Reprofessionalising Teachers

What do doctors do?

They specialise in certain fields, they engage in research. They become knowledgeable in diagnosing, treating, and monitoring. The public know this, and respect the profession.

Doctors engage in public health campaigns to educate the public. They appear on TV shows to give expert opinions. They challenge unhealthy lifestyles. They feel no shame in engaging with industry and academia for the purpose of research.

Doctors hold themselves to high standards. Their professional bodies examine best-practice and disseminate it. They measure success rates and survival rates – not just while the patients are in hospital but they are often monitored for years after. If there is a failure and a patient dies, there is a post-mortem, and the failure is thoroughly analysed and lessons (usually) learned.

So what do the public think us teachers do? My entirely anecdotal responses:

  • We have long holidays (first thing people mention to me).
  • We teach kids stuff (i.e. we write stuff on the board and kids copy it down and ‘learn’ it)
  • We tell off naughty kids (they say “I just don’t know how you cope with all those kids, I think I’d want to kill ’em”)
  • We spend evenings marking work.
  • We’re quite sweet really (“I think it’s great what you do, you’re so dedicated – you’d have to be really.”)
  • We moan about the government a lot, and about our workload, and about the kids… and their parents (“Going on strike again are you? Holidays not long enough eh? Hah!”)
  • We’re dedicated, some people think we’re probably fairly clever but a bit mad
  • A lot of people remember teachers from their school days – a couple of teachers they loved, and lots of teachers they hated.
  • We are cogs in a ‘failing system’. The public have totally bought the tabloid line that education is in crisis.
  • Our views are entirely represented by our vocal unions who are seen (often) “as fairly introverted and self-serving” (a great quote from Nick Wells, @NSMWells)

People do, of course, say lots of other positive things about teachers, but I do think this represents a good slice of public opinion. Add on top of that the general feeling that kids are rioting and exams are totally devalued and you have a toxic mix.

How did we let this happen?

It’s all too easy to point the finger of blame – the government, the unions, maybe even parents. I’m certainly not an expert in the history of education (although I’d love to hear informed opinions on how we got to this point). However, I’d like to suggest that we should take a long, hard look at the medical profession, learn some lessons, and start doing something about it.

Here are some suggestions for starters.

  1. Found (by ourselves, not government) a new association of education professionals. This would be an entirely non-union and non-government body whose job is to represent the interests of quality education for all. It should aim to become the dominant and expert voice, as the British Medical Association (and AMA, etc.) has become in medicine. It would include representatives from all teaching unions, education professional associations, but mostly be made up from fantastic, expert teaching professionals and researchers.
  2. Begin public information campaigns about how we learn, and how we can help our children become more successful adults. Engage with the media to create and run more newspaper columns, tv shows, blogs, etc. which entertain and educate the public about learning.
  3. Invest properly in long-term outcomes research to find out which schools are creating confident, competent, successful adults, and which are churning out exam statistics.
  4. Forge strong links with business and universities and create centres of expertise in new understanding of teaching and learning, and new technologies.
  5. Engage with all the professional bodies to start creating new ways of teaching more effectively that utilise our brightest and best teachers, and acknowledge and reward expertise and advancement, rather than time spent at the ‘chalk face’. Perhaps we could allow, for example, Junior Teachers, Chartered Teachers, Consultant Teachers?

You may not agree with all the ideas, and I agree that much of this would be resisted by teacher unions, but I cannot help but think that this is the correct way forward.

I’d very much welcome your thoughts, opinions, criticism, etc.

Afl, lesson objectives, and the 3-part lesson.

There was a fascinating debate on Twitter last night about what should be expected from a lesson. I kicked off after chatting to a colleague from another school who told me his lesson was deemed a failure as he only wrote up his lesson objectives after giving feedback on a homework.

@informed_edu: Heard about a school today who insist all lessons *must* be 3-part, *must* have objectives written up before tchr starts speaking! <Sigh>

Not everyone agreed, of course (and I very much respect the following person’s leadership and teaching opinions):

@LeeDonaghy: I’m currently trying to introduce the accelerated learning cycle at my school: what’s wrong with a structure & objectives?

Personally, I don’t believe in requiring teachers to do these things. I feel very strongly that doing so “puts the cart before the horse”, and I wasn’t the only one in last night’s debate to feel this way.

