The time has come to trust the teachers' says David Hargreaves (June 29). I couldn't agree more, indeed we should trust teachers not just with much greater responsibility for their pupils' learning but also with a much greater say in their own learning. We cannot expect professional behaviour if we continue to substitute scripted training for professional development.
I have just returned from meeting a group of geography teachers who spent a week together at Hertford College, Oxford. Their brief was two-fold:
- Go away and learn
- Produce materials for pupils which can be shared with other schools via the internet
They had access to Oxford geography department's journals, books and websites and could spend time with members of the department. There was no pre-determined time-table or content.nbsp;
So, did they fulfil their objectives? Certainly in terms of immediate output the answer must be "Yes". The materials produced included a "layered decision-making" exercise where the emphasis was on thinking skills and geography, and units on climate and weather as well as links to
useful sites. These will be accessible on www.domex.org.uk next term.
The teachers' own learning was considerable - "it's putting the inspiration back in our practice," said one - not just about geography and ICT but also about learning itself.
If you're looking for best value this may be a model to consider - as one of the group remarked "If you compare this with our five development days this year our learning and output have been ten-fold." We don't have to beat teachers over the head to get things done - if we give them professional trust, they act professionally .
Foundation for Raising Achievement Co-ordinator Skillswork,
Royal Arsenal Gatehouse,