Teachers don’t get out enough

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I’m prepared to admit that the usual CPD in schools does nothing for me. An expensive speaker may be energetic and enthuse me but little time is usually given to discuss and implement ideas. Working with the same colleagues over and over in school gives a chance to get to know them but rarely do I pick up new ideas.This may, you think, be because I’m arrogant. However, I believe, there is a more deep explanation…

Teachers don’t get out enough.

This year has been a revelation for my CPD. I have stolen, adapted, been enthused, laughed, cringed, debated, shared and developed without being in school. Online sources and a particularly good SSAT programme have shown me that getting out and seeing what other people do can….

In particular my CPD this year has come from…

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Twitter – some inspirational and some controversial but all make me think (#UKedchat & #SLTChat in particular).

#TeachMeet – bizarrely I haven’t been to one. I’ve watched them live or recorded on YouTube. CPD by teachers, for teachers. I once listened to one live whilst driving. Better than local radio.

Webinars– provided by NCSL and others. Sitting at the dinner table eating tea and listening to people is THE new way for CPD to be accessed.

Working with local colleagues – I’m a lead practitioner in Suffolk for RE and AfL and in these roles I get to meet with some highly respected and inspirational colleagues. These people give me new perspectives.

I am in total awe of the colleague who teaches students with profound disabilities and am inquisitive and excited when I see my Ofsted inspector colleague who tells me seemingly small but such important anecdotes.

I’ve thoroughly enjoyed visiting an RE colleague’s classroom and stealing all her ideas. And from that, obviously causing a stir talking about education in her staffroom at lunch time!

Also working with a T&L colleague in a local school developing and sharing ideas and hopefully running our own #Teachmeet on marking and feedback in the Autumn term.

In fact it was one of the AfL colleagues that brought me to Twitter for which I am very grateful.

SSAT Leading Outstanding Schools programme – a simple idea. You visit four schools deemed to be ‘Outstanding’ by Ofsted. These were such eye opening days. They made it look so easy! It’s an expensive course but doesn’t need to be. What if local schools did their own programme? Is this what we should be doing?

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Why does this CPD work?

* You’re away from distractions and day-to-day in-school pressures.

* It fits in with your lifestyle. You can choose when to access it. You can multi-task.

* You meet people you never would have met with traditional CPD. More people = more ideas

* These people have chosen to attend/take part/Tweet. They’re interested in education by definition.

* New ideas are fresh. Ideas are relevant. Debate is current.

So, I think teachers need to get out there. Visit other schools. Go to a local colleague’s classroom. Get involved in a Twitter debate. Watch/ present at a TeachMeet. Make new friends from different educational contexts. This CPD has the potential to significantly change you as a teacher.

And the beauty is, it’s all free.

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