Dylan Wiliam: ‘Every Teacher Can Improve’

In The Confident Teacher by Alex Quigley10 Comments

I watched a short video of Dylan Wiliam giving a talk to teachers yesterday through Zoe Elder’s blog – see here.

I thought the short extract was so good and such a positive way to begin the new year, and the new school term, that I transcribed it in full here:

“I think the only way that we can improve teacher quality is to create a culture of continuous improvement. That is given lip service in many districts, but nobody is really facing up to what it really means in practice. You see, I think that every teacher needs to get better. In many districts they target help at the teachers who “need support”, who need help, who are having difficulties.

Every teacher fails on a daily basis. If you are not failing you are just not paying attention. Because we fail all the time.

Many of you will walk out of this room absolutely convinced I said stuff I know I didn’t say. As teachers we fail all the time. We teach these brilliant lessons. We take in the notebooks and look at what the kids have written and we wonder what planet they were on when we were teaching the stuff.

Our daily experience as a teacher is a failure. Which makes it the best job in the world. Because you never get any good at it. At one time, André Previn was the best paid film-score composer in Hollywood and one day he just walked out of his office and quit. People said ‘why did you quit this amazing job?’ And he said – because I wasn’t scared any more. Every day he was going into his office knowing his job held no challenge for him.

This is something you are never going to have to worry about. This job you’re doing is so hard that one lifetime isn’t enough to master it. So every single one of you needs to accept the commitment to carry on improving our practice until we retire or die. That is the deal.”




  1. Pingback: Inspiration for a grey January! | Teacher Geeking

  2. The man’s an idiot. He says nothing of any value and is regularly behind the times. He is so typical of the people who milk education through the guise of being an expert.

    1. Author

      That is one perspective – one I disagree with! If you come up with any evidence for the idiocy then let me know.

  3. Pingback: Dylan Wiliam: ‘Every Teacher Can Improve’ | HuntingEnglish | The Echo Chamber

  4. Pingback: Failing = fun | ontheteachingedge

  5. Pingback: ORRsome blog posts to kick start the new year 2014! | high heels and high notes

  6. Pingback: John Hattie on School Leadership | HuntingEnglishHuntingEnglish

  7. Pingback: Show me your effect size! John Hattie – School Leadership

  8. Pingback: Being Naff | naffteacher

  9. Pingback: John Hattie on School Leadership | The BB2 Collaborative

Leave a Reply to Alex Quigley Cancel reply