Allow your teachers out of school! The room was asked how many of us were educators still in the classroom (very few!) We should be encouraging teachers to attend conferences that are more strategic too- they can support transformative change. Let them figure out what works best for them and for schools.
There is a lack of pedagogic research about how we should be teaching and learning our subject. Subject expertise is just as important. Although there is a spoken emphasis on the vocational teacher in the FE sector being a dual-professional and that an updating of their subject expertise in industry is considered wise, this rarely translates into reality. There is little time carve out for it and staff are often not encouraged to do a stint back in industry, regular or otherwise. The staff who do are some of the most passionate and effective practitioners I know. It takes a leader to recognise the importance of industrial updating and carving time out in the year to encourage their staff to engage in it in order to develop new habits.
Collaboration should be aimed for: teachers as co-researchers. Collaboration is important so that things aren’t done TO us and we can contribute. This collaboration should extend beyond teachers and leaders though; it should also involve leaders, learners and parents as well as external parties such as tech developers.
Real-time in-ear coaching has impact according to this recent study: http://goo.gl/nuDHSa
Advice to give to a coach: develop trust, empathy and discernment- easy peasy, right?!
The in-ear coaching takes the teacher beyond just thinking about the content of their lesson but how and why they’re going to do it.
Filming lessons over time helps in a number of ways (especially where staff are better trained to spot not just what they’re doing but why):
- Investigations of impact over time can take place- with teachers able to determine the approaches/strategies with most impact.
- Where videos are shown to students, they can often recognise negative/positive learning behaviours more easily and therefore work to change/continue. Katia Cole, a practitioner from Reading College, did an investigation into the use of Google Glass for the purpose of transforming behaviour. Click here to find out more.
- Recording lessons and a range of practitioners’ development over time means that the school/college is building up a picture of best practice to be used to support other teachers’ development.
Filming lessons is not a magic bullet. Obviously- there isn’t one! BUT disruption of any kind can be good. It makes you think. Could film help a teacher to see their practice in new ways? More than likely. To maximise the impact, sharing the videos, or at least the learning experiences that result from them, with colleagues is a way of ensuring it goes beyond a 1-1 level.
Supporting and developing NQTs- using coaching
A school shared the experience of using IRIS and coaching with their NQTs as they had a large cohort one year. They discovered that film and video showed them aspects of their practice and students’ responses that they wouldn’t have been able to spot for themselves. They involve experienced practitioners to show best practice to the new staff as well as to coach them. The NQTs make use of personal planners to track the development of their teaching standards; focusing on what they’re currently trying and updating next steps as their learning progresses. They engage with their coach every 4-6 weeks alongside this journey. These conversations with their coach enable the coach to understand a bit more about the NQT they’re working with so they can tailor their in-ear coaching to suit them- rather than asking them to do something they may not feel comfortable with in an unhelpful way.
The NQT is supported by being released from teaching when necessary in order to fully engage with the ongoing reflective process. When being filmed, it is the NQT who decides what the focus of filming will be and what area of their practice they’d like to focus on the most.
My questions around initiatives like this always remain the same- how do you persuade more experienced teachers that it will also be of value for their development? Does it work more effectively for NQTs as they’re already so much more acutely aware of their practice and its impact on students?