Critical Learning Episodes
Improving our teaching is something that we are passionately committed to at Washington Academy. We do this in a number of ways that help us to pinpoint quickly and effectively what needs to be improved.
We watch each other teach all of the time and we have what we call an ‘open door’ policy whereby any member of staff can walk into any teaching class and offer advice…and believe it or not, this is gladly received.
As a school we have a real passion for using digital technologies in our work and this area is no exception. Staff are routinely filmed (from 3 different angles) and the video and audio footage analysed in painstaking detail to identify what are called ‘Critical Learning Episodes’ or ‘CLEs’ as we are fond of calling them.
A CLE is a crucial, pivotal point at which a lesson ‘takes off’ or ‘stalls’ in other words students have that magical ‘light bulb’ moment that all teachers love…or stalls because the students ‘don’t quite get’ what the teacher is trying to help them to understand.
Every teacher is filmed and this edited footage, chosen by the teacher in conversation with their peer-partner (another teacher), is analysed. Once this has been done and the areas for improvement, or excellence have been identified the all important ‘why is this important’ conversation is had…in other words, why was this a ‘critical episode’ and “what have I learned’. This is this kind of professional reflection that helps us to maintain exacting standards in our classroom practice.
For further information, this document shows you how this approach to school improvement has been used nationally.