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Opinion18th April 2018

Who are the first teachers to take on the Masters in Expert Teaching course?

Ed Butcher

Ed Butcher is the Talent & Partnerships Director at the Institute for Teaching (IfT), an Ark Venture.

Before joining the IfT, Ed most recently worked as a director at Teach for All where he helped to establish and scale new variants of the ‘Teach First’ model around the world. Prior to this he worked at Teach First for five years where he led a Growth and Transformation team. Ed is a qualified secondary teacher.

At the Institute for Teaching we have a single purpose: to help teachers to keep getting better.

We are fascinated by what it means to be an expert in other performance professions, and we’ve studied how pilots, elite athletes and surgeons hone and master their craft. Expertise in these disciplines demands both rigour and fluency, and teaching is no different.

Our Masters in Expert Teaching course teaches participants to develop informed and intentional approaches to key components of teaching, including curriculum & assessment and pupil development.

This month we welcomed a group of 25 teachers from around the country to London for three days to begin Module One of the course. So, what can we tell you about this intrepid group of teachers?

The raw willpower to improve their craft on a daily basis has been inspiring for all of us. Last week I spoke with a secondary teacher who spends his PPA time planning lessons whilst sat at the back of his colleagues’ classes, picking up and embedding their best tactics and ideas. Initially an experiment a year ago, he now spends all of his non-contact time around the school, sampling the best that he can find.

Another teacher, 19 years into his career, feels more motivated than ever to be at the top of his game. While his own children attend band practice at the weekend, he carves out time to focus on his development as a teacher.

Across town in West London, and only a few years into her career, a primary teacher has learned that ‘leaving school at school’ leads to the biggest gains in her own mindset and teaching.

This appetite for improvement – clear to see in all of our 25 teachers – is no mean feat when we consider that they are operating at the very limit of their personal capacity every day. Although most had considered a Masters before, the feasibility and impact of extended research and writing assignments had put them off. Their message to us was clear – help them to focus only on the things that will make the biggest difference to their daily performance, and protect them from low-impact, time intensive content. We have taken this on board!

Our Masters course is designed to align with the busy working lives of teachers. It gives participants access to a cohort of like-minded peers and our faculty of leading teacher educators.

You should consider taking the course if you:

When we asked our participants what most excited them about taking the course, one remarked “Getting better at teaching kids who I’ve known for a long time – they deserve it”. We’re already so inspired by the commitment and vision of our first cohort – it’s going to be an exciting journey together.

A version of this blogpost originally appeared on the IfT website. You can find out more about the Masters in Expert Teaching course, including details of the next intake, here.