Getting Better All the Time

” [I]f the substantial rewards of which the evidence holds out promise are to be secured, this will only come about if each teacher finds his or her own ways of incorporating the lessons and ideas that are set out above into his or her own patterns of classroom work.” (Inside the Black Box Paul Black & Dylan William, 1998, accessed here .

Black & William here were talking about the positive impact that effective formative assessment (assessment for learning) and how this can be disseminated. I did a lot of research & reading last year around the transfer of good practice, how to do it well, what works in terms of managed formal CPD (i.e. that put on by institutions), and this quote* really summarised for me the clear fact that teacher development, like any learning, is a slow incremental process, not one which always comes in leaps and bounds of improved quality in teaching and learning. Giant leaps can and do occur, but more commonly we are looking at small steps. Indeed, I suspect that either the apparent giant leaps are in fact the result of a number of small steps occurring simultaneously, or that the giant leap is a false one, simply doing what is required and doing it well, but not improving things overall.

Just a thought really.


*I also like the quote: “There is a body of firm evidence that formative assessment is an essential feature of classroom  work and that development of it can raise standards.” I like the words “firm evidence” most of all.


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