The id of critical friend ...

Over many years I have increasingly become more involved in the quality assurance processes of schools, colleges and universities. As an examiner, quality reviewer and external examiner.

Often I witness a trail of destruction and woe, left by external souls witlessly nit picking their way through the efforts of an educational establishment with no regard to the impact.

Rather than being a critical friend, they consider themselves to be bastions of quality.

The id of critical friend is based on grace and experience. Going in guns blazing means that wherever you visit, will fight back, offer resistance or effectively ignore what you have to say. It is always easy to blame the external.

Taking the time to listen, advise and consider good practice creates a more responsive relationship with any organisation. In my experience they tend to take on board what you have to say and change their practice.

In fact I tend to find that the centres I visit tend to be more forthcoming and let you know what is actually happening rather than some rhetoric based on a false notion of quality.

If you are an educator/academic and thinking of becoming involved in the external assessment of other academic/educational institutions. Think carefully about what you wish you id to be and how you intend to engage with those in need of help not critical analysis.

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