Last year we covered some important topics in our Teaching and Learning meetings – topics included behaviour management, autism, library resources, personalising CPD, differentiation etc. Some of these sessions featured an expert speaker and were really useful in providing new ideas and knowledge. For other sessions, though, I was left with the uneasy feeling that perhaps the top-down delivery with me standing at the front and talking wasn’t the best way to ensure teacher engagement…!
With this concern at the back of my mind, attending Pedagoo London provided some useful insights: Daniel Harvey (@danielharvey9) talked about facilitating action research through a collaborative CPD model, whilst Jude Enright (@judeenright) spoke about staff collaboration and sharing of ideas as part of Greenford High’s whole-school approach to improving T&L. The general theme was summed up by Keven Bartle (@kevbartle) who said ‘Do less, collaborate more’.
Armed with these new ideas I followed them up by reading about Shaun Allison’s Learning Development Groups and Dylan Wiliam’s Teacher Learning Communities. It seems that, whilst a more collaborative CPD model can take some time for everyone to get used to, ultimately it can become a powerful tool in improving teaching and learning, and a springboard for other initiatives – observation buddying, mentoring, research projects, etc. etc.!
September 2014 sees the launch of Professional Learning Groups (PLGs) at Radnor House. I hope that these will make CPD more relevant, accessible and enjoyable. We will still have the occasional expert-led twilight session, but the vast majority of our T&L time will be delivered in this collaborative format. Fingers crossed it works well, do get in touch if your school uses a similar model or you have any thoughts.