8 Things Teachers Want From CPD

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Anna Wells

Anna has an MA in Applied Linguistics and came into teaching via Schools Direct in 2013. She currently works at a prep school in Greater London teaching English and has previously been an Assistant Head, focusing on assessment. She is a self-confessed football nerd and...
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What are teachers looking for from CPD?

As the term gathers steam and heads towards the second half, teachers once again find themselves pulled in many different directions. The weekly staff meeting is packed with information and new initiatives are introduced to be implemented immediately.

How can we make sure that meetings and CPD use a teacher’s valuable time wisely? What would the ideal CPD look like and what do teachers actually want to take away from two hours of professional development? Here are my top 8 CPD wishes:

1. Diversity

A range of different activities that cater for all learning styles – death by PowerPoint is never good at 4pm on a Monday afternoon, so keeping teachers stimulated with a mixture of talking and doing always works.

Getting off your seat also helps to keep staff awake!

2. Practical Tips

Tips that you can take back to the classroom and actually use – big crazy ideas are nice and always useful to have up your sleeve in an observation, but what can you actually use day to day in the classroom? Is there a new resource to make or a way to do AfL that you haven’t thought of before? This is what teachers find the most useful.

3. Classroom Expertise

Someone running CPD who has teaching experience – whilst there are lots of educational consultants doing the rounds, the ones who garner the most respect are the ones who have history of teaching in a classroom. Preferably fairly recently, or dare I say, are still teaching…

4. Relevant and Timely

CPD that is timely and addresses a need at the school – if there is a training need at a school, booking CPD to address it gives more urgency and motivates staff to turn up and take note. Having a meeting on something irrelevant and unimportant makes the attendees more concerned about what they’re having for dinner that night.

5. Something Attention Grabbing

A video to watch is great – it might just be me, but a video clip at the beginning of a training session sucks me right in. Minimal effort, but gets the attention. I often like watching how someone uses a teaching technique in a classroom or hear children talking about something they’ve enjoyed their teacher doing with them.

6. Hard Evidence

An example of an initiative working somewhere else – backing up talk with hard evidence is an easy way to get a buy-in from cynical teachers. I once attended a CPD where the trainer encouraged us to allow children to throw paper at us; not something I would usually allow, but if I’ve seen evidence of it working and I’m more likely to give it a go!

7. Cut the Crap!

No quirky team building games; absolutely not! CPD usually takes place within a school, with a group of people who already know each other. They don’t need to spend the first 30 minutes standing on an ever-decreasing piece of paper pretending to be an iceberg.

Cut straight to the action!

8. Feed Me

Free food – teachers are easily swayed by a plate of biscuits or sweets on each table. It doesn’t take much and is an easy way to get a by-in. After a long day at the coal face, a custard cream goes down very well!

These are my must-haves for professional development, what about you?

3 thoughts on “8 Things Teachers Want From CPD

  1. Give teachers a choice!
    Provide a summary of the session….block buster movies use trailers to entice their audience, we could take something from that. There is no harm in repeating training, but if you have been teaching a while then you find the fads come round again. You should chose if you want to revisit the ‘new’ idea and not be forced into it. You should also not be forced to sit through a session that has no relevance whatsoever to the age/subject you teach.
    Food definitely works for me!
    The person delivering should preferably be teaching still. Ideally on a full time table so that they don’t have too much time on their hands to plan a loooong and boring session!

    I would love to see some honest research about how much we actually take in during a CPD session that comes straight after teaching a six session day. I am not sure there is much ‘stickability.’

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