Take it and tweak it.

Whenever I finish a day of training with a school, I point them to the Real Schools Member Resources that they all have access to.  I’ve established a healthy bias for implementation in my work and these serve as a genuine resource for so many educators as they look to embed the principles we’ve learned and agreed on.

I often quip a little one-liner that has become perhaps more a mantra for me in recent times. I say “So get in there and download anything that takes your fancy.  I’ve always believed that good teaching is 90% theft.”

Just last week an experienced Teacher came up for a chat after just such a day’s training and said she’d enjoyed the experience immensely.  So that’s nice!  She also gave me some good-natured ribbing for saving my most valuable tidbit for 3.24pm.  She said she’s always felt that nothing has stunted her growth as a Teacher like the physical restraint she’s felt from seeing other Teachers teach.  She might just be onto a major flaw in the way we develop our educators.

Despite the increasing availability of open spaces in our schools, most schools still resemble architectural egg cartons.  The pervading compartmentalisation of schools into a series of learning “cells” means that Teachers only fleetingly see other great Teachers in action.  It’s an anchor on our improvement agenda.

If our Teachers are even sporadically released to see other Teachers do their thing, the benefits are significant.  Not only do they thieve great practice and tweak it for their own purposes, but they often leave either inspired or affirmed.

If good teaching really is 90% theft, then it’s worth focusing on some increased legalised robbery if we’d prefer our best classroom practitioners don’t take all of their expertise with them when they eventually move on.

I saw a news story about the apparent need to re-name Teachers as “Learning Designers” recently.  Perhaps a change to “Practice Thief” would be more accurate … and even productive.