#145 Great British Bake Off meets EEF thinking
One of my lecturers at university told me that he knew he’d got it right when we started to link our learning of the technicalities of third year degree geology to food! From fruit cakes to a pint of Guinness, almost 25 years later (?!) I can still draw to mind the analogies and remember how they helped me understand theory.
So, little wonder that when considering the most recent EEF Guidance Report, Putting Evidence to Work – A School’s Guide to Implementation a culinary analogy or two spring to mind.
This valuable new guidance report aims to give schools the support they need to put evidence to work in their classrooms and implement new programmes and approaches effectively.
The report highlights how good and thoughtful implementation is crucial to the success of any teaching and learning strategy, yet creating the right conditions for implementation – let alone the structured process of planning, delivering and sustaining change – is hard.
The guidance offers six recommendations to help schools give their innovations the very best chance by working carefully through the who, why, where, when and how of managing change. They can be applied to any school improvement decision: programmes or practices; whole-school or targeted approach; internally or externally generated ideas.
The report frames implementation in four stages: explore; prepare; deliver; and sustain. It also provides guidance on how schools can create the right environment for change, from supporting staff to getting leadership on board.
So, the four phases but with a culinary Bake Off twist might be …
1. Mmmm, what shall I make? … aka the ‘explore’ phase
Think about the occasion you are baking for (.. examine the fit and feasibility of possible interventions to the school context)
- identify what it is you want to bake (.. specify a tight area of focus for improvement that is amenable to change) then,
- select a recipe you know has a strong chance of working (.. determine a programme of activity based on existing evidence of what has – and hasn’t – worked before)
- decide you’re going to give it a go (.. make an adoption decision)
2. Follow the recipe! … aka the ‘prepare’ phase
Have a good plan (.. a clear, logical and well-specified implementation plan) which includes awareness of:
- what are the (active) ingredients (.. of the intervention)
- where ingredients/equipment could be substituted without dramatically impacting the end result (.. know where to be ‘tight’ and where to be ‘loose’)
- follow a tried and tested recipe that has been proven to work previously (.. develop a targeted, yet multi-stranded, package of implementation strategies)
3. Ready, steady, bake! … aka the ‘deliver’ phase
Get baking with enthusiasm and an open mind, even when it starts to get a bit tricky (.. adopt a flexible and motivating leadership approach during the turbulent initial attempts at implementation)
- ask someone who really knows how to bake and enjoy sharing your successes and failures! (.. complement expert coaching and mentoring with structured peer-to-peer collaboration)
- get creative and innovative when you’ve perfected the recipe (.. make thoughtful adaptations only when the active ingredients are securely understood and implemented)
4. “When I cater for more people” … aka the ‘sustain’ phase
An essential element of effective implementation includes being able to sustain and scale up an innovation, so:
- go back to the start of the process before making a bigger batch (.. treat scale-up as a new implementation process)
- bask in successes, take advice and enjoy the fruits of your toils when you can (..continuously acknowledge, support, and reward good implementation practices)
Enjoy the weekend and happy baking!