Series:

Bob Burstow

Development National governments are increasingly looking outside their own country’s borders for examples of excellence in education. This produces a new demand on the providers of professional development. Where a brief tour of showpiece schools may be enough to inform and motivate a minister, the professionals (who will be required to assimilate, import, adapt and implement the new development) will require a visit of more length and rigor. From his experience in this field, the author recommends that visitors become proactive researchers, rather than passive observers in their host schools. In addition, host school personnel need to be analytical about their own organisation, so as to facilitate the research effectively. The outcome is driven by a need to create a meaningful experience that has the best potential for facilitating change in the longer term. Evaluation from all participants showed that the method employed allowed them to analyse leadership practice, and to check on its effectiveness throughout the school. For some the research pointed out the size of their developmental gap, while for others it inspired large scale and immediate change. For the reader, this is an introduction to a novel form of foreign exchange, where both observers and hosts were required to engage and involve themselves with an extended activity – to the mutual benefit of both parties.