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Innovation Investigation

Teachers as innovative professionals

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ContentsForeword 4 6 9 9 10 11 13 14 15 18 19 21 23 25 26 30 31 33 1.Background

2.Summaryoffindings

Whatdoteachersmeanbyinnovation? Whyinnovate? Creatingtheconditionsforinnovationsinteaching Sourcesofideas Evaluation Conclusions

3.Objectivesandmethodology Methodology

4.Whatdoteachersmeanbyinnovation?

WiderschoolInnovations Differencesbetweensubjectsandpupilages Comparisontoothersectorsapproachtoinnovation

5.Whyinnovate?

Whyteachersinnovate Whyschoolsinnovate

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6.Creatingtheprocessesandconditionsforinnovationsinteaching Theconditionsforleaderledinnovation Creatingtheenvironmenttosustainand encourageinnovation Thebuildingblocks:forbothsuccessfulleaderledand practitionerledinnovation Theinnovationprocess Wholeschoolinnovation Classroombasedinnovation

36 37 39 41 57 57 58 60 62 64 65 65 66 66 67

7.Sourcesofideas

Ownschool Otherschools Thewidereducationsystem Thewiderenvironment

8.Evaluation

Evaluatingclassroombasedinnovation Evaluatingwiderschoolinnovation

ForewordAnne DiackDirectorofMedia,CommunicationsandResearch,TheInnovationUnitThistwopartreportfromThe InnovationUnitandtheGeneral TeachingCouncilforEngland(GTCE) waspreparedbytheOfficeofPublic Management(OPM).TheInnovation UnitandGTCEcommissionedthis independentstudytoinvestigatewhat laybehindthefindingsoftheannual GTCESurveyofTeachersin2006that theoverwhelmingmajorityofteachers thinkthattheyhavetheopportunityto innovateintheclassroom. TheInnovationUnitandGTCEwere keentofindoutwhatlaybehindthis headline.Whatdoteachersunderstand byinnovation?Howdoesthismanifest itselfintheiractualpractice? TheGTCEcommissionsalargescale surveyofitsteacherseachyear.The surveyreflectsonteachersviews, specificaspectsandkeychallenges intheirwork,andtheiraspirationsfor thefuture.In2006,theGTCEsurvey foundthat84%ofteachersbelieve theyhavetheopportunitytoinnovate intheclassroom.TheGTCEandThe InnovationUnitcommissionedOPMto carryoutapieceofanalyticalfollow-up researchtoexplorewhatliesbehindthis highfigure. Inparticular,theresearchsetoutto provideevidencethatwillhelpto addressthefollowingpolicyquestions: Whatstepsshouldbetakenby nationalbodiesconcernedwith teaching,byprofessionalbodies andbyschoolleaders,toencourage teacherstooptimisetheuseand valueoftheirprofessionaljudgment aboutthemeritsofdeveloping, implementingandevaluating innovationinteaching? Whatparticularstepsneedtobe takentocreatetheconditionsfor innovationinteaching,particularly inthosecontextswhichare characterisedbysometeachersas leadingtoover-accountabilityand riskaversion?

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Thisbookletdrawsonin-depth telephoneinterviewswith35 representativeteachersdrawnfroma cross-sectionofschools.Theresearchers exploredanumberofissueswiththe sampleofteachers: Whatdoteachersmeanbyinnovation? Whyinnovateatall?Whatarethebest processesforinnovation?Whatarethe necessaryconditionsforinnovation? Whataboutpractitioner-ledinnovation orleader-ledinnovation?

Headsandotherseniormanagers addedotherreasonsforintroducing innovation.Toimproveresults particularlyinfailingschools;toopen uppossibilitiesinpupilsmindsand increasetheirself-belief;torespondtoa changingworldandtomakebestuseof newevidenceaboutwhatworkswell,as wellasrespondingtotheexpectations oftheirpupilsandparentswere additionalreasonscited.

Innovationinteaching,asfaras teachersareconcerned,isaboutpupils Teachersgavedifferingreasonsfor andtheiropportunitiesinthefuture.If whyinnovationasimportant.For theschooldevelopsagoodorbetter some,itwastorespondtotheneeds reputationasaresult,thatisobviously oftheirpupilswhichalsogavethem agoodthing;butthepurposeisnot jobsatisfaction.Forothers,meeting tobecomeknownasinnovatorsor pupilsneedsandproducinginteresting, attractpotentialpupilsandparentswith successfullessonsinspiresand attractiveoffers. motivatesthem.Somefelttheexternal demandtomeettheexpectationsof Keytotheinnovationprocess, theirheadorseniormanager,orin accordingtothereport,isstrongand responsetopeerencouragement.And reflectiveleadership.Whilstnotingthat somegaveawidermoregeneralview somesmallscaleinnovationdoestake abouttheimportanceofpedagogy placeinteachersownclassrooms reflectingthechangingworld,and mostlyalongthelinesofnon-traditional thechangingpatternsoflearningthat waysofdeliveringcurriculummaterial pupilswillface. foranythingmoreradicalonalarger scale,leadershipsupportisnecessary. Buttheresearchersdidnotfindone

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particulartypeofleadershipwasany moresuccessfulintermsofencouraging andenablinginnovation.Theydid, however,begintodrawtogethersome commonthemesthatseemedtobe important: Headsdeliberatelyspenttime outsideoftheirownschool searchingfornewideasand reflectingonthepracticeswithin theirschool. Whereaskingtheirteachersto implementnewwaysofdoing things,theyoftenhadtobeboth inspirationalandpersuasive, demonstratingpersonalpassion, butalsobeingsensitivetothefears ofsometeacherstotrynewthings. Inordertosustaininnovationand encouragefurtherinnovation, thecreationofadeeplevelof ownershipseemedtobenecessary, somanyheadshadsetupdifferent modelsofdistributiveorcollegiate typeleadership.