@kalinski1970: too prescriptive…teachers need to concentrate on three simple things…what do I want them to learn?… What activities will help them learn it? How will I know if they have learnt it? However structure helps weak teachers

Now of course there’s nothing wrong with saying that you want to use the first part of your lesson to jog students’ memories and brainstorm ideas, followed by a one or more activities to explore/extend, and then a dual-purpose assessment/revision plenary to help firm up the learning and give you information about strengths/weaknesses to help plan your next lesson. For that reason, your lesson may be 3-part, or 2-part, or 4-part. It probably won’t have a gimmicky “get them thinking about something random” 10-minute starter which (in my humble opinion) wastes some of the most fertile learning time of the lesson.

With lesson objectives, the opinions were still pretty one-sided:

@IRIS_behaviour: writing objectives on the board = starting a joke with the punch line!

@Davy_Parkin: there are several ‘musts’ that just aren’t realistic or are tokenistic, so they only happen when needed ie observations!

@LeahJames21: I believe children should tell me what they’ve learnt during the plenary. Usually this is a lot more than my plans 🙂

I said I objected to compulsion…

@informed_edu: Because “there’s more than one way to skin a cat” (with apologies to cat-lovers). Optional=good.

but not everyone agreed (and again this opinion from some who I very much respect):

@SusanDouglas70: but sharing your lesson objective doesn’t stop you skinning the cat anyway you want to in the lesson?

Now I do understand that the idea here is that kids take control of their own learning. You set a course for them, they steer, and they decide how well they did at the end of the lesson. However, I’ve heard so many times where schools insist on lesson objectives at the start, and insist on ‘how well have I understood these’ traffic-lighting sessions at the end, while missing out the vitally important part of giving the students the means and the training to take control.

If you tell kids “by the end of the lesson you will learn X”, and then you teach them energetically but at the end they say “but I don’t understand X” then it does both them and you very little good. Also, traffic lighting in their books is also remarkably inefficient way for the teacher to gather information to plan the next lesson.

I love the idea that you can supply differentiated support and materials to all students who can peer-support each other (with teacher intervention) to learn new topics. If you’re doing this, then by all means give them an extremely clear steer on what they should be focussed on, and let them carefully reflect on how much they’ve learned in order to inform their own homework-planning and home-study.

However, this isnt’ the best approach for all learning. In fact whole class teaching has been showing in many cases to have the largest effect sizes in learning (see Geoff Petty’s Evidence-Based-Teaching or Coben et. al.’s research into adult teaching). Whole-class discussion, assertive questionning, mini white-boards etc. are all excellent whole-class strategies in situations where totally student-led-learning may be less effective for promoting understanding, learning and engagement. In whole class methods the teacher is driving the lesson (and rightly so).

Why should the teacher be obliged to write up the lesson objective at the start here? Perhaps they’d like to begin by brainstorming things the students have previously learned, then verbally explain the aim of the lesson, and finally use creative ways to do some form of end-of-lesson formative assessment, without reference to any written outcome.

Perhaps an effective educator may, weekly, refer students to a syllabus where they can look together at how effectively they have been covering material? Perhaps students will construct ‘what we have learned’ wiki entries, or mind-maps, or question-materials?

I have no doubt that, in some cases, writing up a learning outcome/lesson objective can be valuable. But it is (in my opinion) a nonsense to suggest that every lesson must begin with one written up, and even more of a nonsense to accuse a teacher of being unprofessional if they refuse to do so.

To my horror, another tweet I saw was:

@Mallrat_uk: ours *must* be in 5 part and we also *must* have objectives!

I think this is a nonsense, and a gross misunderstanding of AfL. I am certain that Ofsted do not call for any such thing. No wonder imaginative, effective teachers end up leaving ‘troubled’ schools if management teams impose such measures on every member of staff in the race for better numbers and judgements.

I believe neither 3-part-lessons nor written learning objectives/outcomes/aims are a panacea for educational success…. but as always I am happy to be contradicted, and informed to the contrary. In fact I’d actively welcome dissenting opinions – best way to learn.

Gifted and Talented

Dear parent,

We would like to let you know that we have not included you daughter in our latest “Gifted & Talented” list. You may assume we feel she has no notable gifts, and no particular talents. We shall therefore exclude her from various clubs, trips and opportunities. We will make sure that every teacher who has her in their class sees a big, fat, “NO” in the “Gifted and Talented?” column on their class spreadsheet. These teachers will have to make no specific provision for her in their planning.

We will specially appoint a gifted and talented coordinator in our school to organise lots of extra stretch and exciting activities. This coordinator will ignore your daughter, and spend none of their time doing anything for her benefit.

