In Progress, Isabella Wallace and Leah Kirkman explore our understanding of this core educational concept, drawing together ideas from leading international thinkers and practical strategies for busy teachers. The Best of the Best series brings together – for the first time – the most influential voices in education in a format that is concise, insightful and accessible for teachers. Keeping up with the latest and best ideas in education can be a challenge – as can putting them into practice – but this new series is here to help.
Each title features a comprehensive collection of brief and accessible contributions from some of the most eminent names in education from around the world. In this exciting first volume, Isabella Wallace and Leah Kirkman have curated a collection of inspiring contributions on the theme of progress and have developed practical, realistic, cross-curricular and cross-phase strategies to make the most of these important insights in the classroom. Each expert has provided a list of further reading so you can dig deeper as you see fit. In addition, the Teacher Development Trust has outlined ideas for embedding these insights as part of CPD.
Suitable for all educationalists, including teachers and school leaders.
Many myths abound about progress. We have to show that learners are making progress, but what do we really mean by the term? Who decides what constitutes progress? Who should set targets, and why? How do we measure progress? How do we know when pupils are demonstrating it? How do we differentiate and allow for learners’ different starting points? Should we be measuring everyone against the average or should we be looking at ipsative progress, where achievement is relative only to the pupil’s personal best? Indeed, if everyone is making expected progress, is that really progress or just doing as expected? Do we need to rethink assessment? Does meta-cognition hold the answer? What about other approaches like SOLO taxonomy or Building Learning Power? If progress isn’t linear, what kind of shape does it have? What implicit value judgements may we be making when applying the term uncritically and unthinkingly? How do we ensure that funding, including the Pupil Premium, is having a tangible effect on progress? Can we make learning and progress visible? What does the evidence base – the research studies and meta-analyses – have to say? Will that be applicable in all contexts?
These are just some of the questions that the educational experts delve into in this first volume in the Best of the Best series. The practical strategies offered by Isabella Wallace and Leah Kirkman demonstrate how teachers can immediately use these ideas in the classroom. Advice from the Teacher Development Trust demonstrates how to plan sustained and responsive changes to practice based on the book’s key insights.
Professor John Hattie makes a powerful argument, supported by practical examples, of how funding can be used effectively and equitably to enhance progress in learning for every pupil.
Geoff Petty points us to the invaluable resources provided by meta-research, which identify for us which are the most effective, progress-yielding teaching methods.
Sir John Jones, writing about life chances, reminds us of the enormous influence that the quality of teaching can have on pupil motivation and progress.
Sugata Mitra looks at the link between progress and improvement of life chances, and the role that technology can play in this respect.
David Didau echoes the postmodernists in his argument that progress in the classroom should not be thought of as linear, as a steadily advancing route of improvement aimed at some distant goal of perfection.
Professor Mick Waters refers to the practice of assessing progress against externally fixed markers as an ‘obsession’ which should be challenged.
Will Ord urges us to interrogate exactly what it is that we mean by ‘progress’.
Claire Gadsby suggests that progress should be learner centred rather than criterion based and that it is only the pupil, not the teacher, who can demonstrate progress.
Professor Robert Bjork warns us against making a supposition not only about what pupils can do but also about what they may need from us in order to do it.
Professor John West-Burnham suggests that practice is essential to effective progress in learning, and that the effort we demand of our learners can be directly proportionate to the success they achieve in reaching their goals.
Professor Guy Claxton cautions that there is a fine line between challenging learners into making positive progress and ‘over-stretching’ them.
James Nottingham makes the point that the measurement of progress should not be made by teachers against externally set markers, but by learners against their own personal best.
Mark Burns argues that progress is a personal measure, not a fixed absolute.
Martin Robinson questions what he refers to as ‘the progress myth’.
Mike Gershon urges the wider use by teachers of exemplar materials – examples of work which illustrate the content and standard which the pupils should be aspiring to as a next step in their learning.
Pam Hook suggests that progress is most usefully expressed not as a forward-moving line but as a spiral where learning experiences are returned to and repeated, perhaps several times, at increasingly higher levels or at greater depth.
Andy Hargreaves sees building confidence and self-belief as central to the teacher’s role and not simply as an optional ‘soft skill’, and extends this same concept to the need for mutual support between colleagues – which he refers to as giving ‘uplift’.
Teacher Development Trust – Next steps …