Tag Archives: CPD

What Makes Effective CPD by @Mrobert90Matt

I am so appreciative of the senior leadership of my school. They have given me the opportunity to undertake a course of study on a NPQML course. Recently I began a Leading and Developing Staff module where I have been questioning my practice around how to support those I have responsibility for so they can develop in their roles.

One focus in particular was the use of CPD and how is it made more effective. I have been teaching for 2 years and, like many of you, I have seen world-class inspiration and extremely uncomfortable lectures. It may seem obvious to state but the better the CPD a teaching team has then teaching and learning will improve. In fact Stoll, Harris and Handscomb (2012) affirmed “It seems obvious to state that great professional development is fundamental to great pedagogy.”

However, great CPD does not just entertain, engage or keep a teaching staff busy on other things. The whole purpose of continuous professional development must be to enact change. In the few trainings I have delivered one of the main things I try to do is leave an action or a challenge for the participants because otherwise, what would the point be? Bubb & Earley, (2007:4) identify how key getting staff to take on questioning and changing of practice when they said “…an ongoing process encompassing all formal and informal learning experiences that enable all staff in schools, individually and with others, to think about what they are doing, enhance their knowledge and skills and improve ways of working so that pupil learning and wellbeing are enhanced as a result… creating opportunities for adult learning, ultimately for the purpose of enhancing the quality of education in the classroom.” So, effective professional development must encourage staff to enhance knowledge and skills which will then have an impact on all areas in the classroom.

In order to ensure I am able to provide effective continuous professional development, I have researched into key characteristics of effective professional development and here is a list which may be useful:

1. Effective professional development starts with the end in mind
I have found this is most effective for a whole school. When the staff meeting dates and agendas are set terms in advance, it allows school leaders to strategically plan for the optimal times for each CPD session. The best CPD strategic planning takes busy times in the year to account (such as Parents Evenings, report deadline, assessment deadlines etc) and plans the more urgent or potentially powerful objectives away from those times. Planning with the end in mind.

2. Effective professional development challenges thinking as part of changing practice.
As mentioned before, this has to be present in my opinion. If the process of challenging thinking is not present, then the teacher’s may have well just marked there never-ending piles of books in that time. Whilst it is partly the teacher’s responsibility to take on the challenge to open their minds and accept the challenge to change, the provider of the CPD must be enticing and engaging enough to persuade the teachers (those open to challenging their practice and those not so open) to challenge their own thinking.

3. Effective professional development is based on the assessment of individual and school needs.
The most effective CPD is based on school development points. This is made even more effective as the staff are involved in at least knowing what those development points are because they then know it is something of importance for the development of the school.

4. Effective professional development involves connecting work-based learning and external expertise.
I had to learn what this was initially. Simply, work-based learning is defined as opportunities to learn in-school, by shadowing, interning or taking small-scale project leadership. Therefore, effective CPD uses both in-school training and external speakers and expertise. This blend of effective relationship and knowledge building between staff and from the best experts creates a vibrant, exciting professional development timetable. I think the best CPD on its own are chances staff have to share ideas and things that have worked well but that does not mean school’s should not invest in expertise – but preferably from deliverers who are not out of touch from the rigour and demands of today’s classroom teachers.

5. Effective professional learning opportunities are varied, rich and sustainable.
As teachers we are expected to make learning varied, rich and sustainable in our classrooms. We are scrutinised, supported and expected as part of our job role to enthuse our learner To do this, and then go on a Tuesday afternoon to a CPD session planned by the strategic leaders of our school that does and is the opposite I can imagine seems demoralising, time-wasting and hypocritical. Fortunately I am not in a school like that – I look forward to our CPD sessions and that is because the opportunities are rich. One week we have a hands-on Computing input by our passionate Computing lead, then a paradigm-shifting session on Whole Class Guided Reading by our English Lead and then a serious but equally important session on Safeguarding lead by the Head. All of this is shared on our school website to the staff, parents and even pupils so all know that we are engaged in valuable and varied CPD.

6. Effective professional development uses action research and enquiry as key tools.
In presenting CPD, it is important to include research. This gives the focus of the professional development more authority and is therefore more likely to have an impact on the teacher’s practice. As an example, when I was planning my project for my NPQML, I located a Case Study which confirmed that in at least 6 other educational settings, the initiative I wanted to implement had an impact. When I was able to share this with the SLT and later the teaching staff, I felt more confident that this would work and they seemed to take even more notice, being influenced by the research behind the approach which they could then see a model on how to apply.
 

7. Effective professional development is strongly enhanced through collaborative learning and joint practice development.
#PrimaryRocks – nuff said! Perfect embodiment of this point.

8. Effective professional development is enhanced by creating professional learning communities within and between schools.
Whilst I have my views on schools becoming multi-trust academies, there is a massive benefit that cannot be ignored. Schools within an academy trust are even more likely to share good practice because they have a vested interest in the academy chain. Yes this should happen within the Local Authority system but from what I’ve seen, in a world where pressure is being ever placed on individual schools to perform, this causes most schools to withdraw in to focus on pushing their performance higher, with little time remaining to share excellent practice.