You may also be interested to know that there used to be a National Academy for Gifted and Talented Youth. They did wonderful work in providing support for talented young people. As your daughter is is neither gifted nor talented, she would have effectively been entirely invisible to this organisation… although they’ve closed now, which will make her feel better, I’m sure.

Incidentally you may be interested to know that the government defines gifted learners as those who have abilities in one or more academic subjects, like maths and English, and talented learners as those who have practical skills in areas like sport, music, design or creative and performing arts. Your daughter has none of the above.

Kindest regards,

Your school

Note: Just updated after being slapped on the wrist and reminded NAGTY was closed in 2007 (or possibly 2010, the wikipedia article is unclear). Oops. Apparently the replacement is either Warwick Uni’s IGGY or DfE’s YG&T. Incidentally I’d welcome someone writing an opposing view to this – always happy to be contradicted.

Edit: Fantastic opposing view (also in epistolary form!)  by @GiftedPhoenix

Questions for Evan Davis on Education

Do you have questions you would like to pose to Evan Davis about education? I shall be interviewing him over the next week or so and would like to get your ideas about what you’d like to ask.

Evan is currently presenting a new show on BBC,  Made in Britain which accompanies the excellent book of the same name. He is a presenter on Radio 4’s Today show, BBC TV’s Dragon’s Den, as well as Radio 4’s The Bottom Line. Until 2008 he was the BBC’s chief Economics editor (see his blog).

One of his key points in his book is that, as a nation, we can be extremely proud of our universities which are among our most successful ‘exports’. In fact Evan stresses the importance of the knowledge economy and of ensuring that we are all able to gain the skills to enable us to move in to high-skill and higher-value industries. I shall be asking him what lessons he feels there are for our school system in ensuring this continues to happen.

You may wish to read a previous, Open University interview with Evan which include some of his thoughts about education and enterprise.

Please post your question ideas, or tweet them to me @informed_edu.

10 ways I’m changing my teaching

Thanks to a multitude of books, to twitter, and to some amazing people I’ve met I’m trying to make lots of change to my teaching. Here’s some of the things I’m trying:

  1. Rubrics: Thanks to Jennifer Borgioli (@datadiva) I’m trying to pre-prepare rubrics – tables that clearly explain to students the different levels of quality that could be seen in pieces of work. This has already resulted in some fantastic pieces of work and has made my marking much easier as I can explicitly refer back to these to explain how to improve.
  2. Upgrading. Using the aforementioned rubrics I am enforcing a minimum quality standard on certain pieces of work. If students hand in the lowest possible quality or nothing at all I’m asking them to redo it during a lunchtime session. If they hand in a “not-quite-there” quality piece they are asked to redo it at home. I’ve had a couple of students suddenly ‘get it’ when they realise that the quality of what they do is now valued, rather than just ticking a box that it’s done.
  3. Assertive Questionning. This is a method I read in Geoff Petty‘s excellent book Evidence-based teaching (as recommended by Paul Shakesby, @paulshakesby). I pose questions in class and leave students a huge amount more thinking time before asking for ideas – usually working in groups or pairs to brainstorm. I then write up all their responses, correct or incorrect, good or bad, and ask them to comment on each other’s ideas and argue about them. Only after a long discussion (sometimes quite tough) do I finally step in and give my opinion. Some students have told me they find this hard, but that it has really helped them understand previously difficult topics.
  4. Bonus Time. This is an adaptation of Fred Jones‘ idea of “Preferred Activity Time” from his thought-provoking book Tools for Teaching (also recommended by Paul Shakesby). I’ve started reserving my Friday morning tutor time as ‘game time’ where we play various team-building games, sports etc. My students start the week with 10 minutes of this time and can earn extra minutes by having perfect uniform, turning up on time, having their planners signed and filled in properly, going quiet immediately when I ask, and doing good deeds for others. I had a tough start with this (sceptical kids!) but it seems to have started working better now.
  5. Explicit meta-learning. Before and after any extended task in class I’m taking a few minutes to discuss strategies and tactics. I’ve coined the phrase “how to struggle successfully” and I ask students for ideas of how they can avoid being “stranded, helpless, flapping fish”. I try and spend less time with any single student who is encountering difficulties (another Fred Jones idea) and instead jog their memory about which strategy they could use to progress. This hasn’t necessarily made me popular, but I’m already seeing the effect as students develop a few ways to have another go themselves.
  6. Graphic Organisers. Another brilliant Paul Shakesby idea which I also read about in Evidence-based teaching. I’m constantly using Venn diagrams on the board to force students to categorise learning, especially in topics where they are often a bit woolly. For example in Physics I’ll write one circle for “cell” one for “capacitor” and ask them to come up with ideas that are true of either one or both. I’m combining this idea with Assertive Questionning: the graphic organiser helps make the whole thing more concrete.
  7. e-Learning tasks. Setting tasks on our VLE is really rather simple (we use Moodle) and it makes my life easier because I can immediately tell not only who has submitted a task, but who has even looked at the instructions. I sometimes set e-learning tasks while I have taken students’ books in. I’ve tried using this method for research, for answering questions, and for multiple-choice tests. The great part is that as soon as one person creates these tasks, every teacher can use them.
  8. Wikis. I can’t remember who was the first person I saw on Twitter who suggested this, but I have been an avid fan of students creating wikis after every lesson. On our VLE (Moodle) it is childs play to create a blank Wiki in any area, and I’ve been using one with my AS-level Physics classes since February. Some of them absolutely love it, some of them aren’t too bothered, but its a great way of ensuring that all the learning from every lesson is recorded for anyone who was absent. It’s been really useful for revision, and I’ve also spotted a few conceptual issues in the descriptions on there which makes it a good diagnostic tool too.
  9. Reflection. I tend to follow the example of a colleague of mine at school and plan my lessons in an Excel Spreadsheet. In the last few weeks I’ve added an extra column for my thoughts after the lesson. It’s not always been easy to find 5 minutes to do this, but it is always a powerful way of starting my planning for the next lesson. I tend to write notes about learning, behaviour, and the success or failure of new ideas, plus thoughts about what to try next time. This has also been helpful for my colleagues where I share classes with them.
  10. Growth Mindsets. Thanks to Carol Dweck‘s wonderful book Mindset I do tend to talk to students in a different way. Where I would once have said “very clever!” or “you’re very bright”, I now consciously use phrases such as “you worked hard on that” or “you’ve been really trying to improve”. I support this idea by referring to students’ chances graphs to reinforce the idea that resilience, hard work, and a positive attitude to getting stuck and trying again will lead to success.

