan
As soon after the lesson as
possible, reflect how each activity
elicited the sought-after change.
Were your predictions correct?
FOCUS ON THE
What barriers can you foresee and
what possible solutions can you
From Hunting English blog
Next Monday CPD session: 2nd
Enquiry should have started in order
to fuel the next discussion / planning /
Further reading and guidance
Please feel free to ask for specific
reading on your chosen topic.
If you would like to find out about
strategies used by colleagues from
other schools, let me know.