9. Effective professional development requires leadership to create the necessary conditions.
This is key. Without a visionary leadership, devoted to the development of their staff, then quality CPD will not be high on the agenda in a busy school. I could be wrong in saying this but the leadership in a school should have staff as the priority, not the children. The reason I suggest this thought is that once the staff are well-provided for by the leadership in the school, the staff then make the children their absolute prority and as they are the ones leading the front line in quality teaching and learning, this will be pivotal.

What are your thoughts? Do you agree with this list or would you question something? Would you add anything?

NQT Resolutions by @Mroberts90Matt

So, as I come to the end of my 3rd week as a ‘real’ teacher, I finally got some time to read some blog posts which I haven’t done for a while. I saw this post by another NQT which sets out some resolutions for their NQT year. I thought this idea was excellent and so, decided to join in and create my own. The reason being that in reading their resolutions, I felt the desire to meet those resolutions too as they are really good. So my reasons are twofold – one, foot my own record and target setting and two, if any other NQT comes across this them hopefully it’ll inspire them to do some too!
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1. Keep my home-work life balanced
I am convinced that if I do this all year then all things will eventually fall into place. My wife and son have been great supports and inspirations to me during my Initial Teacher Training years and they will be so for years to come. We are expecting our second child mid-October so, whilst it certainly won’t get easier, this goal will be vital for my performance at work to be at its best and my health 😉

2. Keep on top of marking
With all the things I will need to get done as an NQT, the one that has been a bug bear with me in the past is marking children’s books. In my view it is one of the things that, if not done right, can be the biggest waste of a teacher’s time. So, of course, to do it right requires a bit more care, effort and (you guessed it) time! Fortunately I’ve found, and been authorised to use, a method which was brought to my attention in a series of excellent summer blog posts by @LearningSpy who referenced it to Joe Kirby’s blog (sharing good practice or what)! Basically on Friday I marked a set of 30 Maths books in 20 mins – and I have a feeling that it will have a greater impact on them than a couple of short, quickly put down comments from me ever would. Take a look!

3. Don’t get TOO involved
For my specialism at University I took Computing. It was actually a choice that I was forced into, but I am so glad I did! I probably would not be blogging/tweeting as a teacher if I did not! However, at my school it is common knowledge that no one knows about Computing…sure, great for my future prospects but not this year please! I’ve already been assured by my Head that I will not be asked to take an further responsibilities (this year), but there is an RQT who has taken the responsibility. She has already asked if I would want to work with her on a Computing Club she’s started. A few months ago I might have said yes. However, after sage advice and experience of full time teaching, I declined. I may well take the offer up MUCH later in the year but as an NQT, I know I need to focus on getting things as right as I can in my classroom before committing to wider responsibilities.

4. Keep up my blog, professional and class
I’ve not been doing so well on this one, but only 2 and a bit weeks since my last post isn’t too bad, right? I am aiming to post once a week still on my blog and (hopefully) keep up my Teacher Voice Weekly Polls but I’ll see how that goes. If you get the chance take a look and vote, I’d really appreciate it.

5. Have Fun!
I am in this for the long haul. I do not want to become a burnt out, fatigued teacher but a vibrant, inspirational educator. It will not be easy, I know. Just because I have got through my first few weeks as an NQT unscathed and, honestly, feeling confident does not mean it will be all smooth sailing. I have my first lesson observation on Thursday…feeling a bit nervous! However, as I remember to enjoy the career, hopefully I’ll be able to accomplish this resolution!

There will probably be more thoughts as I plod along, however, if I can keep these things going in my NQT Year, I’ll be satisfied. Anything more, such in sure there will be, it’s going to be a great year!
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photo credit: Nina Matthews Photography via photopin cc

photo credit: Homes and Dreams via photopin cc

Teacher Voice Weekly Poll w/b 18th August 2014

Another Monday, another Teacher Voice Weekly Poll! Quick word on last week – 87.5% of the votes stated that Ofsted were right to end grading lessons in their inspections. To be honest that is consistent with the majority view I’ve been finding across the Twitter/blogosphere, so probably the first week where I’ve not been surprised! If you want to vote on any of the existing polls you are more than welcome, just look at the Weekly Poll category and they’re all there and available!

How do you improve your flight professionally?
How do you improve your flight professionally?

This week Weekly Poll is based on continuous professional development. It’s a question which, once again, I think will generate quite a bit of discussion and differing views. As such, I have given the option in this poll to add your own answer if you think there is a more appropriate answer as I’m aware I will not have covered all the options in the selection choices. So, what is the most effective method of CPD?

Obviously, as I stated there are probably many answers that could be given here! Whether you’re a school leader or not, we all engage in CPD. What have you used to develop others that has worked well? What have you engaged in that was memorable CPD which influenced your practice? All views are extremely appreciated and please don’t forget to share the Teacher Voice Weekly Poll with others to increase the volume of teachers’ voices across the globe.

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