For the first time in a while I feel like CPD is making an impact on my teaching. This year it has stopped me in my tracks a few times and made me think, tweak and reassess what I am doing. Since a new leadership team started at my school in September a lot of changes have been made (for the better!) and as a result CPD has focused much more on outstanding practice with an emphasis on sharing. Many members of staff have already run CPD sessions and many more waiting to deliver. The new leadership team has built an ethos which has shifted the school from focusing on WHAT and HOW we do things to WHY we do things. Focusing on the WHY has to a reflective culture in the school with staff taking more risks in lessons in order to move students forward in their learning and offer new and exciting learning opportunities.
For the last two terms in CPD sessions teachers have been working in different groups (which they opted into depending on their interest) looking at different ways to improve teaching and learning. Groups were formed for topics such as differentiation, questioning, using data, e.t.c. I have been working with a group of teachers focusing on ways to increase student enthusiasm. Working with teachers from different subject areas gives a fresh perspective on the same students but being able to choose what I wanted to investigate is very powerful indeed. Regular meetings, lesson observations, brain-storming sessions, e.t.c led to each of us coming up with something new to try in lessons in order to increase student enthusiasm for our subjects. I was specifically looking at starters and picked up some great ideas from my English and Drama colleagues about getting students to use their imagination more and tie that in with literacy. Might sound obvious, but sometimes its easy to fall into the bubble of your subject area and lose the wider perspective that is needed to develop.
The end product was three fold
1. A mini teaching conference after school in the main hall where teachers were able to walk round and see what everybody had been working on and discuss ideas – Teachers talking about teaching!
2. Best practice card was created by each group with tips, ‘quick wins’ and longer term strategies that could be tried.
3. Once a week we have a ‘teaching briefing’ for all staff which is led by teachers. Groups took it in turns to present back what they had found out.
Understanding WHY we teach and re-focusing on that has provided me with a renewed determination to give the students I teach the best possible chance of success.