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Welcome Leading Reflective Practice in Schools. 10 th June 2009 Clandeboye Lodge Hotel. Introduction and Welcome Dr Aidan Hamill. ‘Reflective Practice as a Pathway to Professional Understanding’ Mr Eddie McArdle Registrar GTCNI. Teaching a Passionate & Subversive Profession?.

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welcome leading reflective practice in schools

WelcomeLeading Reflective Practice in Schools

10th June 2009

Clandeboye Lodge Hotel

‘Reflective Practice as a Pathway to Professional Understanding’

Mr Eddie McArdle Registrar GTCNI

structure well sort of
Structure ? “well sort of”




Meandering & Random Thoughts

martha nussbaum love s knowledge new york o u p 1998
Martha Nussbaum, Love’s Knowledge. New York:O.U.P. 1998

“ In its determination to see only what can enter into utilitarian calculations, the economic mind is blind: blind to the ……

separateness of its people, to their inner depths, their hopes and loves and fears, blind to what it is like to live a human life and try to endow it with meaning”

cautionary note 1

Cautionary Note 1.

“ In our rush to reform education, we have forgotten a simple truth: reform will never be achieved by renewing appropriations, restricting schools, rewriting curricula and revising texts if we continue to … dishearten the human resource called the teacher on whom so much depends…”

Palmer P. J “The Courage to Teach”

cautionary note 2
Cautionary Note 2.

“A dominant force may legitimate itself by promoting beliefs and values congenial to it; naturalising and universalising such beliefs to render them self evident and apparently inevitable, denigrating ideas which might challenge it, excluding rival forms of thought.”

(Eagleton 1991)

“Men at some times are masters of their fates. The fault dear Brutus, is not in our stars, but in ourselves, that we are underlings.”
initial thoughts 2
Initial Thoughts 2


Déjà vu all over again


Emotional and

Spiritual Space

A Model of Learning

Content- Knowledge, principles,

skills and abilities

Dispositions to Learning –

Learning to Love Learning

preparing to teach in secondary schools edited brooks v abbot i bills l oup 2004
Preparing to Teach in Secondary SchoolsEdited: Brooks V. Abbot I.& Bills L. OUP 2004

Multidimensionality: Many people / personalities

Simultaneity: question-listen-motivate-assess

Immediacy: momentum- pace-no downtime for reflection

Unpredictability: unexpected events- serendipity

Publicness: fishbowl syndrome

History: classes socialise into ‘norms’.

teaching a complex interaction
Teaching:A Complex Interaction

“… a public recognition that effective learning involves, essentially an ‘interactive chemistry’ between learner and teacher, which depends on process as much as content and is an expression of personal values and perceptions as much as competences and knowledge.”

Day, C. “Teachers in the twenty-first century: time to renew the vision.”

Teachers and Training: Theory and Practice,

6, 1, pp 101-115. 2000.

“ We Teach Who We Are”

Parker J Palmer

The Courage to Teach

Jossey-Bass 1998

An Activist Profession

“Should this be- a subversive profession?”

Our Collective Responsibility

To be….“active agents in the production of a new

pedagogic discourse, rather than merely the

consumers of the professional knowledge produced by academics and educational researchers.”

(Edwards & Brunton)

Staff Development


RTU Courses

{an obvious and self evident truth}

For too many teachers….staff development is a demeaning mind-numbing experience as they passively ‘sit and get’. That staff development is often (prescriptive) in nature….and evaluated by ‘happiness scales’.

Sparks 2004

“Tragically, however, many come with a convincing feeling that what is inside them is not valid because it is ‘only personal’ to them. Somewhere along the line, many have learnt to seek the ‘expert’ outside but deny that there may be a potential ‘expert within’.”

Dadds 1997

moral visionary profession
Moral Visionary Profession

“…making teaching into a moral, visionary profession once more where teachers know and care about their world as well as and as part of their work.

It means teachers recapturing their status and dignity as some of society’s leading intellectuals, and not being the mere technicians, instruments and deliverers of other people’s agendas………..

Those who focus only on teaching techniques and curriculum standards and who do not also engage teachers in the greater social and moral questions of their time, promote a diminished view of teaching and teacher professionalism that has no place in a sophisticated knowledge society.”

Hargreaves A. Teaching in the Knowledge Society2003

reflective activist professional 1
Reflective & Activist Professional 1.

concerned with the purposes and consequences of education, as well as what might be called technical proficiency;

prepared to experiment with the unfamiliar and learn from their experiences;

have an approach characterised by open-mindedness and wholeheartedness;

reflective activist professional 2
Reflective & Activist Professional 2.

committed to professional dialogue in school and beyond;

have working patterns characterised by a process of action, evaluation and revision; and

assume, as life-long learners, responsibility for their ongoing professional development

professional knowledge rhona sharpe
Professional Knowledge Rhona Sharpe

“ Professional knowledge is no longer viewed as just consisting of a standardised, explicit and fixed knowledge base. It is now seen as knowledge which exists in use, is ethical in its use and is changed by experience. The distinctive nature of professional knowledge lies in the interplay between its construction and use. When teachers use their knowledge, use changes what that knowledge is.”



