My first career was as a Registered General Nurse, after qualifying I specialised in Cardiology and worked on the Coronary Care Unit at Leeds General Infirmary. The patients that I cared for were often with us as a result of a sudden collapse resulting from a heart attack, or to give it its correct name Myocardial Infarction. During the 3 years that I worked on the unit I witnessed one of the most significant changes in treating Myocardial Infarctions that has occurred in the this century. Instead of solely relying on drug treatments or resorting to open heart surgery patients were offered ‘angioplasty’ as an alternative. During the procedure, a thin, flexible catheter (tube) with a balloon at its tip is threaded through a blood vessel to the affected artery. Once in place, the balloon is inflated to compress the plaque against the artery wall. This restores blood flow through the artery.
Twenty years later this is often a first line treatment that takes place before a patient even leaves A&E. These changes in treatment all informed by rigorous clinical trials, grounded in research. Few of us would doubt the expertise and rationale for developing such treatments, trusting Doctors professional knowledge and judgement.
As a school leader and teacher my area of expertise is, and should be pedagogy. Decisions that I make and practices that I advocate are grounded in and informed by learning theories and evidence. I personally am always eager to learn more, reflect on my practice but also test out new and innovative approaches, always considering impact.
I welcome the increasing emphasis for all schools to make informed decisions about practice – that in part supports our status as a profession but more importantly ensures that learners in our care make the best possible progress.
Currently the most talked about educational research is that produced by the Sutton Trust (see below), the research attempts to create a correlation between teaching strategies, their cost and the impact on progress. As with all research the results and recommendations are open to debate, rarely is any research that involves human beings black and white! However there are other large scale studies whose findings align with those of the Sutton Trust, including that completed by John Hattie. I am also personally interested in and inspired by the work of Costa, Kallick and Dweck, exploring how we develop learners understanding of themselves a s learners, making the learning process transparent, the power of aspiration and positive talk and the praising of effort rather than purely ability.
Teaching and Learning Toolkit (Spring 2013)
I love learning and hope that I can instil that across DC!
In order to be my best professional self continuing to learn, questioning my practice and that of others is key and non-negotiable, if I was a cardiothoracic surgeon you’d expect it to be.