Critical Professional Learning

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On this page you will find items that I hope add perspective to our thinking about the learning of professional educators. There will, for example, be some articles that were written some time ago making points that, in the rush to implement ‘new’ policy, we have forgotten. You will familiar with the professional cry, ‘but we have done this before’; well here you may find something to give meaning to the moan. I also intend to include up-to-the-minute material that will do something similar.

SOME REFLECTIONS OF AN EXAMINER - who does not like the word

One more report to write and that will be the end of my career as an examiner. I have been an external examiner for fifteen universities, the external at possibly more than forty five validations of, mostly, masters programmes, stood in for about a dozen other external examiners when they could not make a meeting and evaluated four faculties.

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A SELECTION OF LINKS TO PERSONAL WRITINGS ABOUT PALESTINE/ISRAEL

Some of my reviews of books I have called ‘responses’ because to review can imply making a judgment and I wanted to emphasise the effect that a book had on my thinking.

Today the intention of the government of Israel to throw off all restraints upon its actions has made it more urgent that the governments of other countries colluding in this are brought to their senses and held to account.

I am not expecting agreement with my views and I do make mistakes that I am willing to have pointed out.

Cliff Jones 8th. September 2017

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CHAMPERS, CHIPS AND CRITICALITY CELEBRATING A HALF CENTURY

On the day that I was fifty I was busy marking GCSE papers and refused all suggestions from a friend that she would come round to ours with champagne. From our front room I saw her car arrive so I went out. She said she had a present for me. It was Stephen Kemmis the Australian academic whose short book, written with others, is known as Towards the Socially Critical School.

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Reflection on feeding back, feeding forward, winning a prize, practising a profession

The Report of the Task Group on Assessment and Testing (TGAT), December 1988, introduced me to the term ‘feed forward’. Not a particularly elegant term but it served to remind us that when tutors comment on students’ work it involves more than delivering judgment: more than feeding back: assessment is a sense-making process integral to education; and education is not time bound.

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Danger! Alert! Enter the CPD Cyborgs

Note: I drafted this in October 2008. I thought it would make a good editorial for CPD Update. And now that I search and cannot find it in my archive of published copies it is quite possible that I refrained from being too rude about the decision of the Training and Development Agency for schools (TDA) to disregard all the great work it had done on Postgraduate Professional Development (PPD) and to bypass (at the beginning) the real experts it had on its staff in order to impose what promised to be a dumbed down masters degree, the Masters in Teaching and Learning (MTL).

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Continuing Professional Learning in England back in February 2005

It could have become coherent, cogent, comprehensive and consensual.

A few years earlier Secretary of State Estelle Morris launched her CPD Strategy . It promised an opportunity to develop professional learning by, with and from professional educators. In my mind I connect this with the proposal from Denis Lawton in 1975 for the profession to develop a national curriculum and, in the same year, Lawrence Stenhouse’s encouragement of schoolteachers to perceive themselves as researchers . Perhaps Estelle might have been reviving (a little) what I now describe as professional proactive autonomy.

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The Thinking Teacher in the Thinking School in need of a Thinking Minister in a Thinking Government

David Miliband was Schools Minister from 2002 to 2004. He used to wear glasses. When the Universities Council for the Education of Teachers (UCET) went to see him about the establishment of what became Postgraduate Professional Development (PPD) in England (masters degrees and doctoral programmes for schoolteachers) he referred to The Thinking School. It was a slogan that appealed to him. We had hoped to be talking about the thinking teacher in the thinking school but although he had called the meeting he did not seem to know why we were there. I remember that it was like talking to a clever sixth former who hoped to impress despite not having bothered to do his homework.

The glasses? With them David Miliband was the spitting image of Clark Kent. He no longer wears them.

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Tidy or Untidy CPD

Time perhaps to employ that well known phrase, the past is a foreign country: they do things differently there.

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From Breaktime Magazine, Spring 2011

I have encouraged the use of the perspectives outlined below for many years but as the education policies of the Coalition Government gathered speed I felt the need to draw further attention to them.

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Stagnant Schools and a Stagnant System

Much of what follows was written as a blog for the British Educational Research Association (BERA). It must be twenty-five years ago that I had the idea to write something with the title Oxbow Schools. Twenty-three years ago I met Stephen Kemmis and told him of my intention. He said that if I didn’t use the title he would. If he ever did I must apologise for not having noticed; you can’t catch everything.

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CPD Update editorial April 2005 and a letter to the editor

The title I chose for my second editorial might have been written yesterday or, even, tomorrow. I am sure that no matter how far into the future we gaze there will be someone, somewhere, anywhere, in the world using the phrase: ‘What goes around comes around’.

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CPD UPDATE - My first editorial from March 2005

Near the beginning of 2005 I became the editor of CPD Update. It was a monthly journal, not long, that was subscribed to by schools, universities and organisations such as the General Teaching Council for England (abolished by Michael Gove). Back then education was run by the Department for Education and Skills (DfES). The Teacher Training Agency (TTA) was about to become the more humanely run Training and Development Agency for schools (TDA). Insertion of the ‘D’ word helped us to accept the ‘T’ word. Ralph Tabberer was its chief executive and with him I felt that we were entering a time when the possibilities for partnership were increasing.

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