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Apparently, you can improve if you listen to the experts .....

Discussion in 'Education news' started by Twinklefoottoe, Jan 2, 2016.

  1. Twinklefoottoe

    Twinklefoottoe Senior commenter

    "To truly transform education through technology, we need to listen to experts, solution providers and each other." BETT 2016 promo slogan.

    After 20 years teaching ICT and Computer Science, if there is one thing I have learnt, it's not to listen to experts and certainly not to so-called 'solution providers'. Looking back on my career, i can't believe how much money must have been spent by schools introducing the latest must-have gadgets for classrooms, usually because these so-called experts and solutions providers managed to get access to a Government minister, do a pitch and sell them a pup. The common theme being of course that few of these experts, solutions providers and ministers have ever spent time in a real classroom of today. Even today, bodies like CAS are stuffed full of people with little to no teaching experience, and these bodies continue to press for constant change, constant spending millions and all without the practical knowledge needed of decades of classroom experience. Christ, some of these experts with little experience are evening training teachers!!

    The best teaching I ever did was using a whiteboard, a pen and talking to students, giving them facts, followed by examples, followed by structured questions that that get them to think ever more deeply.
    lanokia, wanet and drek like this.
  2. wanet

    wanet Star commenter

    But teachers often buy into it based upon 0 evidence!
  3. drek

    drek Star commenter

    most teachers are always willing to try new initiatives because we are reflective about our teaching as part of a natural process, and like to add a 'new' tool or two to our arsenal.
    However it frustrates us when the person collecting millions from the dfe, for their 'initiative', insists that we only give them positive feedback and evidence that their tool alone is 'improving' results.
    When it clearly is one of many, or perhaps even unsuitable for certain subjects or years or groups. Why should teachers be labelled 'negative' if they tried something new, and critically evaluated it unsuitable for their own developmental needs?
    Every new tool should not be rolled out as a whole school initiative, merely to provide a particular line manager and those under and above them, with evidence for pay points for the standard involving 'making a difference to the whole school'.
    Insisting on tangible evidence for every teaching standard, is what causes unnecessary workload on every single person, whether frontline worker or manager, in public education and welfare systems. Not to mention the unnecessary paperwork hours, or the cost to the taxpayer, for 'consultant charlatans. Only to find out a few years later, it really does not work 'for all'.
    But not before having got rid of most of your experienced front line people in that event!
    That is the issue - that teachers are forced to spend hours and hours of home time planning to show 'evidence'. On threat of being pronounced 'inadequate' by SLT and middle managers, who attend a day's training course, get told what they should be 'seeing' happening in observed lessons. And suddenly become the school's in house experts, on a tool they themselves will never use in 'real lessons', or at least not without mixing it with the ones that actually work and have worked for years.
    'Experts' bring in changes for the good sometimes, but when it is just for the money, that's when the real problems start and, never seem to end either!
    guinnesspuss likes this.
  4. phlogiston

    phlogiston Star commenter

    Often the experts are still in the classroom!
    New ideas can be good - developing formative assessment was great. I loved my IWB. The nuts and bolts of teaching and learning remained surprisingly unchanged.
    fineliner likes this.
  5. lizziescat

    lizziescat Star commenter

    I thought from the title that someone was advocating listening to teachers - the experts- for a change .
    Ah well.
    fineliner likes this.
  6. Josh7

    Josh7 Occasional commenter

    The proposition in the title thread is correct, listening to experts and acting on their tips and strategies does improve your practice. As the OP hinted, the issue is with who is being touted as an expert.

    As lizziescat says, the real experts are to be found within the ranks of teachers.
    guinnesspuss likes this.
  7. Eureka!

    Eureka! Lead commenter

    Some teachers might be experts at delivering certain curriculum material in a certain context. Some might be brilliant at managing a classroom. Some might really be able to connect with young people in a certain way.

    That does not make them knowledgeable at what is needed from an education system.

    I suggest there are NO experts when it comes to that. It is a matter for public debate.
  8. bombaysapphire

    bombaysapphire Star commenter

    Anyone who decides which initiatives are worth spending money on needs to read Dan Willingham's book When Can You Trust the Experts.
  9. lizziescat

    lizziescat Star commenter

    In my book that makes them experts (who may disagree but do so from a basis of expertise and knowledge)
  10. Benbamboo

    Benbamboo Occasional commenter

    The biggest problem I see is with the first six words "To truly transform education through technology...". If that's the goal then they're on to a losing idea already - technology may play a part in enhancing and improving education, but looking to drive changes in education with technology is the wrong way to do things.

    How many iPads are collecting dust or keeping children busy because so many people believed they would transform learning? It almost goes to show that there is money to be saved in education that's being wasted on tat.
    fineliner likes this.
  11. phlogiston

    phlogiston Star commenter

    The cost of one ipad would buy a (meagre) class set of shared texts
  12. schoolsout4summer

    schoolsout4summer Star commenter

    The long game is probably to have no teachers at all, just kids sat in front of screens, watching "lessons" prepared centrally, with a couple of TAs in the room to keep order.
  13. Compassman

    Compassman Star commenter

    At my last school they introduced some called TEEP (http://www.teep.org.uk/about_us.asp).

    Now there were some good ideas in the programme BUT like most things it wasn't the 'all size fits all' that SLT thought it was.

    If you didn't use the initiative in observed lessons you were marked down. Also it has to be remembered that what works for one teacher does not work for another; something that is really hard for some senior managers to grasp.
  14. lanokia

    lanokia Star commenter

    This is so true... these 'experts' that come in really should recognise the vast wealth of experience in the UK classrooms and be humbled.

    I've always found it odd when CPD training days are done that all teachers are given the same 'training'. Have they not heard of differentiation? That some teachers will have different needs to others.
    fineliner likes this.
  15. lizziescat

    lizziescat Star commenter

    My experience of some SLT is that they fully recognised this (but only allow it to apply to themselves)

    Real life overheard quotes from SLT

    "Well I don't do.... {a particular behavioural policy procedure}... I just don't' always have time."
    "With experience I find it isn't necessary to do..... {aspect of planning policy} "
    (from SLT member with 20 years less experience than many classroom teachers)

    and the departmental inspection of books showed:
    no www/ebi,
    1 brief comment (good or sometimes very good) for a whole term in the class exercise books of the SLT member i/c assessment policy.
  16. applecrumblebumble

    applecrumblebumble Lead commenter

    The number of times I have seen so called 'experts' convince, usually a member of SLT, that this software or technology will save the school time/money/produce data that OFSTED need or provide a learning experience that pupils cannot do without.
    The problem is sustainability - the SLT member leaves (promoted) and people stop using the software. The staff want to upgrade - there is no money in the budget
    It does not save money or time because the teachers have to do more work which usually means they have to take time away from something else (planning etc,)
    The experts are there to sell you something because it is commission for them.
  17. circuskevin

    circuskevin Established commenter

    It is 'clowns' who teachers should listen to!

    Class by class in special schools I often explain how teachers could improve things for their pupils. My concerns are with mobility and coordination skills.

    A lot of new equipment has come out in recent years. PE cupboards of even the outstanding special schools are usually bare. The buildings themselves are sometimes new.

    Sometimes I find the schools have items they do not know how to use correctly. I have been putting a few notes in the SEN section.


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