Why skills can be lost in translation

25th June 2004 at 01:00
Given the fulsome praise that Linda Kirkwood heaps on our Critical Skills Programme ("Head to Head", June 18) it may seem churlish to point out a significant omission in her description of the "bungee rope" effect - though this is undoubtedly through modesty rather than any lack of understanding on Linda's part.

In my view there are two key factors in ensuring that new, demanding skills learned on training courses are transferred effectively to the classroom.

First, as Linda observes, the training itself needs to be intensive and experiential, which CSP most certainly is. But it is equally important for school leadership to provide appropriate in-school support so that "novice" trainees can get regular, insightful feedback from more experienced colleagues as well as each other.

This is quite crucial (one might even say "critical") in helping teachers to translate new skills from the "workshop" to the "workplace". As their recent HMIE inspection has shown, Oban High is an outstanding example of a school with such enlightened leadership.

Colin Weatherley Critical Skills Programme manager (Scotland and the Channel Islands) The Paddock Gullane East Lothian

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