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Teaching Schools – Epitome of Experiential Learning

September marks the launch of  the first one-hundred Teaching Schools. The Teaching Schools initiative came out of the Department of Education’s White Paper ‘The Importance of Teaching’ 2010, and is part of the government’s vision to improve outcomes for pupils through improved teacher training and CPD.

The new Teaching Schools are all outstanding and amongst the best in the country. They have been given the lead role in teacher training and CPD in their area and will work with local schools and universities to raise standards. Modelled on the successful Teaching Hospitals model,  Teaching Schools will  train teachers “on the job”. In this respect they are the epitome of experiential learning.

At IRIS Connect we are excited by the launch of new Teaching Schools is because the initiative reflects our own beliefs, experience and research about ‘what works’ to raise standards. We share the belief  that a collaborative approach to learning through  experience, direct observation and interaction is more effective than traditional approaches. By drawing the focus of teacher training and professional development into schools, it will be more meaningful, produce better results, and move towards whole school improvement.

Read more about how IRIS Connect can support the growth & development of Teaching Schools

The DofE’s paper A Case for Change (November 2010), highlights the following as key features of teacher professional development as key in raising student attainment:

  • Feedback to teachers
  • The use of external expertise linked to school-based activities
  • Scope for teachers to identify their own CPD focus
  • An emphasis on peer support
  • Processes to encourage extend and structure professional dialogue
  • Processes for sustaining CPD over time to enable teachers to embed practice in their classrooms

The collaborative approach and the focus of peer to peer support that Teaching Schools have is exactly what IRIS Connect was born to do! IRIS enables the development of communities of best practice through the unique cloud based software, video technology and harnessing the skills of the teachers in the school.

There is also convincing evidence that collaborative professional development is more strongly associated with improvements in teaching and learning. Evidence from inspections has found that better sharing of good practice in teaching and learning within and between schools led to improvement.

DOfE (2010)

The sharing of practice brings teachers together. The building of positive relationships, where teachers rely on one another for support and guidance, enhances the sense of  community  and encourages professional collaboration. Teachers who genuinely feel supported and, encouraged are celebrated for their excellence and this provides a meaningful and positive environment in which to work. The old saying goes, “Tell me and I will forget, show me and I may remember, involve me and I will understand”. Personal involvement fosters genuine understanding and a real impetus to change. When it comes to promoting good practice within a department, there is no doubt that an interactive approach that draws upon peer-led learning works best.

Read more about how IRIS Connect can support the growth & development of Teaching Schools

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