If you have not had the opportunity to met or speak with @ChrisChivers2 you have missed out (so far). The man who @eduCarditon today rightly referred to as “the wise sage” has always a thoughtful perspective and a previous experience to share on any topic educational. I make a point of sitting with Chris at some point during every TeachMeet or conference we attend, and (to the shock of anyone who knows me) try very hard to keep my mouth closed as much as possible and my ears open. When Chris Chivers (Talks) I generally learn from something new and insightful.
At #LearningFirst today in Bath we had a great reflective conversation about how schools can best support teachers in their professional development and their impact on learning. With apologies to Chris, if I have paraphrased, misquoted or misremembered, here are some of the nuggets we discussed.
Chris often refers to the Teacher Standards. Whilst we were discussing how as school’s we often need to simplify our work, he made the point that to be effective teachers he would want them to:
- Know the children well and plan accordingly (TS4)
- Make accurate and productive use of assessment (TS6) and adapt teaching to respond to the strengths and needs of the children (TS5)
- Have a better knowledge and understanding of the children
(This would then be repeated)
We discussed that learning is a dynamic, in real time, collaborative process. Impossible to predict in advance with 100% accuracy and never ending.
That an element of a teacher’s role is to be a detective. Searching for the clues about the children’s learning and understanding, so as to tweak and adapt the teaching and curriculum provision. For those with gaps and barriers to find the key to unlock their understanding.
To develop and be increasingly successful in their role teachers need to be confident in their abilities and that the leaders in a school trust them. To take the shared and agreed school structures (which should be sufficiently flexible) and trial, adapt and innovate within and beyond them. Leaders should support and challenge, but minimise judgements.
Teachers need to be encouraged to spent the minimum amount of their thinking time on low level organisational matters (particularly once these are agreed, set up and habitual) and the maximum amount of their thinking time grappling and questioning about the teaching and learning in their class, and the impact and progress of their learners.
As school leaders the more we can do to set up systems and nurture a culture that allows for this the more empowered and effective the teachers in our school will be.
Thank you as always Chris for sharing so generously of your time and wisdom. I think next time, I’ll have to record our conversation to ensure I capture it all.