All of these ideas are making my teaching so much more fun, and I’m beginning to see the difference in the way the students react. Of course, nothing here is a panacea, it is all taking a lot of hard graft to get it to work, and some hard thinking when it doesn’t quite work out. I’m going to be keeping a close eye on the students’ results, their behaviour, and their opinions of me (from surveys) to make sure I’m confronting the hard reality of the situation and not just making myself feel good by applying ‘sticking plaster’ ideas. Talk is cheap, but good teaching lasts forever. Fun stuff!

I’d love to hear your thoughts, tips, reflections and ideas. Write a comment, drop me an email, or send me a tweet (@informed_edu).

Competition is no panacea

There is much talk of applying competition between schools as a new panacea. As I have said before, I simply don’t believe there is an undiscovered panacea in education.

My feeling is that if you turn learning in to a commodity then you end up with a cheap way of delivering shallow facts in a bland way that lacks suitable challenge and deep learning. I’m sure the customer service for delivery of those facts would be excellent, and the service very cheap, but it entirely misses the point that the best learning is a chaotic, difficult, and often uncomfortable journey, with incredible highs and frustrating challenges. Who would choose this over an easy, bland diet of pre-packaged, pre-digested facts? Would the majority of parents choose the school that challenges them to be a better parent over the school that allows them to abdicate responsibility?

In a reply to Loic Menzies’ excellent article on competition between schools, Jacob Kestner asserts that supermarkets would be worse and less efficient if they had collaborated, and therefore schools should follow the supermarket/competitive model. I think Loic’s response deals with a number of flaws in this argument very well, but he only briefly mentions the motives of ‘consumers’ in education, and the ability of competition and choice to foster quality.

Competition between supermarkets has created cheap, plentiful food with an abundance of choice. It has not created talented cooks. Quite possibly the opposite, in fact. Customers are, more often than not, choosing the easy route to eating – pre-prepared, pre-packaged meals. Convenience and ease-of-consumption generally rules over quality, and in many cases these choices are leading to long-term damage to those same consumers, and society as a whole.

