Dylan Wiliam’s Lecture and “Sharing Good Practice”July 30, 2012
The following talk from Dylan Wiliam is rather interesting. He is the man behind the AfL craze and tends to have a lot of interesting ideas, although I’ve been sceptical about the implementation ever since I watched “The Classroom Experiment” some time ago.
Of particular interest is the section on “sharing good practice” where he makes a good case against sharing good practice.
I think sharing good practice is actually a very dangerous idea. I think it’s completely overblown. I think if you want to learn how to write a timetable going to see how another school does it is quite useful. If you want to find out about how to organise a 3 year key stage 4 then again visiting another school and sharing good practice is a good idea. But the danger is that those things have small effects. The thing that has big effects is changing teaching and, in changing teaching, sharing good practice is a fundamental distraction because teachers are like magpies. They love picking up shiny little ideas from one classroom; taking it back to their classroom; trying it once, and then moving on to the next shiny idea. We don’t need to share good practice. Most teachers have enough good ideas to last a lifetime.
This is the exact opposite of what so much CPD in schools suggests and yet I think most experienced teachers would immediately see the truth in this. I spend a lot of time complaining that we get presented with (supposedly) new ideas that simply aren’t any good, but we should actually question whether we should even have been looking for new ideas in the first place, rather than evaluating, prioritising and perfecting our existing methods.