CPD is seen as key to improving teacher quality
Everyone now seems to agree that improving the quality of teachers and teaching in the classroom lies at the heart of school improvement.
Evidence from around the world illustrates that the quality of teachers is the most important factor in determining the effectiveness of a school system. It is also accepted that teachers’ development and training doesn’t stop after their initial teacher training. Becoming a good teacher should be viewed as a journey, with ITT the start point. So it’s a given that teachers require good continuing professional development throughout their careers. (see the work of Professor Dylan Wiliam, amongst others)
So what exactly is CPD?
Curee, a centre of expertise in professional development and learning for education professionals, helps us here. It identifies the Key characteristics of effective professional development and learning. It has found that the Key components of professional learning that are linked with significant benefits to staff and pupils, range through:
• drawing down targeted, usually external, specialist expertise
• giving and receiving structured peer support
• professional dialogue rooted directly in evidence from trying out new things,
• focusing on why things do and don’t work as well as how they work ie defining professional reflection as building theory and practice together
• sustained enquiry oriented learning over (usually) two terms or more;
• learning to learn from observing the practice of others
• ambitious goals set in the context of aspirations for pupils
• the use of tools and protocols to help secure coherence, sustain learning, secure depth and make evidence collection and analysis manageable and useful.
Research also shows that the best professional development is not solely about attending courses, but involves high levels of observation and feedback, sharing the practice of the best teachers. One other organisation worth watching in this area is the newly established Teacher Development Trust headed by former teacher and author David Weston