Exemplifications of Competences


The Council takes the view that the notion of competences goes well beyond the simple acquisition of skills and that, although curricular knowledge and pedagogical skills are important, teaching is both an intellectual and practical activity with important emotional and creative dimensions. Essentially, teachers, while reflecting on and evaluating their professional context, use acquired professional judgement to select the most appropriate options from a repertoire of teaching strategies, and in the process of teaching refine and add to their professional knowledge.

Hayes,D. Opportunities and Obstacles in the Competencey-Based Training of Primary Teachers in England. Harvard Educational Review Vol 69 Number 1 1999

If competence (standard) statements are used as a basis for informed discussion and reflection upon classroom practice between tutors, students, and classroom teachers, they will fulfil an important function. If they are used mechanically within an inflexible assessment regime framework, it is likely that the preparation of teachers…. will become miserably rigid, unsympathetic towards the realities and rigors of classroom life, and at worst, an impediment to creative and innovative teaching.

dimensions of development 1
Dimensions of Development 1

greater complexity in teaching e.g. in handling mixed-ability classes, reluctant learners, classes marked by significant diversity, or inter-disciplinary work;

the deployment of a wider range of teaching strategies;

the ability to adduce evidence of one’s effectiveness;

basing teaching on a wider range of evidence, reading and research;

dimensions of development 2
Dimensions of Development 2

extending impact beyond the classroom- fuller participation in the life of the school;

the capacity to exercise autonomy, to innovate, to improvise; and

a pronounced capacity for self-criticism and self-improvement; the ability to impact on colleagues through mentoring and coaching, modelling good practice, contributing to the literature on teaching and learning and the public discussion of professional issues, leading staff development, all based on the capacity to theorise about policy and practice

Final Ruminations

Is there such a word?

professionals exhibit but also inspire confidence
Professionals exhibit but also inspire confidence!

We trust in their:





All Underpinned by Competence Document

“ Teachers with high self-esteem know how to value both themselves and others……...

This basic sense of self-worth is internalised, deeply imbedded, so it is not easily susceptible to any gross distortion by life events, however calamitous…”

Day et al 1998

Equally such teachers are better placed to resist the pressures of the ‘old guard’, the blandishments of political ‘short-termists’ and the stresses of the paradox that is teaching.

competences as a bulwark
Competences as a BULWARK


Define the Mission

Reinforce the Vision

Bolster self confidence

Build Communities of Practice

Initiate & sustain the ‘conversation’


price of failure
Price of Failure

“ …do their job, nothing more nothing less, aided in this by codified rules, timetables and lesson plans. The restrictiveness of their (assigned) texts and regulations serves them to adhere to their minimalist assiduity….the sacred fire which once lit their work gradually dies to a smoulder.”

Hamon & Rotman



the hargreaves agenda
The “Hargreaves Agenda


Don’t be “Too busy rescuing drowning people to look to see what’s causing them to fall in.”


Remember “ A society of sheep breeds a government of wolves”

“Men at some times are masters of their fates. The fault dear Brutus, is not in our stars, but in ourselves, that we are underlings.”

All we need to do is be quiescent and we too can be underlings.



reflective practice implications for leadership

Reflective Practice: Implications for Leadership

Professionalism = Competence + Virtue

A Commitment to practice in an exemplary way

A Commitment to practice towards social ends

A Commitment not only to one’s own practice but to practice itself

A Commitment to the ethic of caring


emerging consensus on school improvement
Emerging Consensus on School Improvement
  • Twin Pillars for Transformation

“Quality of a schooling system cannot exceed Quality of its Teachers”


school leadership matters oecd
School Leadership Matters (OECD)
  • Empirically validated
  • Indirect impact
  • Greatest where learning needs are greatest
the challenge
The Challenge
  • Redesigning/repurposing Leadership

- Instruction centred

- Learner centred

the case for
The Case For

School Effectiveness Research

The Fatal Flaw

They assume that the major determinants of the quality of pupils curriculum and pedagogical experiences are systems, rather than teachers’


“The quality of education depends on the quality of teachers’ deliberations and judgement in classrooms”


“To be effective, school improvement efforts must be directed towards what happens inside classrooms”


easier said than done
Easier said than done

“Substantial changes in pedagogy and in the way teachers work together on instructional matters is stubbornly elusive” (Fullan)

“The hardest core to crack – is the learning core – changes in instructional practices and in the culture of teaching towards greater collaborative partnerships” (Fullan)

“The priority for school improvement at the level of management is how to encourage a process of deliberative reflection on the part of teachers atthe classroom level” (Elliott)

strategies for learning centred leadership
Strategies for learning-centred leadership




