Unit 3 summary

Last week we talked about CPD. We reflected on what and who have influenced our professional development. We also discussed criteria for selecting teachers to facilitate CPD in an institution.

Opening up participants’ previous experience

We did the career pathways activity- an interesting  GTKY task  which I also read in the Trainer Development book recently (page 65)! Definitely worth stealing!

Think of turning points, people , courses, books that have influenced you and draw your pathway as you see it.

It made us think about our development, the progress we’ve made as well as find out about each other’s previous experiences, struggles and successes. A keeper!

The criteria for a teacher in charge of CPD:

What are the criteria for selecting a teacher from within or outside your school to take special responsibility for CPD?

I hadn’t thought that a degree in counselling can be useful but my peers’ comments made me reflect on it. An interview we watched with a trainer who has a background in psychotherapy, also convinced me that since the challenge of giving feedback is to say what we want to say without hurting teacher, knowledge of psychotherapy can help.

Photo by cottonbro from Pexels

There was also a general consensus that one doesn’t need to be outgoing, just professional and with good communication skills. Not all teachers/ trainers are extroverts, but that does not mean they can’t perform well.

We agreed that ability to motivate others and experience running CPD sessions are also essential.

Finally, my peers reminded me that teacher-led CPD is the most motivating. Teacher groups, informal meetings to discuss critical incidents or share activities, opportunities to run their own sessions, is something that should be encouraged.

CPD Resources

We had a look at some useful links. Here are the ones I bookmarked:

Teachers TV

Valéria Benévolo França’s blog

The Teacher Trainer Journal – A practical journal for those who train, mentor and educate TESOL teachers (tttjournal.co.uk)

We added an extra resource. I added Sandy Millin’s useful training links and as Nik Peachey’s website was mentioned, I shared eltplanning’s post Working with Peachey Publications.

When talking about CPD, the term IPD came up -irregular professional development. The C in CPD (continuous) is not realistic, as we are all struggling with our own issues and it’s impossible to be constantly motivated to develop professionally!

An insightful article.

Integrating teacher learning: the school-based follow-up Development Activity (Waters and Vilches)

I’m taking away the seminar island metaphor.

The authors beautifully described INSET courses as a resort, where teachers go on holiday, away from work. They engage in fascinating group discussions, load up on ideas.. But when it’s time to cross the sea of learning and go back to school land, they switch  to their own routines. They forget all about the sessions and light bulb moments. So, building the bridge from the seminar island to the school land is the challenge. Facilitating that transition from thinking to doing by encouraging and supporting experimentation.

The suggested model in this article is the SFDA ( School-based Follow-up Development Activity):

  • Teachers prepare an action plan before the end of the course, for a small scale action research.
  • When back to school, they attend a follow-up workshop, choose an area of focus and prepare some experimental lessons.
  • They discuss their plan with their manager/trainer.
  • They try out the experimental lesson.
  • They gather and analyse data and reflect on the effectiveness of the lesson.
  • They share their findings with peers/manager.

Learning from my peers:

C: Encourage newly-qualified teachers to see where they are now as opposed to where they were a month ago.  It’s such a simple, useful way to chart progress (sense of progress is so important when you’re new and everything is overwhelming.

A: A really successful CPD programme would focus on teacher-led initiatives (provided the initial motivation was there and was sustained) and in a way would ideally run itself and be ‘owned’ by the teachers, with someone facilitating and supporting.  

I: First, ask a teacher what success would look like for them from this CPD activity/focus; what outcomes are they looking for? [eg. happier learners] Then work with them to plan how they will measure success. [eg consult learners… how? design the methods and instruments…] Then support Ts to carry out these initiatives, analyse the findings, and share these with others. For me, the outcomes of just that process can be as developmental and beneficial as the original development activity being evaluated.

Some of my tutor’s questions.

If you’re an experienced trainer, please share your thoughts!

What makes an activity more training or more development-focussed? Is it the grouping? Who ‘leads’ it? Who instigates it? Its focus? Its location? 

If it’s possible, for example, for a ‘trainer-led session’ to be development-focussed (rather than training) – what might it look like?

You can read my first post in the NILE MATD series here.

Image credit : Photo by cottonbro from Pexels