26 Ideas for Sharing Classroom Best Practice

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In 2010, Ross Morrison McGill founded @TeacherToolkit from a simple Twitter account through which he rapidly became the 'most followed teacher on social media in the UK'. In 2015, he was nominated as one of the '500 Most Influential People in Britain' by The Sunday...
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What advice would you share with colleagues to help bring best practice into every classroom?

I would not be the teacher I am today, without having had to evolve my own practice over the past 20 years to meet the needs of my students. This has meant that I have had to reciprocate best practice from within my own classroom, to those outside it, as well as be receptive to ideas from outside.

The advice I share below is extracted for a chapter submission I wrote for Don’t Change The Light Bulbs: A Compendium of Expertise from the UK’s Most Switched-On Educators.‘ This book offers tips and hints on how to be the best teacher you can be, and is written by some of the most respected leaders in education today. Below I offer a short summary on what my chapter contains (pages 17-19); including a follow-up inclusion the 10 suggestions I originally submitted.

In the book, without going into the full detail of what is written, I express the ten following ideas for sharing best practice.


1. Observe colleagues.

2. Get on Twitter!

3. Attend TeachMeets.

4. Teach your students to become smarter assessors (#SmartAss).

5. Stickability and lesson planning.

6. Use Google documents and Google classroom to collaborate.

7. Be open and reflective.

8. Speak in front of your peers; develop your own public speaking skills.

9. Lazy Teaching by Jim Smith: “you teach less and your students learn more.” How? Well, read this book for full details.

10. Finally, start your own professional blog for reflection, feedback and sharing content. It has transformed my practice as a classroom teacher and school leader.

My advice in full is written and published in Don’t change the light bulbs: A compendium of expertise from the UK s most switched-on educators. Written by Rachel Jones.

26 Ideas for Sharing Best Practice:

After a conversation with Rachel Jones about her book and this blog, Jones challenged me [as a follow-up] to write a ‘Teacher ABC: One key thing teacher should know, starting with each letter of the alphabet.’ These ideas serve to remind and provoke thought for sharing and receiving best practice. my 26 suggestions are for personal reflection for yourself or when working with colleagues.

A = Answer emails from colleagues in other schools; online and elsewhere. Share ideas through online forums.
B = Be brave! Do not think your own ideas are not worthy just because they are unnoticed. Share them with colleagues online.
C = Chat about ideas shared with colleagues in the staffroom; from attending conferences to reading books.
D = Divide responsibilities when creating new resources. This means colleagues will come together and discover.
E = Embrace marking. Try marking together with colleagues in your department for accurate moderation. Try these ideas.
F = Fix behaviour. Read how to reflect on student behaviour and tweak small marginal gains with this document.
G = Does your school grade individual lessons? Read To Grade or Not to Grade.
H = Hot advice CPD and best practice advice here. 30 words in thirty seconds!
I = Use ICT to develop your classroom practice and share with others? Read my Top 10 ICT resources.
J = Feeling jaded? Read Developing Resilience and Well Being.
K = Kick-start your week back at school with this seasoned advice.
L = Who inspires you? Read The 7 Things Top Leaders Do by @MaryMyatt.
M = How good is your memory? How can you use events to develop classroom practice? Read Flashbulb Memory.
N = What are your professional needs? Try sharing your own views online in order to seek feedback? It worked for me!
O = Want to get a flavour of observations happening across the school? Try Typicality and Support.
P = Try Periscope for sharing ideas ‘live’ with other teachers online. However, be warned.
Q = 10 Questions to Ask Every Teacher are a set of challenging and worthy reflections for every teacher.
R = Ask a colleague to use The 5 Minute Lesson Review when observing you teach a lesson?
S = Why not go Speed Dating in CPD sessions; organise them in school?
T = Think you’re a tough teacher? Try my 20 Ideas for Resilient Teachers.
U = Rely too heavily on utensils in your classroom? Read My Life Without A Red Pen.
V = Vital for learning in my opinion; Seating Plans for Every Lesson.
W = Reach far and wide! Try my Coding Tips for sharing your ideas beyond your classroom.
X = eXperiment! As a blogger and as a teacher, I experiment in and out of class. Read what I’ve been doing online.
Y = You never forget a great teacher; even when [being a teacher] working with teachers. The Visual Anatomy.
Z = Zip up your cognitive teaching-thoughts with this tool for lesson planning; save time!

Okay, letters X, Y and Z were a challenge! What would you suggest? Leave your Best Practice Tips in the comments below.

3 thoughts on “26 Ideas for Sharing Classroom Best Practice

  1. Lots of good advice here, Ross – thanks for sharing it.

    I’m doing some work with trainee teachers later this month and, as part of my preparation for that, I’ve been reading/rereading a lot of great stuff this summer, including Doug Lemov’s ‘Teach Like a Champion 2.0’, Debbie and Mel (@teachertweaks) ‘Lesson Planning Tweaks for Teachers’ and Shaun and Andy’s ‘Making Every Lesson Count’. I’d certainly recommend these books to anyone starting out in their career or wanting to continue to improve their practice.

  2. Hello Ross. I enjoyed this post, and I intend to spend some time following several of the interesting links you’ve provided. I’d like to make one comment regarding your suggestion to “Get on Twitter!” This should be common sense, but please make sure that your school related Twitter account is dedicated ONLY to professional tweets and interactions. If you want to share personal tweets with friends, do it under a different account (maybe with a pseudonym). Also, be careful who you are “friending” on other social platforms. Please understand that this isn’t to imply that anyone is doing anything wrong, but like it or not, teachers are held to a higher standard than some other professions. What you think is innocent may ruffle someone’s feathers. Think before you post or tweet

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