Articles from Deborah McVey

Learning walks: What have they become?

Learning walks are full of potential to support awareness of the quality of learners’ experiences, provide opportunities for reflection, and get teams excitedly making the improvements they seek. Yes, full of potential, but are they really achieving this? This might be the intention, but I have to ask, what have learning walks become?

Improving teaching and learning: Are we asking the wrong question?

How do we improve teaching and learning? It's a big question isn't it? Some times though, it’s a question that perhaps we shouldn’t ask. This might sound a little odd. Of course we all want improved learning experiences for our learners, but sometimes, it’s the way we tackle it and the questions that we ask that need reconsidering.

Are we kryptonite to our super hero teachers?

Teaching is a mystery. I don’t mean the many questions about what makes great learning though. The real mystery, the beautiful truth that can never really be measured is the impact that a single teacher has on their learners. We can’t possibly know the full extent of this, but it’s safe to say that a good teacher, who builds up their learners and gives them their best, has a huge positive influence. This can be directly upon their learners, but there’s also the ripple effect upon others. So, one teacher can have an immeasurable positive impact upon a community. And many good teachers? Well, they really do rock our world.

What could brave and honest educators do for our learners’ mental wellbeing?

If you’ve been working in education for a while, you’ve almost certainly come across some mental health challenges. No, I don’t mean your own! Although the pressure educators face is closely linked to what I want to talk about, I’d really like to focus here on the mental well-being of our learners.

Lesson observation records: A plea to box makers and their tickers

When it comes to observation records, I have issues with checklists, matrices, tables, scorecards, boxes to tick and all things criteria. I know this will be controversial and I suspect some might read this and automatically rationalize their own use of these things. Please bear with me and see this through.

What does your peer review do for you?

Inspection frequency, duration and intensity may change, but whatever happens, you'll want to keep a handle on how good a deal your learners are getting. You might have some intense scrutiny in the form of internal or external review. If so, you'll want it to be thorough, accurate, and usable. I'm stating the obvious here, I know.

Is induction doing its job?

I can't say this loud enough this year: DO INDUCTION PROPERLY. No, don't go away. I'm not just talking to teachers. I'm talking to managers and all those involved in observing and improving teaching, learning and assessment.

You call it staff development, but do your staff develop?

Staff development encompasses a variety of activities, but often right now it’s training event planning time. Only maybe it’s not, because it’s time to cope with all the current sector challenges. With all the issues, it’s easy to see how training to improve teaching, learning and assessment might be put to one side for now.  

Learn Smarter with technology in the classroom

As more colleges look at adopting a 'bring your own device' policy, what do teachers and college management need to do to make them a success? How can learning styles and lesson plans be adapted to incorporate this new technology and what potential pitfalls (or benefits) should teachers be aware of?

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