Last week I wrote about some of the appalling CPD I have attended and suggested that the silver lining of otherwise horrendous school budget cuts could be that these kinds of training events stop. Of course I am not suggesting that professional development should stop, so what should replace it?
I have found that the best professional development I have had over the last couple of years has come from things I have found for myself. It started with reading the excellent Making Every Lesson Count by Shaun Allison and Andy Tharby. A brilliant book that made me consider what I do and how I do it. My leadership was developed by reading and reflecting on Andy Buck’s Leadership Matters and The Middle Leaders Handbook by James Ashmore and Caroline Clay. I developed my curriculum after reading Summer Turner’s wonderful Curriculum and Assessment Design and am now devouring Daisy Christodoulou’s Making Good Progress as I start to change our assessment model.
I have also developed as a professional by engaging more in the research on learning, firstly through books like Daniel T Willingham’s Why Don’t Children Like School? And from reports like Hattie and Timperley’s work on Feedback. Education research has never been more accessible thanks to things like #ResearchEd (on twitter and through their conferences) and now with The Chartered College of Teaching giving its members access to thousands of journals as well as its own peer reviewed journal – Impact. TES has increasingly been focusing on evidence informed practice with an excellent article by Nick Rose today.
Other CPD has taken place by attending TeachMeets (Durrington’s one last year and a LeadMeet organised by United Learning last term) and through meeting and collaborating with teachers in my own school. I have developed as a professional by meeting with fellow Heads of Geography at our East Sussex Hub to moderate work, compare assessment design and discuss transition. When I can’t attend meets and conferences I can usually watch them online at a time of my choosing – like this fascinating one on assessment organised by the College of Teaching.
My professional development this year has largely been in my own hands and my teaching has benefitted from it. Of course, not everyone has the luxury to spend time dedicated to their own CPD outside of school and I do think that we have a right, and a need, to in-school time dedicated to this. I hope to see, and am already seeing, more INSET days organised much as I have organised my own training over the year. More sessions with a choice of what to sign up to, more time to read and discuss, people sharing what they have read and what they have tried. Schools supporting people with an afternoon off to attend a TeachMeet or a conference. Most external providers are simply excellent (you’d hope) teachers moonlighting by providing training on the side. Find the talent residing in your own school, MAT or area network and exploit it.
These things have been more effective and more efficient in professional development than the previous 13 years sat in a hall staring glumly as someone talks me through their 199 slide PowerPoint. Let’s reclaim our profession and our professional development.