Where to Start?

How to start developing outstanding teachers

Outstanding teachers are exhibiting known and learnable behaviours.  It takes time to learn them and model them consistently but the process to get there is reliable and the educator’s own well-being develops in parallel. There are benefits from day one.

So, where to start?

Do you take your most competent teachers and provide them with the understanding and support for them to gradually shift to become outstanding, and having the sorts of lifelong impact that such teachers can have on their students?

Or do you start with middle leaders, so that they can not only model the new behaviours with their students but with their colleagues as well?

Do senior leaders need to model these behaviours for them to get traction within a school?

What of current outstanding teachers – about 5% of staff in an average school – what role can they play in stimulating and supporting this change?


The change must start somewhere, where there is the best chance of success and it must be sustained, probably over several years.

I once ran focus groups with students and asked them how they would respond to an outstanding teacher.  They were clear and immediate in their response: we will go out of our way not to disappoint or let down such a teacher – no discipline problems, self-motivation to do the work.

I then asked what about a teacher who used not to be like that but then changes, then what would you do?  After a moment’s conferring together, they responded: once we know it is genuine we will act as we would with any teacher like that – no discipline problems, self-motivation to do the work.

So, where to start?

John Corrigan is an expert in helping individuals to bring their whole of mind to their daily life and increase their effectiveness and the effectiveness of those around them. This expertise scales from the individual to the team to the organisation. At the core of this work is the practice of encounter.  Earlier blogs can be found here.

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John Corrigan