A blog was posted earlier in the year detailing the Visible Learning Journey that Midlothian are embarking on. I thought I would write a little update on where we are now, where we are heading to next and how we are going to get there.
The first of our 2 in-service days in August was dedicated to an inspiring Visible Learning Foundation Day Training. Across the 2 in-service days 500+ staff across Midlothian were given key messages of Visible Learning.As well as the 500+ staff, 130 support staff were also given an introduction into Visible Learning. A huge amount of organisation went into this and what a success it was. Thank you to all who were involved in this; Midlothian Education Psychology Team, Midlothian Education Team and our two trainers from OSIRIS Educational; Laura and Hill. I feel privileged to have been a part of such an exciting, stimulating and valuable professional learning opportunity. (Twitter: #VLMidlothian)
The day began with a key note from Ken Muir. He set the context for education in Scotland. His inspirational messages on professional development and attainment within the Scottish Educational system were thought provoking and gave key points for further discussion. This was an excellent start to the day that gave key positive messages and highlighted the importance of professional development and driving your own professional learning which was echoed during the rest of the day.
This was followed by presentations on the key strands of visible learning which were delivered by Laura and Hill. This was supported by a number of great examples from Hodge Hill Primary School and Stonefields School in New Zealand and of course John Hattie himself. They did this with such enthusiasm and eagerness. They had a lot to cover and in a short space of time. Thank you!
We were lucky enough to have KJ Walton in attendance during the course of the day. It was great to hear K.J Walton talk about her experiences and provided an insight into the development of her books – “The Mindset Melting Pot” and “I can’t do this”. Both of which are fantastic and I cannot recommend them highly enough.
It was great to see just how many opportunities there are out there this session for Professional development and learning across Midlothian with links to Visible Learning from leadership training, reading groups and support sessions. EPS will be supporting their schools in gathering evidence and helping plan their journey.
Staff took away a number of key messages and there was a real buzz in school the day after the session. From talking with staff, here are some other key messages they took away (there were so many, I selected a few);
- Visible learning is a one size fits one approach
- Taking time to build positive relationships and build an ethos and environment of trust and respect.
- Create and build a shared language of learning to develop assessment capable learners in our school.
- Staff to get out of their comfort zone and use mindframes to help them develop and overcome this – becoming Inspired and Passionate teachers.
- High expectations – key part of effective learning. Pupils should aim to succeed and exceed their expectations – there is no roof on learning.
- Success is all around us – what is successful in our school and where do we need to go; (Where am I going? How am I doing? Where to next?)
- Hand in hand with Visible Learning is the development of a growth mindset.
- It is way of thinking about learning not just teaching.
- Creating a culture in school where mistakes are welcome not just from learners but from staff too.
- Ensuring feedback is “just in time” and “just for me” – Effective Feedback doubles the speed of learning.
Twitter was filled with posts and re-tweets from across the 2 days if you look for the #vlmidlothian you will get a flavor of some. Here is a link to some of our tweets from the day – https://storify.com/mideps/vlmidlothian
So… it has been 2 weeks since the foundation days, Where are we now…. Well lots of schools have fully immersed themselves in data gathering and building foundations and relations which is key to Visible Learning. Lots of schools have gone down the route of “establishment phases” where they have chosen key themes and concepts to introduce and embed into their daily practice. Some of which are; The Learning Brain, Growth Mindset and Mistake Making Culture. Some schools are also looking at what pupils think a good learner is. This gives a great starting point for mapping out their journey. All schools will be looking at the impact the work they are doing is having on their learners. This will help provide them with feedback and next steps.
The support and sharing of ideas on twitter has been incredible and it feels great to be a part of such an exciting time in education in our authority at the moment.
Lots of schools in our authority have been writing blogs to share their journey and reflections here are links to a few:
I personally am feeling inspired about the work we are doing and I am looking forward to developing this across my school this year and what makes it even better is that there is a huge network of ideas and support out there to help us on our way.