Learning conversations that strengthen teaching practice

by Marcus Freke

Report overview

Learning conversations are a key strategy used at Vardon School to strengthen teaching practice and improve learning outcomes.

Such conversations have been used to good effect by staff at the school around analysing reading data collated from the Six Year Observation Survey. 

As a result of these conversations a range of strategies has been established at the school that all teachers use as part of their instructional reading programme.

Principal Marcus Freke outlines the school’s learning conversations framework in this project report.

Reflective questions

These reflective questions might guide you in your reading of this report:

  • Principal Marcus Freke sets out the research that underpinned his project to strengthen teaching in his school. In particular he focuses on Viviane Robinson’s work, which identifies the five dimensions that educational leaders can use to influence student learning (see page 8 of monograph listed below). Discuss these five dimensions with your leadership team. How many of them are you currently using? How could you strengthen your practice of others?
  • To establish the learning conversations, staff worked to a routine around how they analysed their data and then decided on teaching strategies they needed to use to meet the learning needs of different students. This required planning, the development of trust among staff and certain routines to develop an implementation process. What approaches will you need to put in place in order to establish effective learning conversations with your staff?
  • What leadership roles and practices do you need to develop more strongly in order to become an active educational leader in your school?

Related link

Robinson, V. (2007). School leadership and student outcomes: Identifying what works and why. ACEL Monograph series.

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