Is your CPD hitting the mark?
Do you know if your staff are getting what you want them to get?
For lots of teachers CPD has been a large thorn in their side. But there are reasons for the barriers: teachers feel like they are shoved into sessions that aren’t suited to them, and perhaps more importantly, they are not guaranteed to be getting quality whether they want to be there or not. It is this last point that I am going to suggest a possible solution to.
CPD Quality Control
Let’s face it, there aren’t too many schools around who can afford to provide their teachers with out of house/expert deliverers of CPD. Typically, the school reaches out to those identified as being strong in a particular area, and also willing to deliver a session. Of course teachers delivering CPD in-house need to be valued and applauded for their bravery and willingness to add to the betterment of the school; it is a large step for many a teacher to take. However, there is a great risk that despite the good intention, there may be a lack of focus in the alignment of the session to the needs of the school, and consequently, and ironically, the session could end up adding to the negative attitude towards CPD.
In considering how difficult it is to recapture motivation to participate enthusiastically in CPD once a negative experience is endured, I wonder if it would be in a school’s best interest to quality check the delivery before it is delivered on the day.
This could be done by having those in the delivery team watch each other in a pre-CPD day, armed with explicit criteria decided on by the school in terms of moving towards its core foci. This type of collaboration designed to strengthen each session would not only be a massive benefit to those delivering the sessions, by getting quality feedback from other like minded teachers, but also to those receiving the eventual improved session.
Applying technology to the situation can enhance the process even further. Lesson recording platforms such as Iris Connect provide opportunity for quality CPD sessions to be preserved for later use. Derventio Education’s School iP allows videos to be embedded on each staff member’s tracking and development plan. Both platforms open up the availability of personalised CPD, and opportunities for staff to practice the skills learnt in CPD with more frequent feedback on their progress. To me, that seems like it would significantly improve the outcomes of CPD, and serve to drive a school’s mission statement.
It may sound a little patronising to have to ‘check’ what’s being delivered, but actually, most teachers who have taken on the role of delivering CPD sessions are aware that it is a different kettle of fish compared to teaching students, and have undoubtedly had very little PD on it. Also, if the team I work with, led by the amazing @nickyhawkins, are an indication of the norm, these teachers tend to be open to feedback, and have a strong desire to improve their practice, especially from those around them with whom they identify as being excellent teachers.
Because it is different, and you don’t get that many bites at the cherry, having a few practice runs in front of peers would dramatically improve the quality of the session. It would also dramatically improve the perception of CPD in your school as teachers begin to benefit from the improvement to the quality of every session delivered, and begin to perceive CPD as ‘opportunity’. Might be worth a try?