Dylan Wiliam


Posted by upbeat | Posted in Learning & Teaching | Posted on November 4, 2008

Sustaining Teacher Learning Communities

Tuesday 4 November 2008

Cairndale Hotel, Dumfries

Around 130 Dumfries & Galloway teachers met in the Cairndale Hotel for a professional development day led by Professor Dylan Wiliam. Yes, just the one L in Wiliam! Teachers attending today’s course are planning to take part over the next year (or two!) in Teacher Learning Communities (TLCs). A TLC consists of a group of (ideally 8-10) teachers who commit to meeting together regularly to improve their teaching and learning, supporting each other in the process. Additionally, each TLC will be supported by tutors engaged by the Tapestry Partnership with 4 meetings between now and june 2009.

Following a welcome and introduction from Keith Best, the day started with the Ceilidh Band ‘Shoogle’ from Wallace Hall Academy. Their musical contribution was greatly enjoyed and appreciated. Dylan Wiliam then led sessions on formative assessment looking at research evidence and practical techniques.

Dylan Wiliam expressed the clear view that the single most important variable in school effectiveness is the quality of the teacher in the classroom. How can we improve teacher quality? Dylan’s position is that there is compelling and convincing research demonstrating that the only realistic and cost effective way forward is to improve the quality of existing teachers through their development in the use of formative assessment and assessment for learning techniques. “Teaching is a complex business and a lifetime is not long enough to master it,” said Dylan.

Formative assessment is all about students knowing where they are, where they are going and having an understanding of how they might get there. The effects of formative assessment should demonstrate improved classroom practice and improved student engagement. Dylan highlighted the importance of teachers developing skills in the quality of questioning of students and in the various types of feedback given. Assessment is only formative if the information fed back to the learner is used by the learner in making improvements. Other aspects of formative assessment discussed by Dylan included sharing criteria with learners, peer-assessment and self-assessment.

The day concluded with a discussion on arrangements for establishing TLCs across Dumfries & Galloway and a vote of thanks to Dylan for leading an excellent staff development day in presenting the effective use of formative assessment techniques.



Posted by upbeat | Posted in ICT | Posted on October 6, 2008

Woodside Conference Centre 3-5 October 2008

An excellent weekend in Kenilworth for ABRSM Course Leaders and Mentors was enjoyed by all in attendance. Long drive for myself was very much worth it  –  great sessions on the power of music (if somewhat emotionally draining!), online training/mentoring possibilities and stimulating group discussion on issues related to the professional development courses run by the ABRSM. Caught up with Walter Blair and had great reminisces of times, people and places in Scotland. Not seen Walter since making an ascent of the Castle Toward ramparts at midnight 14 years ago!

Anyone interested in further consideration of feedback for students might be interested to look at the Journey to Excellence section on Learning Teaching Scotland’s website. Very short movies are available on a variety of learning/teaching themes. The link below relating to feedback features Dylan Wiliam. (Yes, just one L in Wiliam!)


Well done to Richard Crozier and his team for a great weekend.

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