Many colleges are now running Supported Experiments action research cycles in order to promote innovation and dissemination of good practice amongst teachers. And the model itself is a great way to encourage the sharing of ideas between groups of teachers who may not usually meet.
However, in my work supporting over twenty colleges with their cycles, I have noticed that sometimes there is not enough focus in the planning stage on how good practice will be shared at the end of the cycle itself. One of the great benefits of this model is that it can lead to a bank of reflections and resources that teachers can use for years to come but this is only possible if planning and implementation makes it happen.
So how can good practice from experiment cycles get shared more effectively? Here are a few ideas to consider:
- An online area, to include the teaching and learning resources developed or used in the experiments. It is best if this is organised by topic and has a search function for ease of use.
- A paper based pack of teaching and learning resources, to include teachers’ tips on how best to use them, any potential pitfalls etc. This can be used as part of the induction process for new staff as well as for CPD activities.
- A bank of video clips of teachers talking about their experiments and short clips of classroom activities showing the experiments in action. These work well when they are a maximum of ten minutes long and teachers are often happy to do this if they can be interviewed instead of being a “talking head”.
- Experimenters visiting other teams in a meeting slot to talk about what they learnt and answer questions from colleagues.
- Bite sized training sessions in CPD slots or lunch times to share good practice from experiments.
- Peer observations carried out informally, focusing on an area that is of interest to both parties.
- Short micro teaching demos of useful classroom activities from the experiments, in a workshop style.
- A speed dating event where teachers mix and mingle, sharing the highlights and pitfalls of their experiments.
- Large posters showing key points from the experiments. These can be laminated and put up in classrooms or staffrooms.
- A paper based or email newsletter or bulletin sharing what people learn during the experiments.
- Blog or discussion board on the intranet for sharing ideas and comments as the experiments are in progress.
Sharing ideas in this way helps teachers to bring something fresh to their delivery and this can be beneficial both in terms of motivation for the teacher and the learning experience for the students.
I notice that at national events for practitioners, there is often a great deal of useful informal sharing of ideas and tips. So I’m very pleased to be presenting with Geoff Petty at an event in the autumn related to improving learning as this will be a great opportunity to share ideas with others from the sector. Click here for more information.
I’m very interested to hear from other practitioners about good ways of sharing ideas across schools and colleges so please either leave a comment or contact me directly on:
DL: 020 7492 5391
M: 07920 291 383
Written by Joanne Miles, Managing Consultant, LSN
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