How infectious is your Learning and Teaching virus?
The most important thing I have learned whilst leading our learning and teaching agenda is the role of line managers. My role as lead for L&T is to be the virus that infects everyone and line managers play a crucial role in ensuring that the virus spreads. The more aggressive the virus, the more rapidly spreads. In terms of how far the virus spreads, you can think of the different faculties as different parts of the body, once a virus reaches a body part, it needs a host cell to replicate in order for it to spread further. The most effective viruses are backed up with sound pedagogy and an unquestionable notion as to ‘why’ it will enhance students’ learning.
It doesn’t matter how innovative or imaginative your virus, the general pattern seems to be the same; the proactive teachers will take an idea and run with it, the vast majority of teachers will take on board the idea and may change an element or two of their day to day practice, and then there are some teachers who will pass it off as ‘jazzy’ idea that they are far too busy to implement. For the latter, line management is critical for ensuring that the virus infects them.
It is also worth mentioning that not everyone is interested in pedagogy or the latest research and with very little expectation for teachers to engage with pedagogy after qualifying, infecting everyone within the school to the degree that they have to engage, can be somewhat problematic.
The last piece of contextualisation is in relation to experienced teachers. There are many ‘innovative’ ideas that have been recycled from years back and sharing such ideas can irritate and disengage experienced teachers.
Below are 12 solutions for ensuring that faculty line managers support the transmission of your ideas. There are then subsequent things which heads of faculty should be doing to ensure that ideas are translated into day to day teaching practice. The idea behind this is that the virus gets a boost at each tier to ensure that it continues to spread.