Exploring professional knowledge-building through an inter-school visits programme
This paper explores the learning arising from a pilot inter-school visits programme in Stevenage, Hertfordshire. Teachers from two schools undertook a series of visits with the aim of developing learning and teaching in their schools. The pilot sought to understand ways in which such a collaborative visits programme could be used to build professional knowledge across school boundaries. It suggests that such knowledge- building is the precursor to a change of practice. An investigation of the literature reveals potential issues in making tacit knowledge visible and in recording teachers’ learning so that it can contribute to a developing professional knowledge base. The paper discusses how these issues manifested themselves in practice and offers a framework for professional learning visits which underlines the continuous nature of professional learning, the need for reflection to decode what has been learned and the need for active and continuing participation by host and visitor in order to effect a change in practice. It concludes by considering the challenges of a full visits’ programme and how such a programme may be used to strengthen teachers’ capacity for innovation.