Wheretheywishedtoencourage practitioner-ledinnovation,the headsandwidermanagementteam workedtoinstilacultureinwhich teachersfeelfreetotrynewthings, andthereisnofearoffailureaslong asinappropriaterisksarenottaken. Linkedtotheabove,creatinga cultureoftrustwithintheschool thatencouragestakingrisksand allowsforfailurewasclosely associatedwithtrustingthe professionalismofteachersand givingthemthepsychological freedomtotrynewthings. Headteachersandothersenior managerswhomodelinnovative practicesthemselvesalso encouragedacultureofinnovation.

Theresearchershaveminedarichseam ofengagementwithinnovationinthis reportandprovideinsightswhichareof interesttoallsectorsoftheeducation system.Acomplementarypublication containingcasestudiesoftheschools, whichcanalsobedownloadedfrom TheInnovationUnitswebsite.TheUnit andtheGTCEaregratefultoOPMfor thepreparationofthesereports.

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Thisreportdrawsonevidencegathered duringthefirsthalfof2007.Itreports

1. Backgroundinsomedetailwhatwefoundinseveral schoolsandtheexperiencesofover 30teachers,whenaskedabouttheir personalexperienceofinnovatinginthe classroom. Thefirstsectionofthisreportisa summaryanalysisofourfindings, andincludesourrecommendations. Theremainderisafullaccountofthe definitions,methodologiesandnuances wefoundinourfieldwork.Thereis agreatdealofrichdetailandmany casestudies,whichareofferedbothas evidencetosupportourconclusions andforthepurposeofsharingthese experiences. Weseetheaudienceforthisreport asprimarilypolicymakersandothers interestedinsupportingandpromoting innovationinteaching.

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2. Summary of findingsWhat do teachers mean by innovation?Weobservedadifferenceinresponse tothewholenotionofinnovation betweenthoseclassroomteacherswho Foraminority,itmeansfreedomfrom donotfeelpartofawholeschoolpush followingasetcurriculum.Formost, forinnovation;andthoseteacherswho however,itiseither(i)respondinginthe workinanenvironmentwherethere momenttoeventsandtotheparticular isasystemic,whole-schoolapproach. needsofthepupilsintheroominaway Whilebothsetsofteachersbelieved thatenablesorenhancestheirlearning; innovationwasimportantandindeed or(ii)tryingsomethingnewortaking anessentialpartofteaching,andwould risksintheplanningandexecutionof probablysharetheviewsoftheother lessonsaspartofasystemicapproach group,itwasinterestingtoseethat tocontinuouslyimprovingteaching theirinitialresponsewasdifferent.The andlearning.Experiencedteachersare formergroup(teachersinnovatingina moreconfidentwiththeformer,more nonsystemicway)wasmorelikelyto spontaneous,approach. readilynamethingssuchasroleplays, bringingexternalspeakersintothe Thisdistinctionbetweensystemicand classroomandorganisingdaytripsas nonsystemicapproachestoinnovation examplesofinnovativepractice.Their seemstobeimportantinanyanalysis exampleswereaboutencouraging ofwhatinnovationinteachinglooks creativity,respondingtotheneedsin like,whenithappens;andhowitcan theclassroom,keepingthingsfreshand benurturedandsustained.Inorder interesting.Theysaid:Ofcoursewe tomovebeyondthespontaneous, innovateitsessentialtothejob. opportunistapproachtoinnovation thatdoesnotgobeyondthemoment Thoseteacherswhofeltthatinnovation teachersneedtobeabletodiscuss, waspartoftheethosoftheirschool shareandpromoteexamplesof talkedaboutinnovativetimetabling innovationattheindividual,aswellas andcurricula;peermentoringamong thesystemic,orschoollevel. pupils;nontraditionalmanagement structures,professionaldevelopment

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andinvolvementofpupilsinthe designofphysicalschoolplaces.Their conceptofinnovationwasmoreoneof managedcontinuousimprovementand necessarychangeandtheysaid:Its notreallyaboutinnovationitsabout doingwhatworksbestforthechildren andtheirlearning.Theystruggledabit tothinkofthingstheyhaddonewhich weregenuinelyinnovative.

2. Referencesmustberelevantand learningdesignedtoequippupils fortheworldtheywillinhabit. Atabroaderschoollevel,headsand otherseniormanagersspokeof themainreasonsforintroducing innovationasbeinginorderto: improveresultsparticularlyin failingschools useeducationandtheskillsofall stafftoopenuppossibilitiesin pupilsmindsandincreasetheirselfbelief respondtoachangingworld,ie recognisingthatschoolsneeded toconstantlychangetokeep pacewithchangingneedsoftheir pupilsandtomakebestuseofnew evidenceaboutwhatworkswell respondtotheexpectationsoftheir pupilsandparents.

Why innovate?1. Interviewswithteachersand explorationofinnovationsatour cases