A critical comment on how the aspect of practice identified as the focus of your professional learning is promoted through policy and enacted in practices in your setting.
The micro-practice that I have been focusing on is how teachers ensure pupils attend to the intended learning. This sits within the broader practice of ensuring effective learning which, in turn, sits within effective pedagogical practices.
In relation to policy, at national level there are two key documents that drive our educational agenda at the moment: How Good Is Our School? Version 4 (2015) and The National Improvement Framework (2016). Both of these make reference to effective teaching practices in some respect.
How Good Is Our School? requires all practitioners in a school to be ‘extending and deepening their knowledge’ (Quality Indicator 1.2) and expects to see ‘creative teaching approaches’ and ‘high levels of engagement’ in classrooms (Quality Indicator 2.3). However, there is very little mention, if any, of the importance of considering effective learning and the requisite knowledge of teachers.
The National Improvement Framework sets out the Scottish Governments agenda for educational reform and asserts, amongst other things, that they (Scottish Government) will help increase teacher professionalism through, for example, a renewed Initial Teacher Training programme. However, there is no mention of what this new programme will include and, as Husbands & Pearce (2012) and Dunlosky et al (2013) assert, there are key practices that teacher should be taught about.
Based on my readings, the practices associated with effective learning are rarely, if ever, covered at policy level but are, potentially, more important and will have greater impact that any other issue.
Dunlosky, J., Rawson, K., Marsh, E., Nathan, M. and Willingham, D. (2013), Improving Students’ Learning With Effective Learning Techniques: Promising Directions From Cognitive and Educational Psychology, Psychological Science in the Public Interest, 14(1) 4–58. DOI: 10.1177/1529100612453266.
Education Scotland, (2015), How Good Is Our School?, Education Scotland
Husbands, C., and Pearce, J. (2012), What makes great pedagogy? Nine claims from research, National College for School Leadership.
Scottish Government, (2016), The National Improvement Framework, Scottish Government