Southworth (2004)

personalising learning
Personalising Learning
  • Learning how to learn
  • Assessment for learning
  • Teaching and Learning Strategies
  • Curriculum Choice
  • Mentoring, Coaching and Support
Move Learning to top of the agenda

- Governors’ Meetings


- Staff Meetings

- Middle Leaders Forums

  • Reframing INSET
  • Focus and Use of PRSD
Effective Use of DATA

- Achievement Gap(s)

- Internal Variability

“Quantum improvements in student learning can be achieved if the performance of students in all classes is brought up to the level of students in those classes in which students make the greatest progress” (Hill)

“When school leaders seriously address within school variation it can make a significant difference” (Munby)

“Systematic data collation, analysis and USE … can lead to the improvement of education as has no other educational innovation of the last century”


Build a Culture of Collaboration rooted in reflective practice amongst teachers

“The Capacity of the staff working collectively to learn, defines the limit to which the school can support ambitious reform. Therefore school leaders must adopt collective learning as a central role”


handling education and change
Handling education and change:
  • Coping

Limited to managing the school and responding only to directions from higher sources

  • Diffusion

‘Christmas Tree Schools’

  • Goal Focused

Selecting a few key goals, establishing priorities and ignoring other pressures

reflective practice the leadership challenge
Reflective Practice: The Leadership Challenge

“…discover and provide the conditions under which peoples learning curves go off the chart”

Barth (2001)

what does it look like
What does it look like?

A group of people who take an active, reflective, collaborative learning oriented and growth promoting approach towards the mysteries, problems and perplexities of teaching and learning.

It will not happen by accident!

organizational learning frame
Organizational Learning Frame
  • Are there regular opportunities to examine and reflect on classroom practice and student learning together?
  • Do we engage in dialogue about program and practice across departments and grades?
  • Is there a common understanding about what counts as progress across grades and subjects?
  • From the students perspective, is there some consistency in expectations about their learning experience across grades and departments?
  • Do we evaluate?
Do we gather and share data about the student’s learning experience?
  • Are there opportunities to read about, examine and share “best practices”?
  • Are there opportunities to network with others about classroom practice and procedures?
  • Do we try to learn from our students about how we are doing as a school? How can we learn this better? What methods and processes could we use?
  • Is our relationship with parents a learning relationship (where we learn from them, as well as them from us). How do we do this? How can we do it better?

Hargreaves, Shaw and Fink (1997)

‘Research Lesson Studies as an approach to Reflective Practice’

Dr Debbie Galanouli QUB and

Dr Aidan Hamill

Workshop 1 1200 – 1245

Workshop 2 1345 – 1430

The Education and Training Inspectorate -

Promoting Improvement

GTCNI and RTU: Principals’ Conference

Leading Reflective Practice in Schools

Inspection, Self-Evaluation and Improvement

Stanley J Goudie

Chief Inspector, ETI

Providing Inspection Services for

Department of Education

Department for Employment and Learning

Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure

During this short presentation I plan to cover:
  • The Inspectorate’s Journey: A Leadership Perspective
  • The Inspectorate’s Contribution: TTI; the Reflective Teacher; Teaching: the Reflective Profession
  • Inspection, Self-Evaluation and Improvement: What are the benefits?
  • Self-Evaluation/Self-Delusion/Self-Improvement: Where will the Gorilla Sleep?
The Inspectorate’s Journey: A Leadership Perspective:
  • The need for courage, honesty, integrity and time.
  • The use of EFQM – process not product.
  • The Inspectorate 3 year Development Plan.
The Inspectorate’s Contribution
  • Together Towards Improvement (ETI)
  • The Reflective Teacher (ETI)
  • Teaching: the Reflective Profession (GTCNI)
  • Self-evaluation integral to inspection
Inspection, Self-Evaluation and Improvement: What are the benefits?
  • The main strengths of incorporating an aspect of self-evaluation within inspection are that this approach:
  • Helps promote a culture of self-evaluation which remains after the inspection.
  • Provides a clear focus on improving pupils’ attainments.
  • Increases the confidence and ability of staff to evaluate their own practice.
  • Boosts morale by celebrating good practice, and using this as a basis for building future improvement.
Self-Evaluation/Self-Delusion/Self-Improvement: Where will the Gorilla Sleep?
  • The Birthday Gift
  • As a Leader – if you get the chance to sit it out or dance? Please dance!
The Education and Training Inspectorate -

Promoting Improvement

GTCNI and RTU: Principals’ Conference

Leading Reflective Practice in Schools

Inspection, Self-Evaluation and Improvement

Stanley J Goudie

Chief Inspector, ETI

Providing Inspection Services for

Department of Education

Department for Employment and Learning

Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure

Thank you and Safe Journey Home

On behalf of GTCNI and RTU