During an online conversation, we were alerted to the lack of acknowledgement by teaching students of favoured educationalist theories which are evident in schools across the country. The issue was raised in this tweet from Steve Fox, “Amazed my final placement student has had zero exposure to John Hattie, Sutton Trust or Carol Dweck in 3 years at uni!?”, with Simon Feasey echoing the concern and calling for “…open + inquiring minds in our universities… catch up!!”
With the pressures, demands and box ticking exercises that universities have to go through to train teachers, perhaps it is little surprise that teaching students, and newly qualified teachers have not come across Hattie et.al. due to the directives from respective governments.
However, what about schools? If you asked your leaders and colleagues what they thought of the theories of Hattie and Dweck, and the research bank of The Sutton Trust, would their faces quickly drain with looks of confusion?
Does the inquisitive, enquiry stage of learning about teaching really stop once we are holding our teaching qualifications?
Do the inspection regimes help focus schools too narrowly on their judgement criteria, that there is little space to develop a deep understanding in educational theories – forcing schools to teach to the political whims of educational policy, ignoring theories that might make an actual change to the learning impact of pupils?
We polled teachers on a fantastic question developed by Simon.
If the inspectors graded your school on ‘performance management’ grounded in collaborative inquiry around identified student + learning community needs, how would your school score?
The poll remained open for 30 hours over the weekend of 16th January 2016, with the results shown below:
Clearly, we have no record of who voted in this Twitter poll, and the results can be taken with a pinch of salt, but the purpose was to get individuals and schools to think about how they engage in contemporary educational theories in their practice, and whether the school explore such theories, or blindingly follow governmental rhetoric and inspection gradings.
It was encouraging that 55% of respondents placed their setting in the top two categories, but 45% in the bottom two categories also speaks volumes. If this is the response from teachers and leaders on social media, what is the situation like for schools where none of the staff engage in such professional development opportunities that Twitter can offer?