We’ve probably all read that quote by Dylan Wiliam,
“Every teacher needs to improve, not because they are not good enough, but because they can be even better.”
Dylan Wiliam keynote speech at the SSAT Conference
Teacher professional development, CPD or professional learning, is an area that everyone seems to agree is important, yet there seems to be a block when it comes to actually allowing teachers the time and money to engage in it.
But given that the Department of Education has caught on; setting out exactly what was needed way back in 2016:
High-quality professional development requires workplaces to be steeped in rigorous scholarship, with professionals continually developing and supporting each other so that pupils benefit from the best possible teaching.
And Ofsted have put it front and centre in their latest framework
“leaders focus on improving staff’s subject, pedagogical and pedagogical content knowledge to enhance the teaching of the curriculum and the appropriate use of assessment. The practice and subject knowledge of staff are built up and improve over time”
The education inspection framework 2019
So if everyone is behind it, the question is why do so many teachers complain that they are not getting the Professional Development that they want? Part of this maybe that many of us are not sure exactly what it looks like, and how can to go about doing it. Where exactly are you on the road to? What does ‘better’ look like? And how can you get the training and input to achieve it?
Career development in education has often been seen as one of moving into leadership, but as this has become a less attractive career path and counterproductive as it tends to move you away from the classroom. Alternative approaches have been tried down the years; Advanced Skills Teachers, Lead teachers and Specialist Leaders of Education have been toyed with, but they all seem to work on the principal of doing ‘extra’ and often spending less time in your own classroom. A gap remains for the wider development of classroom teachers staying in their classroom, yet developing their career.
Keynote are endeavouring to fill this gap, we are developing clear subject specific training pathways through our concepts of effective and expert teacher courses. Offering a range of course, conferences and webinars to meet teachers’ needs and trying to connecting experts with teachers. The evidence about good quality professional development is that it needs to be wanted by the practitioner, at the correct level and is best delivered within the context of subject and the nuances each subject brings. The role of an expert is also valuable in supporting teachers to accelerate their progress as they can access key information and skills directly to the teacher without, the teacher wasting years discovering these lessons by trial and error. Strangely for a profession dedicated to education, we have failed to apply what we know in teaching students to our own professional development.
Teachers need to claim their right to Professional Development, including time to do it and some financing to support it. Take control of your professional reviews by identifying your own training needs and courses, below is a very brief guide on how to do this.
Confidence in delivering content, knowledge of content, knowledge of assessment criteria, exam performance, succeeding with a particular group (this may be top, middle and bottom or by some other metric)
Identify source of training/support:
Is there a specific course, are their other colleagues how have expertise in this field, research – reading and online.
Become a reflective practitioner, how will you implement what you have learnt on your course, from colleagues, via research. What will you do differently and how will you sustain this
How will you measure the impact, what would improvement look like, during and at the end (student outcomes)
Repeat the cycle.
Why not browse some of our courses to see if Keynote can be part of the solution. Remember professional development is an expectation not an add on!