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How can CPD be made really effective?

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Often, it seems that CPD is still seen as courses away from school.  This isn’t a problem, but what happens when the participant returns to school often is.  What happens is that the learning often stops at the end of the conference / course. It goes without saying, that for CPD to be really effective, the learning gained must be passed on and engaged with after the event has closed.

I have found that this hasn't been the case during three recent encounters with high quality CPD.  This post aims to provide three short case studies.

1. Microsoft Partners in Learning

Stuart and Kristen do a great job with the UK arm of Partners in Learning (PIL).  I got involved this time last year after being spurred on to enter their Innovative Teacher Award by a blog post by Ollie Bray. So far I have attended the UK Innovative Teaching Forum, the European Innovative Teaching Forum and the Microsoft Fun Free Friday.

I have already discussed how conversations always centred around learning rather than products at the events.  However, involvement in the PIL network makes it almost compulsive to stay involved.  I attribute this to the top personalities behind the Microsoft Education team, a main feature of which is the ability to make you feel at ease.

2. Leadership Pathways

At the end of the leadership skills day, we were asked to form peer review partnerships. The intention was to commit to making one change and then reporting to each other.  Unfortunately, in this case this method was not successful. This was because many of the participants were nearing the end of the programme, and therefore felt little compulsion to get too involved.

3. Google Teacher Academy

The most recent event that I have been involved in.  As a Google Certified Teacher, I have a peer reviewer and have to create an action plan.  The action plan is a series of events at which it is expected that I pass on some of the knowledge gained. A final reflection must be posted.

This makes participants engage further with the CPD given.

What are the implications for schools?

  • As a line manager, I need to incorporate some form of peer review and wider sharing of CPD outcomes.
  • Schools need to ensure that some form of further reflection is undertaken after CPD events.  This could be in the form of a teachmeet style session.
  • Teachers should be encouraged to keep their own on-line blogs that share their professional development adventures.

Ultimately, I like the fact that CPD requires individuals to engage with wider activities.  I also think that schemes like the RGS-IBG Chartered Geographer which require reaccreditation should become more widespread.

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