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.
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.
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.