An Overview of the
Numerous research studies confirm that teaching quality has the largest in-school influence on student learning, and that high-quality professional learning can lead to improvements in student achievement.
Teaching Sprints is a team-based process for enabling the continuous development of teacher professional practices. The process supports teacher teams to define highly specific areas of student learning to improve, design evidence-informed strategies, and to collect evidence to check their impact. Through engaging in these focused, manageable and energising Sprints, teachers have an authentic opportunity to improve their practice while lifting student outcomes. This process draws on the latest research in effective teacher learning and expertise development (e.g. see Cordingley et al. 2014 & Timperley et al. 2007, Deans for Impact, 2016)
The process has been designed to be simple, relevant and manageable for already overloaded teachers and their leaders. Most of all, it is designed to be adaptable to your school context and focused on the challenges specific to your classrooms and learners.
It consists of three phases: Prepare, Sprint and Review.
During ‘Prepare’, teams engage in rich dialogue about their practice and consider relevant research to identify a precise focus for improvement work.
They then go into the ‘Sprint’ phase, where they test out their new learning through short, manageable cycles of teaching in the classroom.
A Teaching Sprint ends with explicit ‘Review’, involving the analysis of impact evidence and consideration of how to transfer new pedagogical knowledge and skills into future practice.
Come together to decide on a focus for practice improvement
In this phase, teachers:
Explore evidence-informed ideas from peers and the research base
Determine the specific changes to practice that will be trialled
Engage in disciplined dialogue to refine thinking about intended improvements
Discuss the range of evidence that could indicate the impact of the new strategies to be trialled
Deliberately practise evidence-informed strategies
Over 1 - 4 weeks, teachers make a conscious effort to:
Prioritise time to practise new teaching strategies in the classroom
Seek out and respond to high-quality peer and expert feedback to build capacity
Observe evidence of impact in the classroom
Adapt implementation of new strategies as needed
Review the evidence of impact and consider implications
In this phase, teachers:
Reflect on the efforts made to improve specific areas of practice
Talk rigorously about the observed impact of the Sprint
Draw out key lessons that have been learned and determine implications for future practice
Identify possible future professional learning interests that emerge as a result of the Sprint
Come together to decide on a focus for practice improvement.
During this first phase, teacher teams engage in disciplined dialogue about their practice and consider relevant research to identify a precise focus for their next Sprint. Teachers engage with both research-based and practice-based evidence to support them in designing small, specific changes to trial in their classroom. The key here is for teams to define a highly specific focus to intentionally improve in their craft during the Sprint practice period of 1- 4 weeks.
Deliberately practise evidence-informed strategies.
Teachers then go into the Sprint Phase, where they trial and embed their new learning through short, 1-4 week cycles of deliberate practice in the classroom. Teachers focus on applying their evidence-informed approach with their students and gather evidence about the impact. As needed, teachers also seek out peer and expert guidance to help develop their capacity in the effective use of the new strategy. Every week, Sprint teams come together for a dynamic 15 minute ‘check-in’ meeting in order to provide support, solve problems, and sustain motivation for action.
Review the evidence of impact and consider implications.
A Teaching Sprint ends with the developmental Review Phase, where educators analyse the evidence of impact, and consider how to transfer new pedagogical knowledge and skills into future practice. During this phase, teachers intentionally slow down their thinking in order to make connections and update certain beliefs, assumptions, and practices for the future. This step is crucial to the development of individual and collective expertise and efficacy. Teachers then pursue their emerging interests through new professional learning ahead of their next PREPARE meeting.