The fundamental flaw with ‘competition’ logic is that many people will choose the option that is easy, that is pleasant, but not necessarily the option that is good for them in the long run. In education we see the effect of competition in the examination system. It is not the market forces that have been responsible for trying to retain quality of assessments – quite the opposite. The popular exams tend to be the more shallow, comfortable options rather than the ones that increase the challenge and force teachers to work harder. It goes further than the tests themselves – exam boards create recipe-book text books that sometimes de-skill the teachers who end up teaching to the test in a boring way, in response to demand from schools for ways to improve their results.

Competition is clearly one lever for improvement in a system. It works very well to ensure value for money. It works pretty well to ensure that consumers get treated well when something goes wrong – they get a pleasant experience, and a comforting one. Can we rely on this lever by itself?

The school that ‘transforms’ itself by playing the system to ensure that its examination statistics are as high as possible clearly wins the parents’ vote, over the school that takes the longer view and works on teaching and learning quality solidly to slowly drive up standards.

The school that enforces mainly rote-learning, students sat in rows, and ignores new research about learning (i.e. makes students learn the way their parents did)  may be much more understandable for parents who prefer it over one where subjects are taught in non-traditional ways that force them to challenge their own preconceptions about what makes a good education. In fact this is the big problem that politicians and journalists have – those that consider themselves intelligent and successful decide that the solution is to benevolently impose their same life-experiences on everyone else, regardless of suitability.

I’m not saying competition has no part in education. I support schools being freed up to make their own choices about where they buy services and supplies – where commercial approaches are much more proven. Also, if the other levers of self-evaluation, inspection, exam indicators all fail then we need to ensure parents can, as a very last resort, consider moving away from an area in order to avoid a school. However, clearly this advantages those with the means to do so, and massively disadvantages those who are not able to move, or not willing to prioritise their children’s learning. We cannot use this as the lever of first choice, or even second or third choice.

Supermarkets become more efficient because inefficient ones can slowly die and go out of business. We can’t afford for schools to do the same. We can’t guarantee that parents will pick the best choice for the long-term, or that a lever that has increased efficiency in selling food produce will drive up standards in learning.

I welcome your thoughts.

Linking CPD and Performance Management

Performance management is a slightly threatening phrase. I pretty much associate it with the following things:

  • Am I still competent (i.e. can I prove that nobody needs to worry about me)?
  • Can I find something to ‘tick a box’ to show I’m doing something towards school development?
  • Am I allowed to progress up the pay scale?
  • Can I do one reasonably good observed lesson every year?

Hardly inspiring stuff. That aside, I’m a bit of an obsessive about reflecting on my practice and self-improvement, and outside of the performance management structure I do a huge amount of reading and research to improve my teaching. It strikes me that there is a fantastic opportunity for people to really engage with reflective tools (like the collaborative teacher skills rubric that I started), and use collaborative professional learning groups to conduct action research within their school and alongside colleagues at other schools around the world.

What if performance management began each cycle with a meeting with a school coach who had a meeting with you to help you assess your own practice and identify areas in your best lessons that you’d like to develop, and find areas you find challenging where you could benefit from some ideas from colleagues?

You could then go through the year documenting your reading, meetings and reflections in a blog (perhaps a staff area on the school VLE). This would be much of your evidence, and would include observations from your learning-group colleagues as well as mentors/coaches who are all there to help you along the way. Part of your performance management would also be to help other teachers reflect and grow in their own practice.

There could be so many ways to do this. You could decide to spend the first half of the year researching best practice in a certain area and trying new ideas, linking with other teachers via Twitter. Then, in the second half you could run some twilight INSET to start cascading these new ideas down to other teachers who have signed up for this idea.

I’m at the very beginning of a mental journey to develop these ideas, and I’d love to hear what other schools do. I know there must be some amazing examples of enlightened Continuing Professional Performance and Development Management out there and I can’t wait to hear how it works, and how to build on this.

The power of Twitter

Last night I posed a question on twitter:

@informed_edu: Anyone care to share some good tips for keeping kids on task when they’re doing work from a textbook/worksheet? #ukedchat

I was absolutely blown away with the responses:

@datadiva: how about incorporating meta-reflection during the task. Set up a timer to go off at random intervals. When stds hear chime they can doc what they were doing at time. Off-task? On? If off – what were they doing? If on – what was process? #ukedchat. you can even work in behavior over time graphs ( I often use them in conjunction w/ mata-cognition work

@paulshakesby: look up Fred Jones – limit setting, working the crowd, responsibility training. Simple and very effective behavior system

@springrose12: Information gap wrk:one group does one part of the sheet, the other works the rest of the part and share the work. #ukedchat

