Forgotten Gems


Forgotten Gems

16 Mar ’09 CPD and INSET Curriculum Middle Management Reflections 2

‘You can only improve your teaching by changing it.’

CPD in a can. That is how I referenced Geoff Petty’s website the  teacherstoolbox. This is the first place I came across Hattie, across PAR and someone with an endearing passion for learning and research in equal amounts.

Geoff makes the impact of the teacher on learning very simple with his explanation of pedagogical research and effect sizes. It was as the result of one of his presentations I learnt one of the most important teaching lessons of my career. Feedback is the single most signifcant factor in learning, after that, its student prior cognitive ability. So to be a successful teacher, offer regular feedback to bright students who will respond to it. Education made simple.

So why visit Geoff today? Well, as a middle leader team we are looking to reduce within school variance by proposing a school teaching model. We debated the terminology and constructs and decided to have a trial run at it from difference Departmental perspectives. The more middle, senior team meetings I attend the more appreciate the breath of overview required to make decisions.


2 Responses

  1. Why do you want to ‘reduce within school variance’? ‘Variance’ of what exactly? Are you referring to quality of teaching? Style? Attainment? Feedback?
    You know as well as I do that one size does not fit all, that one teachers model is anothers cage, and that the same is true of students and learners. One teacher is perfectly capable of giving ‘feedback’ in a look, another could write an essay in a students book and still never get it right nor get through to their target.

    By all means make some suggestions of you feel this is helpful, but if you take a peak at the professional attributes of successful teachers, please note the value of independent thought. A model can only be copied and followed – where is the creativity in that? I fear it might be ignored by the weakest staff and serve only to clip the wings of the most talented. Wouldnt it be better to provide the same cpd you experienced to the staff as a whole and let them make their own conclusions rather than leap in with an imposed model? At the very least involve the staff on which you intend to impose this in the creation of the model.
    Oh I hate the idea, really hate it, but somehow expect you’ll go through with it. Sorry to be so negative, but this is so depressing.

    • Jo, your right, my musing needed to be more specific. In this context we were discussing how to deliver the VLE to staff, to promote a consistent presentation of content (without straight jacketing teachers). At present our school does not currently proscribe to a particular teaching model and I did not want the VLE to become confusing for students. Afterall it will be a venue for Nor did I want staff to merely transfer resources into an empty vessel. This led to a conversations with various stakeholders, staff with a ‘teaching and learning’ responsibility and school improvement groups. Our aim was to offer a framework (not a cage) that all departments could add and develop their resources within, using a consistent wholeschool learning vocabulary. So, to draw school variance up towards our best performing departments using a loosely common framework but consistent language.

      Your point on individual creativity – we agreed that lesson frameworks and rigid language was retraining – we were very careful to select vocabulary that all 8 staff felt were applicable to their own department. For sure Science resources will be different to Art, again different to ICT.

      Certainly your point about the value of the conversation as a CPD session is duly noted, it was again reviewed at our SLT meeting tonight with equal verve. To ignore within school variance would in my view be negligent. Sadly, of the 20 or so VLEs I have visited more than half have matured into vast ‘resource skips’ rather than learning environments as they grow without a framework, sadly this view was confirmed in the recent Ofsted reported. Can this ‘same’ framework be successfully transferred to the classroom? Let’s hope our SLT take this conversation to the staff (I will let you know).

      I really appreciate your comments, it has really made me reflect and consider the further steps needed before this will be fully appreciated / accepted / begrudgingly followed by our staff body. Incidently you can try the framework yourself via the link.

Leave a Reply to Jo Rhys-Jones Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *