I've written previously about the role of a clear instructional vision and designing rubrics that support the articulation and achievement of that. Doug Lemov, in his book Teach like a Champion, has done exactly that, identifying and naming strategies that make the greatest difference in terms of improving student outcomes in order that they can be explicitly taught, practiced and mastered, in order to maximise the quantity and quality of thinking and learning happening for all students.
Evidence has been collected for some time on the differentials related to effective or non-effective teaching in terms of student learning (in particular John Hattie's Visible Learning work). Despite this, change has been hard to implement. In their book Switch: how to change things when change is hard, Chip and Dan Heath identify a three part framework for affecting successful and sustainable change: provide crystal clear direction, give the right emotional and practical support to avoid exhaustion and, where possible, change situations as these tend to be more malleable than people. This is particularly important in teaching which is very vulnerable to decision fatigue given the continuous small and large, urgent and important decisions that teachers are required to make at most moments of their day.
This is exactly what Doug Lemov has done with great effect in schools - identifying bright spots (things that really make a difference to student outcomes) and finding how to replicate these; applying scientific research to develop their art and practicing, practicing, practicing. Because practice moves the conscious to the automatic, freeing up precious energy to move on to the next improvements. Because if we are serious, which I am, about improving the life chances of everyone, particularly those who face disadvantage, then we need to be improving all the time. We need to become skillful practitioners and masters of improvement and change. We increasingly know what works. Now we need to put it into practice.
It seems to me like the evidence is mounting - that for our current space and time, we need to develop professional expertise, spreading effective practice by learning and rehearsing techniques known to make a difference, while also developing the reflective and evaluative skills needed to continually respond to context and environment and steer and manage change sustainably. While this thinking is not new, practice seems slow to catch up. That is where I want to go next - how do we develop and spread practice informed by these understandings? The movement is growing and I am excited about being part of that growth.