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Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Sharing best Practice

Teachers have a huge range of skills and tools that they use every day in the classroom, these tools and skills form for them their 'best practice'. This best practice changes constantly in line with their professional development, experience and increasing pedagogy.

Best practice is now being shared between like minded people from all around the world on Twitter, Pinterest and in events such as TeachMeets which are held regularly around the country. All of these are having a very positive impact on a lot of the teaching that goes on in schools and colleges. Ideas and resources are shared from country to country, county to county and town to town. We have become a much more global education community. 

Somewhere, someone is doing something different and getting a different result that is better. The best teaching, just like the best science and the best medicine, is a moving target. And so the process of pursuing best practice is just that: a process, something fluid and dynamic that we should all try to stay actively involved with as much as we possibly can.

Despite the recent explosion in Teachmeets and Twitter however for lots of teachers, teaching is a very personal matter that seems best explored behind a closed classroom door with no other adults present. These teachers also have vast amounts of best practice that they could share and yet will never attend Teachmeets and certainly would not use Twitter or Pinterest.

Perhaps this is due to the constant intrusions into classes by repeated observations which inform nothing and yet give no end of pressure along with the constant call for the for Outstanding lessons which merely focuses attention on single lessons rather than on teaching and learning as a whole. 

So how can we put this right? Get rid of S.L.T formal lesson observations, allow teachers to share best practice in their own schools via:

Peer observations - providing an opportunity for staff to discuss with, or observe, the teaching of a peer.

Team teaching - providing teachers with the opportunity to pool ideas, teach a lesson together and have a professional dialogue afterwards.

Staff meetings - providing teachers share an opportunity to share discuss their best practice with the staff in their school in an open forum.

Cluster meetings -  providing wider opportunities for informal gatherings of teachers to share their best practice in their school.

Maybe then teachers will feel more inclined to leave their classroom door open and share the huge amount of knowledge and experience they have in a safe and open manner which is beneficial to everyone, especially the pupils. It is important to share globally but it is also important to share in your own setting improving standards in our own schools and then beyond.