Colleagues approached this from various angles. From the more to the less formal, they were;
1- Formal training, sometimes based on seniority but more often based on all staff contributing. Sometimes this would be faculty based and sometimes it would be cross-curricular. Some mention of cross curriculum groups that encourage innovation and reflection with names such as “Teaching and Learning groups”
Some consensus that school based CPD days do not met dissemination needs well. The paid expert from outside the school, apart from named exceptions, was not mentioned much
2- Mentoring and coaching were seen as effective but time consuming and it’s success based on the nature of the relationship between the participants.
3- Collaboration on projects and planning. This was welcomed by many but seen as not conducive to real dissemination by some.
4- Informal sessions; “Bring and Brag” being one example which bridged the gap between the formal and informal. This was highly regarded and much discussed.
5- The grassroots movements – Teachmeet and Digital leaders were often seen as creative, non hierarchical and not linked to specific curriculum and government demands
On the subject of what innovation and dissemination needs to flourish, it was mostly agreed that you need time to reflect and freedom to take risks (and therefore occasionally fail) and on that level you need a SLT that supports such an ethos. However, it was also thought that an enthusiastic staff could create an ethos. There was little debate about the lack of resources and time, which suggests that colleagues are making dissemination happen rather than waiting for somebody to resource it.
It was mostly agreed that the role of SLT is to lead by example ( be seen to disseminate themselves) and create/ support the collaborative ethos.
Although it was acknowledged that a positive ethos was possible, it was seen as impossible to reach all staff like this.
Sometimes the discussion focused on tips/hints/ ideas (especially on a school subject level). On other levels (e.g. transition) it was more based on exploring principles
Some colleagues took the view that this form of dissemination is best done on a pragmatic subject base but the majority view was that it should be “all school” or across schools and not designed to deliver somebody else’s agenda.
NOTABLE TWEETS FROM THE SESSION:
Most positive feedback from INSET I’ve run is always about learning walks/obs or chance to chat to other teachers. #ukedchat
I am a member of a TLC and this has been a dynamic way to discuss techniques/ideas, then adopt the ones that suit you. #ukedchat
I’ve often thought that if all teachers just share their 1 best lesson (minimum) per year the world would be a better place.
TWEET OF THE WEEK:
#ukedchat TeachMeets have raised the bar with sharing ideas and getting teachers talking/developing/passing on ideas
ABOUT YOUR HOST:
James Hobson (@jamesdhobsonuk) is Head of History in a comprehensive school in Sussex.