@Mr_D_Cheng: on a sliding scale when textbook revising with my yr 10’s

@tj007: what are their excuses 4 being off task? Is the bk/w.s failing to engage them? What was the lead up like – did it spark intrst are they off task because they don’t want to fail if they try? can they be made to feel confident b4 task? #ukedchat

@teachingofsci: don’t let them use twitter? 🙂 more seriously, interim deadlines, stopwatch on the board? kids can score themselves 1-3 for effort/focus and A-C for understanding (I add A+ for ‘I could teaching this’) #ukedchat

@cocoapony: how about wrking in teams with 1 role as ‘director’/chair 2 keep on track – revolv the role 4each w/sheet or Q2Q?

@javidmahdavi: have you ever considered converting worksheets to interactive ones in something like smartboard notebook?

@eduKatescom: countdown timer on smartboard gives sense of urgency! #ukedchat

@ArronFowler: I have been using time as a tool. Frequent deadlines from 30 sec to 5mins tasks. Kids respond well. The harder the better.

@jenmardunc: Letting them listen to music on headphones helps MANY kids stay focused!

Some amazing suggestions, and I went and looked up Fred Jones’ book (and ordered it on Amazon). One further suggestion sparked a really interesting debate:

@sevim77: #ukedchat don’t use textbooks! Unless essential they can be boring and switch students off!

@informed_edu: Agreed, textbooks are never perfect, but a reasonable compromise when you don’t have time to create resources from scratch?

@janshs: Big Q is how to make them interesting? Maybe use as part of a carousel of activities, or as source material #ukedchat

@sevim77: maybe used as sources to get students to create their own resources?

@janshs: ahhhh now we are talking #ukedchat … collaborative learning???

@sevim77: collaborative learning that also ticks boxes for differentiation, and AFL if students’ level

@informed_edu: Nice! How about taking Textbook questions and collaboratively deciding on the order of difficulty, with reasons.

Inspired by this conversation, I asked my year 9 GCSE Physics class to take a text book double-spread and turn the boringly low-level factual-recall questions in to high-level challenging questions. They came up with some brilliant ideas! For example:

“Given the choice of replacing your single-glazed windows with double-glazing, or changing the single pane of glass to double its U-value, which would you prefer, and why?”

“Put the following insulation choices in order of effectiveness, and explain your reasoning: Loft insulation, Cavity wall insulation, Aluminium foil radiator backing, Double-glazed windows.”

I’ve also been trying another idea I read on Twitter last year (still trying to find the reference) which is getting students to discuss questions or summarise the lesson in pairs or small groups and then asking students to describe what their partner/rest of the group said. It really does seem to focus them so much better.

I’m looking forward to trying some of the metacognition ideas – particularly @datadiva‘s idea about getting the students to reflect on what they’re doing and how well focussed they are. I’m also going to try and get students to reflect more on their work (following @teachingofsci‘s suggestion). I’ve tried doing this at A-level for students rating their own effort but I’m going to use it more widely.

Teaching is so much more fun when you have a stream of interesting ideas and a whole crowd of supportive people on tap. I’m endlessly impressed with the power of Twitter.



Collaborative Teacher Training

It’s been fascinating to meet several of the people who I have been tweeting with recently. Every one of them has given me some really interesting insights in to the skills that really superb teachers posess. After some particularly interesting conversations with Loic Menzies (@LKMco) and Chris Padden (@chris_padden), I decided to try and create a sort of rubric for teaching skills. I started this a few weeks ago and then left it while I decided where to take it next.

This week I was delighted to be invited to deliver some training to around 40 PGCE Maths and Science students at Brunel University. They came up with some really thought-provoking questions and ideas about how they would improve their practice next year as NQTs. However, many of them expressed some frustration that it wasn’t clear exactly how to be clear about what areas they needed to improve on. This made me realise that the Teacher Quality rubric was more important than ever.

So, as a result of this I’ve decided to turn the whole thing in to a collaborate project. I’ve created a Google Spreadsheet that is editable by anyone, where people can add, amend, or update descriptions of skills levels for teachers.

Please click on the image or the link above and have a look at what has been created so far. There are tabs at the bottom of the sheet to split it in to different sections. Remember, you can edit anything you see. It would be great to link examples of different levels of teacher skill, and resources for how to achieve it.

What do you think about this? Maybe there could be a better format (a wiki?) or is it better in this simple format?

All thoughts welcome. Do go and have a look and add some detail, and share with colleagues.