John’s 4th puzzle demands a great deal of thought and is better addressed by people with a greater grasp of change forces and leadership than me. But here’s my take:

It takes time for understanding to be internalised and embedded: learning is about the move from not-understanding to developing cognition, then to metacognition and finally to an automatic grasp of the concept. The spiral continues at a more profound level. (‘unconscious incompetence, conscious incompetence, conscious competence, unconscious competence’, Covey). Understanding is demonstrated through experiencing, discussion, teaching and doing: it is an active not a passive performance.
And this is as true for teachers, local authorities, central policy makers and ITE too. We all need to take action and risk making mistakes, while being conscious that our pupils only get one shot. We must respect their need for security, coherence and continuity.


However, the impact of such policies as
Assessment is for Learning has had a remarkable and significant impact over a relatively short time. Even 5 year olds routinely discuss learning intentions and success criteria with enthusiasm and understanding. They love to be ‘tickled pink’ by constructive feedback and are aware that ‘green’ tips for ‘growth’ means they can do a better job another time.
The success of these strategies shows how the combination of a government initiative propelled by practitioners can create real and lasting change in teachers’ practice, sense of empowerment and zeal for their job.

So mostly, the process of change must be incremental if it is to be lasting and deep and not just innovation; but occasionally there is that ‘Ah Ha!’ moment when top-down and bottom-up meets to create a dynamic and powerful shift in practice.

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