City School model;Letter

7th May 1999 at 01:00
I AM one of the group of staff in the University of Strathclyde involved in the Pakistan staff development and school improvement project described by Dr Brian Boyd (TESS, April 30). It is a matter of satisfaction, and relief, that Brian - never a man to allow collegiality impair his fiercely independent judgment - has found so much to commend in the initiative.

When we initially went to Pakistan in 1996, we were told that conditions were unpromising. Teachers were accustomed to highly authoritarian directions from national and regional levels.

As it turned out, we found the City School organisation in Pakistan receptive to the much more enlightened professional development model which Brian Boyd describes, with key features such as the empowerment of headteachers and of teachers and a focus on school and group-based strategies.

It is one of the minor ironies of my professional life that, also in 1996, I was serving in Scotland on the Higher Still staff development group. There we found a rigid determination within the Higher Still Development Unit to pursue an anachronistic and primitive staff development model, one clearly doomed to be of limited success. Who indeed should be learning from whom?

Iain Smith, Director of overseas projects, Faculty of education, University of Strathclyde

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