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Boldly go into the sixth dimension

Work for the TLA must address six 'core dimensions'. Martin Whittaker explains


The GTCE defines this as "engagement with an appropriate knowledge base".

Teachers use research all the time. Those undertaking a project for thet eacher learning academy must be clear about what they know already, and what they are trying to tackle. They need to think about where they can find out more and to plan their research, referring to a range of available evidence. It can include articles in professional journals, pupil assessment data and Ofsted reports, and what teachers do.


This is about accessing peer support, coaching and mentoring - the formal and informal ways in which your professional dialogue with colleagues can make a difference to what you do and how you do it. Teachers are asked to think about what opportunities they have for that and to build it in along the way. An example is lesson observation, but with the chance to discuss it afterwards.


Planning a teacher learning project should be familiar to teachers for whom planning is a daily practice. Think about what you expect to learn from it; whether your aims are realistic, can you achieve them in the available timescale? Are you clear about how the children and the school will benefit, as well as how you will learn from it?


The next stage is carrying out your teacher learning project. But it's not just about implementing change - for some, being able to take risks and learn from the unexpected can be a significant culture shift. So it's about looking over the project in its entirety, going back over what you've done already. Self-reflection is an integral part of these core dimensions, and carrying out your project demands more critical analysis and dialogue with colleagues and mentors to identify further actions and learning for the teacher.


This is not just about how your teacher learning project has enhanced pupils' learning and school improvement - the priority is your professional development. While looking at pupils' learning outcomes, ask yourself: "How did I do that? What was my teaching like ? Could I be even better?"


It's crucial to share what you have done, whether it is through an in-service day, staff meeting, or written report. You're also encouraged to share what you're doing throughout the whole process, not least because that's how you learn from it. You make more sense of what you're doing if you share it.

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