Tips for improving practice and how leaders can help facilitate this

In the video below Dylan Wiliam gives his tips for changing practice. For the most part not new or earth shattering but a good reminder of how we should approach our professional learning.

Teacher tips for changing practice

  • Accept the need to get better.
  • Change is slow. Focus on 1-2 things at a time. Make them second nature.
  • If you have to remember to do it it is not second nature. 

Tips for leaders to help teachers to improve

  • Create a culture where every teacher  expects to improve.
  • Keep the focus on the things that make a difference to students.
  • Give teachers the time to innovate and try new ideas.
  • Create a culture of risk taking amongst teachers.

2 thoughts on “Tips for improving practice and how leaders can help facilitate this

  1. After attending a workshop on the weekend about learning in the Arts, i was alerted to a strategy described simply as, create, skill, create. my classroom has been a bit crazy this year as i adjust to my new site, new subjects and responsibilities and new age groups. What i had thought was ‘sloppy planning and teaching’ may in fact be the way we should be running our classrooms.
    I reflect on my Arts learning where we watched the teacher for what seemed like an eternity then went off and diligently created. This is where, it is now being suggested, we are stifling creativity. We are creating students who copy and don’t think.
    In a recent project, I gave students minimal instructions and let them go for it. I observed the results unfolding and while they were engaged and being creative, the quality of their work was low. I now need to teach them the skills to improve this and then let them go and create again.
    I guess this also makes the learning relevant for them as it applies directly to their creations and gives them time to reflect and analyse their creations without having to pick up a pen!
    I am now pondering how i can adapt all my lessons to fit in with this strategy and hopefully, develop a cohort of creative geniuses who love taking risks!!!

    • Thanks for sharing the direction you may be taking with your teaching in Art.

      The risk taking and creativity we want to see in our students should be modelled by us as teachers. We should take risks with how we approach teaching and look to try new methods, if they work great if they don’t then we understand what not to do in the future.

      As for student’s being creative I disagree with “just letting students go” – if that is the only thing you ever do. I believe in the idea that nothing new is ever created, it is always influenced by something else even if that influence is only small. Mark Twain said, “… all ideas are second-hand, consciously and unconsciously drawn from a million outside sources”. If creativity is born out of “other ideas” then we need to produce students who have a wide range of skills and experiences and knowledge as a basis for being creative. We can’t do that if all we ever do is sit back and “let them go”. What I’m trying to say in too many words is that I really like the idea of a learning cycle that lets your students go (and create) then exposes them to skills that will assist the creative process then self reflecting then modifying their work. Create – skill – create sounds like a great learning process.

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