Session 250: Modern Approaches to CPD

Thursday 30th April 2015

We’ve all seen a marked difference in the CPD which teachers receive over the last few years, with quite a few factors taking effect, such as closure of many Local Authority training departments, and emerging technologies that offer a more personalised approach to development.

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For this #UKEdChat session, we were interested in exploring how these changes are impacting (if at all) modern day training opportunities. The session asked:

  1. How do you currently meet your CPD needs?
  2. Which is better: face to face; online or in school CPD, and why?
  3. Are there any missing elements in the current CPD market that you or your school would explore?
  4. What barriers, if any, do you have to accessing relevant CPD?
  5. Are you able to influence the planning of your own CPD?
  6. If you could craft your own CPD event what would the title be?

We welcomed input from teachers and leaders from all sectors of education – even outside the UK.


The Summary:

[pullquote]Professional development is so yesterday. Now we want professional learning” Paul Crisp[/pullquote]

The session kicked off asking about how teachers currently meet CPD needs. Mark Anderson shared his philosophy, “Network. Share. Play. A lot”, yet other responses went from traditional forms of development (via Local Authority and in-school courses) to more reliance on online opportunities found via Twitter and Teachmeets.

Courses can be very useful, offering opportunities to meet other colleagues and network, but John Mitchell shared, “I rely less on my school for CPD now and rely on Twitter and the many great books written by teachers for teachers”. It does seem that Twitter has opened people to far more online opportunities, with teachers being able to pick at aspects that appeal to them, summed up well by Martin Burrett, “My CPD is a buffet. I nibble at what I need. But, sometimes it takes someone to recommend something to try something new”. We ‘personalise’ our teaching for pupils, so why not personalise CPD for teachers? Graham Newell agreed, “…all research suggests that personalised learning is important for adult learners”.

Admittedly, this discussion was held on a Twitter forum, with educators who understand the benefits of using this medium for professional development, so how is it possible to get those who ‘don’t do Twitter’ to engage and persist? Natasha Jane highlighted the approach her school offers staff, “School offers a range of high quality CPD: voluntary T&L, research and development, Twitter best for personal engagement with CPD”. The opportunities for self developed CPD are still emerging, with Andy Jessop declaring, “We are very much in the era of self-learning. If you have the motivation, there [are] plenty of resources out there for you.” One problem with these growing opportunities is finding the best and most relevant to you, a point picked up by @whatwedidinrio, “There is more CPD out there than ever before. The problem is trying to work out how it can really make a difference day to day

We conclude this section with the comments from Maryse, “I’ve learned more from Twitter than I have in all other courses put together!

The next question focused on which is better: face to face; online or in school CPD, and why? Ian Matthews felt, “Face to face every time. Needs personalisation and responsive guidance. Webinars always miss something”, but Jane Basnett asked, “Are they comparable? I think each provides for different needs” and Goriller of 3b added, “mixed methods work well-where direct teaching combined with mentoring/online/pers.study, we get furthest-reaching outcomes.” It can, of course, depend on what topic is being covered and allowing time for reflection on what has been covered remains crucial.

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There are clearly, “Benefits to each. Online, eg, anonymity allows to open up and attempt things you wouldn’t face-to-face” (Andy Jessop), and summed up neatly by Mark Anderson, “For me, it’s about blending/personalising it all. F2F for important & inspiration. Online for quick ideas/networking”. One problem can be where there is a conflict in priorities, “whilst whole school CPD is great, much is focussed on school’s priorities rather than staff’s individual needs” (Simon Johnson), with this disconnect needing recognition.

The session moved to ask whether there any missing elements in the current market that you or would explore. Andrew Davidson pointed out, “There’s not enough CPD to help careers advisors or subject teachers understand jobs that their students might go into”, and Tim Jefferson questioned, “When you’ve been on a course, how many providers have follow-up support? I see this as an area to improve, although (it) costs.

Developing the conversation, HecticTeacher argued that, “I would like to explore some f2f collaborative planning for new syllabi, you get some great ideas over coffee”, and Simon Johnson would be, “Keen to explore MOOCs in more detail but just haven’t had the time!

Maryse shared, “I like what I saw in Scotland with centralised CPD that was then disseminated in schools with local discussion groups”, but also highlighted the area of, “Health – both mental and physical – keeping healthy the teachers we have to increase retention” – (Tweet Link) Good point!

Question 4 asked, “What barriers, if any, do you have to accessing relevant CPD?” Time and money were repeated factors to this, but Jonathan Bailey went further in highlighting, “but so is a SLT’s awareness of its (CPD) benefits.Tim Jefferson added, “Time to take part and to reflect (have done more CPD in own time than inset) and money (cover/transport/fees)”. The location and accessibility of ‘quality’ training was also noted as an issue by Kieron Middleton, “distance is also a consideration. Many courses are in London and the travel costs can make a massive difference.

Pete Sanderson commented, “Effective communication between those receiving + leading CPD in school is essential for understanding the staff needs” but the conversation invariably returned to the ‘time’ problem, “it’s becoming easier with Twitter chats, TeachMeets etc. but I think time is still a huge barrier!” (James Gibbons). An interesting obstacle was noted by David Weston, “A big barrier is ‘ofsted-pleasing’. Trying to mimic ‘outstanding’ practice instead of developing real depth.

Taking control of your own CPD was the next focused question, as we asked whether you are able to influence the planning of your own CPD? Ian Matthews argued that, “The proactive teacher can always use Twitter resources to expand their development. It’s a wide world of resources” with Ross McGill agreeing, “with the introduction of social media, every teacher can now control their own CPD than ever before!” However, this seems to be limited to online networks that speak in English, as Graham Newell pointed out, “We are starting to work a lot in EU and US – on the whole, they stand amazed at how teachers in UK us Twitter to empower” – It would be fascinating to explore the complexities behind this.

The final question asked, “If you could craft your own CPD event what would the title be?” Here we go:

  • Welcome to my learning (Mark Anderson)
  • Videogames and Learning (Ian Matthews)
  • Top Tips for Tech in the Classroom (Henry Penfold)
  • Teach, Lead, Learn: CPD by Teachers for Teachers (Eoin Lenihan)
  • Listen, Learn, Lead. (Maria Alexander)
  • Giving students back ownership of thier learning through project based learning. (The Hectic Teacher)
  • If Calsberg did CPD…. 😉 (Simon Johnson)
  • Free Beer and Chocolate!* Side effects may include CPD with colleagues. (Kieron Middleton)
  • The Weekly TeachMeet – 10 minutes weekly CPD. (JEBasnett)


The Storify from the session can be found on the nextpage

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About UKEdChat Editorial 3098 Articles
The Editorial Account of UKEdChat, managed by editor-in-chief Colin Hill, with support from Martin Burrett from the UKEd Magazine. Pedagogy, Resources, Community.

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