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Peer-Supported Observations and Professional Development

Skills for Life Network

In a Universal or Developmental Model of quality improvement and professional development, teaching observations become less of a performance management ‘test’ and more of an opportunity for sharing effective practice and supporting development.

Our APs have explored various ways to achieve this as part of their quality improvement projects, within the ethos and values of the role. The AP (card) Toolkit includes, for example, the Teaching Squares method of peer-supported observation and development, and resources available for download from the CPD programme Padlet include information on how to implement Lesson Study and Open Door approaches with the same aim. At the national AP conference, we heard about the successes and challenges when APs implemented Open-Door Teaching weeks, Teaching Triangles, Video Capture and Learning Walks. Our experience, throughout this programme leads us to recommend a diverse variety of ways in which peer-supported observations can be achieved to best effect. 

Quality Improvement and Action/Experiential Learning Cycles

In considering how best to apply evidence-based practice in making and evaluating the impact of changing practice, APs on the 3-Day CPD programme, explored how Quality Improvement, Action Learning/Experiential Learning, Action Research and Reflective Practice are all fundamentally the same cyclical process of recognising a need to change or improve, trying out new things and then evaluating the outcome.

generic cycle

This understanding is useful in establishing an organisational mindset that values professionals taking responsibility for growing quality from the ‘bottom-up’ – and key to this is the setting the parameters by which managers can be confident to allow this to happen.  This principle is the basis of our fourth AP Guide on the inherent power of Situated Learning and High-Performance Work Practices in achieving peer-supported quality improvement.

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