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Practise what you preach

One area of discussion centred on the professionalisation of teaching, of making teaching a real profession and moving away from what Richard Elmore describes as a school being a group of islands of private practices.

To ensure real teacher leadership, Kitty Boles, who lectures in this aspect at the Harvard school, advocates three pathways:

* Rounds promoting collaboration through the sharing of successful practice.

* Lesson Study promoting collaboration through improving content knowledge.

* Teacher Action Research promoting collaboration through systematic and intentional inquiry.

Within Scottish education, we are all working towards this culture in our schools and with our teachers. But I wonder whether we, as headteachers, take the opportunity to practise what we preach? Do we engage in action-based research to develop our practice? Do we engage in frequent conversation with each other about our work? Do we have easy access to each other's schools? Do we take it for granted we should observe and comment upon each other's work?

How do we nurture and engender the sense of belonging amongst all those involved in education that would allow this to take place effectively? And how do we create an environment where we can all work together, adopt a truly collegiate approach and share our practice?

Fiona MacPhail

headteacher, Dalrymple Primary, East Ayrshire

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