The Pull Approach

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ESIA is introducing a “pull” rather than “push” approach in the modernization of school innovation, teaching and teacher professional development programmes. ESIA will highlight and promote best practices in various fields, e.g. teaching science by inquiry, multi-disciplinary teaching, STEAM, etc. This process is crucial to identify and chart the course into the future.

By building on the best of current practice, ESIA aims to take us beyond the constraints of present structures of schooling toward a shared vision of excellence. ESIA is presenting exemplary teaching practices, resources and applications that provide teachers (and their students) with experiences that enable them to achieve scientific literacy, criteria for assessing and analysing students’ attainments in science and learning opportunities.

There is plenty of evidence pointing to the difficulty of empowering teachers to engage in innovation, especially in tightly accountable systems based on performance targets. In education, there is no shortage of energy and expertise, and certainly no lack of commitment amongst teachers. How could we support them, and give them the creative space and incentives they need to be innovative? What sort of interventions could both release professional imagination, whilst encouraging work that is disciplined and system relevant? How can the system learn from the resultant innovation and its process characteristics so that these can be taken to scale? How can busy, performance-driven teachers become aware of approaches and techniques which are emerging in other sectors – private and voluntary, as well as across public services more widely?

It is enormously difficult in practice to be fully alert to developments and methods outside one’s “zone of operation” (and sometimes even within it) which offer improvement potential. Some teachers do manage to scan other horizons for ideas with transfer potential. How far can this be done on their behalf, to shortcut the investment of time, and optimize the scope for adaptation?

Such an approach holds a great potential as it is enabling all stakeholders (teachers, teachers’ trainers, curriculum developers, policy-makers) to examine their own practices in the light of the best performing approaches that set the standards on what can be achieved and provides them with a unique tool to bring about improvements in their everyday practice.

ESIA will collaborate closely with teachers to develop a set of support services which help schools and teachers to implement the necessary changes, to develop the diagnostics and intervention skills necessary to plan and diffuse innovation in their own contexts. An effective training approach will provide the starting point for equipping teachers with the competences they need to act successfully as change agents, developing a language/terminology necessary to describe the dynamics of change processes, and making them able to recognize different forms of resistance and addressing it in their own context. At the same time, it will provide a common

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