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:
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?