Between marking, lesson planning and administration – making time for professional development can sometimes seem like a luxury.
For schools, staff PD should be a fundamental policy. Ross McGill, also known on Twitter as @TeacherToolkit, sums it up well:
“The schools with outstanding professional development models encourage tailored CPD (continued professional development) pathways for the individual teacher and support members of staff throughout the year – in dropdown sessions and after school groups.
“When sessions are targeted and relevant, teachers can ensure the best use of limited time. By providing practitioners with the opportunity to flag training needs in particular areas or revisit ideas, schools can allow their staff to improve self-efficacy and develop personal interests.”
But what if your school doesn’t follow this advice?
Training consultant and contributor, Susi Arnold advises educators to take control of their own development.
“Don’t just wait for your school to provide you with CPD, go out looking for it. Loads of conferences, teachmeets, eTwinning and British Council events are advertised on Twitter.
“I’ve also been to excellent sessions organised by my union. Once you’ve been to a session, follow up with reading, trying things out in your classroom and joining subject groups. Professional development will be the most engaging when you follow your interests.”
So in practice, what can you do? Here are a few quick ideas:
- Join local meet-up groups
- Take part in Twitter chats
- Seek out online professional learning resources like Participate.com
- Look outside education to find events and activities within a given area of interest – for example, there are literally hundreds of free events for people interested in technology
- Start your own professional learning community with colleagues in your town, or online
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