Keeping up to date – CDP!

As a teacher sometimes training or professional development are simply the last things on your mind. Who has time to think about and plan their own progress – the truth is you are always so concerned with the progress of your students and your day to day pressures it is an issue that is often overlooked and poorly or not planned at all.

So when the opportunity does arise many teachers think ‘wow – a chance to simply breathe!’ and the importance of such days that haven’t been planned for take either take you by surprise or pass you by. Now we know that’s not the case for everyone but it is an issue and if we are honest we all would much rather be getting on with marking, planning and the hundreds of other tasks that we have to do! We understand that continuing professional development (CPD) is an integral part of teaching and because only a continuing learning and training assures a high level of expertise and enables us teachers to keep their professional skills and knowledge up-to-date. Therefore it should not be regarded as obligatory task. With fields as Design Technology, Science and engineering evolving and innovating rapidly and students living and learning in very different ways CPD becomes vital not only to keep up date or informed but to challenge one’s own practice in and out of the classroom.

There are lots of ways CPD can take place and it doesn’t have to be in traditional inset practices but as with new technologies enabling students to learn and develop it is important not to forget that this can be the applied to teachers too. It is important to improve communication with your neighbouring schools so you can improve your practice or you can help them improve theirs. Either way you are learning – either learning a skill or pedagogical approach that pushes you to be better or you are learning to train and lead others around you. Why just leave it at neighbouring schools – why not connect with schools and individuals you see in social media doing the things you aspire to do. You will be surprised at how many people are willing to help, recommend and simply support by sharing.

We all know that going on a cpd course is becoming more and more difficult but we also know that it can be hit and miss when it comes to courses – quality of content, delivery and cost are all things to consider but also if once you have surpassed the above barriers and the course then doesn’t provide the results required it can seem like a total waste of time and effort. Having spoken with so many teachers I know how disengaged it can leave you when the provider has not met the expectations. Another issue related to engagement in these courses is also dependant on whether the member of staff has been given the autonomy to select a desired course in the first place.

Now online cpd seems to be more advantageous than traditional cpd as access and cost are reduced. There is a readiness from SLTs for a number of reasons but the main one I feel is that it stops disruption of the school day. Online courses and materials can be of great value and with new technologies it is no longer a case of just reading something on your own and being expected to implement it.

Another key to cpd can also be national events, exhibitions or conferences! Now I can here you say just like courses they have implications of cost, cover, travel etc etc. Yes, you are right but you have the flexibility to build your own practical CPD at events by picking the workshops you attend planning the stands and talks you will visit. There is usually such an array of activities going on that you can simply pick and choose what is most relevant to your development. The other key to attending such events is the networking – you just don’t who you might meet! I remember many years ago at a DT conference event I sat post the event speaking with a lady having a coffee and not knowing who she was. It turned out she was the Head of James Dyson Foundation and I ended up working with them for many years and was given so many opportunities to test and become involved with their education programme. I was also offered a fabulous role with them when she moved on!

To conclude this blog – I would like you all to think of yourselves as your own students, to give yourself the time and necessary opportunities to become better by learning and growing. Give yourselves and your development the same importance as the development of you students – challenge yourselves and seek out opportunities that will be beneficial to you! Those of you who are already doing this maybe attending the BETT show this coming week at the Excel so I have put together some tips that might help you make the most of the event. I have visited the BETT show for around 10 years and it is an event that can provide so much for you but you can get lost in the sheer enormity of the show also.

Click on the link below to download the pdf and be sure to come and visit me on the Kapture8 stand C480.

Downloadable PDF