CPD: ‘How our department is taking a DIY approach’

With school budgets tighter then ever, most teachers are experiencing a professional development drought. Many schools now do CPD in-house, but this is often of varying quality and is not always relevant to individual teachers. Tes reports,

Fortunately for me, I am an avid edu-Twitter geek and this lets me take a do-it-yourself approach to professional development. Running the Team English Twitter community gives me direct access to our ever-growing bank of resources and allows me to share this with thousands of other social-media-savvy teachers. I have come across many incredible blogs, ideas and books that I might otherwise not have heard of.

So what about all those teachers who aren’t able to take control of their own CPD? What can leaders do to help?

In-house CPD sessions are a good place to start, but they require careful thought. Few things are more frustrating than sitting through an hour-long session on effective questioning when what you really need help with is how to support EAL students. Whole-school sessions have their place, and when planned well, they can be incredibly useful. But what about subject-specific CPD? Do all middle leaders have the confidence to hand training over to their team?

This is the very thing I started doing this year, and it has been a huge success. We are fortunate enough to have timetabled departmental meetings, so every week since September we have come together before lunch to annotate key scenes in texts, work through all the anthology poems, look at literary theories and learn about historical context.

Before you declare that the above approach isn’t possible in your context, ask the person in charge of timetabling at your school if there is ever a period when the whole team is free – it is essentially PPA time being used to support and develop your subject knowledge. If this cannot happen, there’s no stopping you from using after-school meetings or twilights for this sort of training once the other business is out of the way.

Finally, consider cross-department collaboration if you feel the needs in your department are beyond your range of expertise.

We have learnt a lot this year about strategies for helping students memorise information by working with the history department.

Need help with supporting EAL students or ways to make grammar engaging? The MFL team does this every day. Is your department struggling to facilitate practical lessons? Ask PE, science and DT. They sometimes have kids dealing with actual fire, so I reckon they know their stuff.

Read the full article CPD: ‘How our department is taking a DIY approach’

Has your school introduced any interesting DIY CPD? Please tell us your thoughts in comments or via Twitter ~ Tamsin

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