Learning and Teaching: Strategic thinking

We had two meetings on Wednesday which hopefully characterise the way we are trying to work in East Lothian.

The first was a meeting of our 3-18 Strategic Learning and Teaching Group. The focus for the meeting was how we ensure consistent implementation of our Learning and Teaching policy. One of the options was to issue a dictat that all teachers must implement every part of the policy “now!” – “if it’s policy then people should be doing it” What we reflected upon was that if we are serious about consistent implementation then it must happen as part of a development process and that it would be undermined by any attempt to “quick fix” It was interesting to hear that some HMIe inspections are picking up practice in schools – such as sharing learning intentions – but that when teachers are asked why they are doing it they have little understanding.

It was really helpful to have two teachers in our group who are members of the Learning Team intitiative – they both stated that it has taken them some considerable time to develop their practice to accommodate the thinking which underpins formative assessment. In their opinion we need to give all colleagues similar time and support if their teaching is to develop. Our decision was to see this year as a familiarisation of the policy and that we will focus on some key parts of the policy in the new session 07/08. There is some great work going on in our schools in relation to developing learning and teaching and we all felt it was important to recognise these efforts.

What is not negotiable is any practice which does not reflect our core principles – unconditional positive regard; learners must be engaged for learning to take place; and the development of learning is collaborative process.

The second meeting was the last of our secondary PT seminars. We have agreed to set up a PT conference for primary and secondary teachers in March to develop our PTs as Leaders of Learning Strategy. Another suggestion which went down very well with all PTs was the concept of learning partners where a primary and a secondary teacher are linked together as collaborative learning parteners with a focus on the learning and teaching process. What is happening more and more is that some of our main strategic decisions are being made collaboratively.