Best Practice

Professional development: Thinking schools and thinking teachers

The learning environment for your staff really matters. Dr Kulvarn Atwal introduces his recipe for creating thinking schools and developing thinking teachers – offering us five concrete strategies

I have been working in schools for more than 20 years and have been a headteacher for more than 10. Throughout my career, I have been fascinated about the power of staff professional learning and its impact upon student outcomes.

I believe it to be the greatest untapped resource in our schools – by focusing our energies as leaders on staff learning, we can have the greatest possible impact on our students’ learning.

In this article, I will share some strategies to enable you to develop your teachers to become thinking teachers and your school to become a thinking school.

My doctoral research enabled me to investigate the quality of staff learning in a range of different workplaces, including factories, building sites and hairdressing salons. I found that in the very institutions where the core business is learning (schools), the actual quality of teacher learning is often relatively poor.

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