15 Teaching and Learning Policy Ideas

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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 are the hallmarks of effective teaching and learning policies?

Most schools reboot their teaching and learning culture at the best of times. Post-pandemic, this may or may not (yet) be a priority in your school, but it will be soon enough as the profession and its students slowly resume some normality in the coming years.

For the past four years, much of my work now involves helping school leaders design a research-informed teaching and learning policy (or methodology) that is mindful of teacher workload, promotes high standards and supports whole-school approaches rather than individual teachers.

During COVID-19 as schools and colleges adjusted to online teaching, there have been one or two schools that have asked me to help with their teaching and learning strategy for remote delivery.

With context considered, few schools have had the time or need to consider adjusting any teaching policies to suit an online world where 24/7 notifications may leave thousands of pupils without feedback, parents frustrated and/or teachers working night and day to keep up…

The strongest teaching and learning policies are…

Rather than share my methodology again for cultivating good teachers and appraisal I turned to my Twitter followers and posed this question: “Finish this sentence – The strongest teaching and learning policies are…” This is what they said in no particular order.

  1. Developed with staff, including all staff [driven from the bottom up!]
  2. Multidimensional, thereby enabling all teachers and all pupils to reach their potential.
  3. Those that are designed and proven by educators.
  4. Short, research-[informed] pedagogy.
  5. Clear, simple and understood [by all].
  6. Ones that can be adapted by subject specialists in a way that best suits their subject, yet still allows for whole school consistency.
  7. Based on research, clear and backed up by CPD and coaching
  8. Flexible enough to be respectful of different disciplines
  9. Given time to work, given space on the timetable and given money for training and research.
  10. Designed by people who still teach a… timetable and take all the nuances of different subjects into account
  11. Strategies that allow for genuine application in the classroom, not just a list of buzz words; a living document [that] presents the ‘best bets’ to deliver the curriculum.
  12. Those who acknowledge all stakeholders ([students], employers, the wider community), recognise that learning takes place in settings other than the classroom, and, crucially, enable effective application.
  13. Those that genuinely benefit the students and are long-lasting, not just the latest craze.
  14. Written by those who have to deliver them, helped by colleagues whose job it is to know about relevant research.
  15. Those that acknowledge the child as a whole person and not just data on a spreadsheet.

There are many more ideas in the thread. You can read my 30-day teaching and learning plan to get started.

It’s important to develop policy as a guidance document through teacher training sessions where everybody has a say. The final policy should be a coherent hymn sheet that offers clarity on a single page and supported in regular in-house CPD sessions led by the teaching staff…

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