Talking about teaching

A full day of discussions on the directions of education and the challenges in providing K – 12 schooling. The morning began with a round table meeting with members of Learning and Teaching Scotland.

Margaret Alcorn,  Laurie O’Donnell, John Connell, Catriona Oates, Frank Crawford from HMIe and others talked through a ranges of concerns and challenges.

Not surprisingly, there was commonality in our experiences and perceptions. Central to all of us is the relationship between teacher learning and student achievement.

Scotland has a mandated requirement of 35 hours of professional development but this mandate doesn’t guarantee quality experiences. More and more there is work on locating the PD in school settings with teachers collaborating and sharing practice.

More use has to be made of technologies to support this sort of professional learning both from a learning and cost perspective.

Surprisingly, ICT in schools was hardly mentioned. This is a significant shift and is indicative of the fact that technology is now a mainstream learning tool.

The focus was really on how we place learning at the centre of schooling and new ways of assessing for learning. This is a critical task in the new Scottish curriculum document.

I shared our work on improving teacher collaboration and personalised learning and how the design of our agile spaces can support this.  There was great excitement at these initiatives and a keenness to understand how we are doing it. We only scratched the surface but it will continue online.

In the afternoon, I joined the Centre for Professional Development’s panel for a Q and A with Scottish educators. This was another great opportunity for professional engagement on some of the big issues in 21st century schooling.

We explored how you provide quality professional learning; how you encourage sound educational policy;  how to support innovation at school level and how to develop closer alignment between systems and schools.

Nick Hood has a summary of the discussion on his blog.


One thought on “Talking about teaching

  1. Thanks for this, Greg. It was good to meet with you last week.

    One small point: Scotland has mandated 35 hours per year of CPD for teachers under the TP21 agreement, but this is up to 35 hours, and should take into account the school development plans as well as the needs of the teacher as identified by an annual professional review and development (PRD) process.

    Although mandating a quantity doesn’t guarantee quality, it’s my view that 35 hours per year is well short of the development required of an educator to keep him/her ahead of current research and development in important matters such as neuroscience, pedagogy, curriculum and subject content.

    The dialogue is good: there is a definite move toward improving teacher CPD in Scotland which I think is key to the success of Curriculum for Excellence.

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