How To Get The Most Out Of CPD

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How can you get your money’s worth from an external CPD course?

FREEDOM! You’re feeling smug because you’d have five lessons on the bounce but today you’re going on a course and you’ve got a proper coffee from a posh coffee place. You know it can’t just be a ‘jolly’ though. You need to show SLT it is value for money.

But how to make the most of it?

10 Ways To Maximise Your CPD

1. Be organised

….especially if you’re heading to a big city you don’t know. Find out how to get there, find out where it is and save it in Google Maps or print it out, get a copy of the agenda, find out if they provide lunch, wear comfy clothes and take a pen and a highlighter.

2. Do your homework

Who are these people standing in front of you telling you how to teach? Find out. Look at their websites, read their books, scroll through Twitter and watch them speak on YouTube.

Find out what their angle is and prepare questions – they will love talking to you.

3. Go with a colleague

It isn’t always viable but, when possible, go with a work-mate. Two brains remember more than one and, together, you can decide what will work best in your school. Or, on the train home, you can develop your own curriculum.

4. Find a friend

Be brave and network. This means you won’t each lunch on your own and provides another brain to bounce ideas off. Plus, they might make a valuable moderating and/or resource sharing colleague in the future.

5. Listen

Don’t write everything down. Only make 5 bullet points per speaker or 10 for the day. Use the highlighter to emphasise those that need to be actioned first or would have the most impact for little addition to your work load.

6. Ask those questions

I dare you. You might find another networking friend and you can get the best advice for your school. Plus, don’t be afraid to challenge hypotheses. Debate tends to move ideas forward.

7. When you get back

Type up, illustrate or mind-map the 5 best ideas that will move your school priorities forward and book a (short) meeting with your Head of Department or relevant SLT member to share these ideas with.

8. Plan of action

You’ve met. You’ve shared. You need to make sure something is done with these ideas so decide a plan of action to disseminate the information at the relevant time, to the relevant people and create a timescale. It might need an action or focus group to research an idea for a period of time.

9. Share with colleagues anyway

Teachers need to share their ideas so share the great ones and ask them, informally, what worked and what didn’t. Build a culture of sharing.

10. Email your new friends

Find out what’s worked and what hasn’t. Arrange to meet up (if you live locally) or to email in two weeks time to discuss another action point.

The trick to make the most of your training is to share your ideas and find out what works. If it wasn’t worthwhile (and sometimes courses aren’t work their hundreds of pounds) tell them in their evaluation. Courses worth their salt have an evaluation form – be honest. When you return, tell your HOD or SLT link and, together, decide how you could fill this gap with in-house CPD.

Victoria Jagger

Vic Jagger, a former journalist, is an English teacher, Media Studies teacher and Coach in a Yorkshire school and has taught for 7 years. Teaching and Learning is her passion and (respectfully) stealing - then sharing - ideas her skill. Deemed as the 'creative-one' amongst her colleagues, she's also on a crusade to make mindfulness just as important as marking. Loves cats and stationery - especially broad 0.8mm pens.

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