Leadership: sharing good practice

In this unit, we examine how good practice can be shared within and between schools. The unit details the ways in which best practice can be incorporated into a school’s CPD policy and gives insight into:

  • Coaching and mentoring strategies.
  • How lesson study enables teachers to support one another in planning and teaching.
  • The features of classroom-based action enquiry.

According to research published by the EPPI-Centre in 2003 and 2005, sharing good practice should be considered part of a school’s CPD policy.


Benefits of sustained, collaborative CPD


The research found that there were positive links between sustained, collaborative CPD and teachers':

  • Self-confidence
  • Knowledge and understanding of their subject and pupils' learning
  • Capacity to draw upon and use a wide range of teaching and learning strategies to meet pupils' needs
  • Willingness to continue professional learning
  • Willingness and ability to make changes in their practice
  • Self efficacy, and their belief in their ability to make a difference
  • Lesson study in practice

    This video shows faculty leader Marie Barrett working on an ‘art detective’ project with Year 7 pupils. She explains how this collaborative approach gives every pupil in the group an equal chance to contribute, and how it encourages engagement from a pupil with MLD.

    This is the 'Lesson study in practice' video clip referenced at the end of your PDF of unit 1c.

    Show transcript

    Marie Barrett – Faculty leader for Creative Industries:

    I'm Marie Barrett, and I'm Facility Leader for Creative Industries and an Art teacher at Stoke Damerel Community College in Plymouth. This is a Year 7 Group. We’ve been looking at an art detective project. We’re looking at comparing works of arts and studying elements, different elements from art works, and being able to talk fluently about the elements.

    Classroom interaction:

    So this is “Starry Night”, this painting here, you’ve got them on your desk, and this one is called "The Persistence of Memory".


    So what I want to achieve in this lesson, is to ensure that every student was involved in group discussion, and that they came up with some higher level responses that they were really engaging with the content of the paintings, and that they would support each other to do that, that they would discuss ideas, and so that they could develop their ideas further through the talk.

    Classroom interaction:

    Pupil: I think it's the right sentence because they’re both on about the texture in each of the pictures.


    The students have to work together and this is where we introduced the idea of talk tokens.

    Classroom interaction

    Marie: When you've said something, you put a token in the middle, yeah? And my group leaders are the ones to make sure that everybody is putting enough tokens in, OK. And if they’re not, then you need to encourage them, ask them questions or encourage them to say something.

    Pupil 1: Why do you think that this one hasn’t got any mountains?

    Pupil 2: Because that one has like holes and all that, and the other one don’t, because it’s like a cliff...


    The resources that we make are integral to the learning. The students can see the investment that you’ve made; the students are excited about holding things. The tactile nature of the resources means that they immediately want to go and pick things up. We found from a previous lesson study that the students were really engaged by active tasks. So, one of the tasks we came up with was sorting sentences, and we used this before and it was really successful to engage all the students, especially the students who find literacy difficult. So, what the idea is, is that they get parts of a sentence and they sort the sections out to make an object. In this case it was a trilby hat.

    Classroom interaction

    Marie: I’ve got another sorting exercise for you, but based on our theme of art detectives, they are detective hats, and you’re going to use your talk tokens, so you’re working as a group, and you need to sort these out to make sentences that work. You need to spread these out across your table so everybody’s got some in their hand, and you need to build a sentence. And all the tops of the hat are all to do with “Starry Night”, and then all the bottoms of the hat are to do with “The Persistence of Memory”, and then the middles are the connectives. So you need to make sentences which make sense.

    Pupil: (reading) “The brush strokes in “Starry Night” make an interesting textures showing movement”. “Also” “the smooth texture in “The Persistence of Memory” makes it feel calm and still”.

    Marie: Why have you put those two together?

    Pupil: Because they’re both about the texture of each picture.

    Marie: OK, so they’re both about texture, fantastic, so you’ve put those together, and “also” they’re both the same. So you’ve used “also” for that one.


    From my research from previous lesson studies, we found that specifically the MLD student found it difficult to start their writing. So we wanted to scaffold the activities to make sure that they had the best support. So they were experimenting with their ideas through talk before they started to commit to writing.

    Debbie who I’ve been working with is an English specialist, so I’m an art teacher, she’s a literacy specialist, and we can combine our skills to produce lessons for the subject which embed all those literacy skills that they’ll be learning elsewhere.

    The particular planning for the student who has MLD is that she lacks confidence to give her contributions. So in order to give her the confidence to do that, and to support her, I wanted to structure the talk so that she felt that she could make those contributions. Talk is a fantastic way to get the students to consider deeper responses.

    Classroom interaction

    Pupil 1: Which one do you reckon it is?

    Pupil 2: That one.

    Pupil 1: So this one. Do you know why? So why do you think there is texture in that and how can you see it?

    Pupil 2: Because it’s got brush strokes in it, in the picture...


    We haven’t really set any different criteria for any of the students with any different needs for the talk tokens because the idea is that it’s a leveller, it gives them all an equal opportunity to speak, and an equal chance to make their contribution.

    Classroom interaction

    Pupil 1: So why do you think this is the right sentence?

    Pupil 2: The texture in this picture is smooth and everything. It’s got bright colours and dark colours in some places.

    Pupil 3: So it’s quite bold.

    Classroom interaction

    Marie: Right, OK, so what I’ve done for you is because we don’t, in our arts lessons we don’t like writing on square pieces of paper, because it is too boring. As ever we’ve got some footprints, and these footprints are going to go on to our Art Detectives board, on our Art Detectives poster. These footprints are going to have sentences which you’ve written comparing the two pieces of work.

    Classroom interaction

    Pupil 4: I feel that both paintings show emotion. The reason I feel this is because,

    Pupil 5: …because it’s got like the stars.

    Pupil 4: So do you want to put that down?

    Marie: If you hear somebody writing a sentence about one of the paintings, OK, you hold one magnifying glass in the air. And if you hear them comparing it, using a connective, and comparing it with another painting, then they get two magnifying glasses in the air.


    The MLD student that we’ve been focussed on really surprised me in this lesson with the amount that she contributed. Her confidence levels have really risen, so that she feels that she can not only contribute openly, but she’s happy to read out in class, and she’s happy to contribute to whole class discussions. She’s really keen to have her point across.

    Classroom interaction

    Marie: Amy, can we have yours.

    Amy: In the “Starry Night” there are bright and dark colours. Also in “The Persistence of Memory” there are also dark and bright colours to make it look bold and effective.

    Marie: Brilliant. OK, how many are we giving it? How many, two? Billie, why two?

    Billie: Because she said about both paintings.

    Marie: Because she talked about both paintings, fantastic.


    So, once we’ve identified whether they’ve met the criteria, then the students are asked whether they’re good enough to go on to our art detective’s poster. So this is the collaborative piece of work that they’ve all been working towards, and then the students can glue them on, and that is a record of the whole process, so that the experiences that the students have had about discussing the work, and finding different elements, and we’ve recorded it all their sticking sort of bits together to create their own collaborative group poster.