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The Interconnected Model – Part 3 April 1, 2015

Posted by IaninSheffield in CPD.
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creative commons licensed (BY) flickr photo by Jordanhill School D&T Dept: http://flickr.com/photos/designandtechnologydepartment/5168943814

In preceding posts, I introduced the Interconnected Model as a mechanism through which to explore teacher growth, then discussed how that might provide one way by which to consider our recent RiskIT project. Here I’ll briefly reflect on the ways the Interconnected Model has informed my thinking and perhaps more importantly, what it has to say for our professional development agenda.

It’s perhaps important to state from the outset that this has been no more than my mental exercise; the examples referred to in the previous post used nothing more than imaginary personas. As I mentioned, it would be far more powerful and informative if we could gather the experiences of all our RiskIT participants and analyse the growth sequences they felt they undertook. Clarke and Hollingworth observed:

The non-linear structure of the model provides recognition of the situated and personal nature, not just of teacher practice, but of teacher growth: an individual amalgam of practice, meanings, and context.

By synthesising messages in the models contributed by whole community, we might be better placed to adjust our provision to better meet the needs of our participants and better allow for varied and individual growth.

Although the two examples in the previous post are fictional, they mirror reality in one sense; neither has any arrows which indicate flow to the external domain. Although we gather and share the outcomes of our Risks, the successes and failures (yes, I dare use the word!) within our community, it goes no further than that. We don’t formally reflect on the process, as we might if we were using the Interconnected Model as an interpretative tool. This means that our individual learning experiences can’t help inform each other’s knowledge and practice in anything other than a surface way. The brief information we share is decontextualised, making it harder for colleagues to see whether someone else’s journey through a particular Risk can help guide their own development. With adequate preparation, we could doubtless include a reflective element using the IM, but even if we did share those reflections within our community, would colleagues have the time (or inclination) to learn from the experiences of others? If we are to move beyond a simple surface approach, perhaps we need to commit more deeply? But to do that, colleagues will need the time and space. As Dylan Wiliam2 exhorts:

(School leaders) …should create a culture for the continuous improvement of practice, and to keep the focus on a small number of things that are likely to improve outcomes for students. In addition, they need to create the time within the existing teachers’ contracts to do this, and to encourage the taking of sensible risks.

1Clarke, D., Hollingsworth, H., 2002. Elaborating a model of teacher professional growth. Teaching and teacher education 18, 947–967.

2Wiliam, D., 2010. Teacher quality: why it matters, and how to get more of it. Paper given at Spectator ‘Schools Revolution’ conference http://www.dylanwiliam.org/Dylan_Wiliams_website/Papers.html


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