School teach­ers are train­ers; their trainees may be slight­ly small­er in stature, but nev­er­the­less, teach­ing is train­ing! Schools are cen­tres of learn­ing excel­lence and teach­ers are at the fore­front of out­come-focused pro­fes­sion­al devel­op­ment. They train, con­stant­ly, in spite of time and work pres­sures and ensure that the edu­ca­tion our chil­dren receive is of the high­est qual­i­ty. We even have a way to qual­i­ty assure them in the form of Ofst­ed. We wouldn’t want our teacher train­ing to be side­lined as the impact would be con­sid­ered too great a risk to our children’s education. 

By focus­ing on learn­ing engage­ment and reflec­tive obser­va­tion, edu­ca­tion CPD (Con­tin­u­ing Pro­fes­sion­al Devel­op­ment) is scores ahead of the cor­po­rate space. As a result, edu­ca­tion CPD is mea­sured, cul­ti­vat­ed and nur­tured to ensure the best qual­i­ty edu­ca­tion for our chil­dren. There is excel­lence in teaching. 

Teach­ers, on aver­age, par­take in 35 hours of CPD per year and are often scru­ti­nised for not doing enough. In the cor­po­rate space, we man­age a mea­gre 16.2 hours on aver­age… it makes you think, doesn’t it?

This blog asks a sim­ple ques­tion, what can we learn from edu­ca­tion CPD?

1. Self-reflec­tion and CPD

Teach­ers are encour­aged to self-reflect and eval­u­ate their per­for­mance much more reg­u­lar­ly than pro­fes­sion­als with­in organ­i­sa­tions. They ask for the train­ing they need and active­ly seek out answers and ways to devel­op. Often, I feel we fall into the trap of sim­ply com­plet­ing our to-do list, and this applies to train­ing as much as it does the workplace. 

Research shows that giv­en the oppor­tu­ni­ty to self-reflect or see/ hear your­self in your work­place envi­ron­ment will result in a much high­er per­cent­age of behav­iour change than sim­ply dis­sem­i­nat­ing infor­ma­tion. As a result, teach­ers are self-reflect­ing on their lessons by record­ing them and watch­ing them back. This gives them the oppor­tu­ni­ty to see them­selves in the class­room and active­ly exper­i­ment with their teach­ing in order to embed their development.

Self-reflec­tion is an easy way to up those pre­cious train­ing hours with­out divert­ing atten­tion away from day-to-day roles. It’s proven impact means that ROI is much high­er than tra­di­tion­al learn­ing and devel­op­ment methods.

If you were giv­en the oppor­tu­ni­ty to see your­self giv­ing a pre­sen­ta­tion or train­ing ses­sion, what do you think you would notice? 

2. Over­com­ing train­ing barriers

Bud­get and time. The big two when it comes to train­ing bar­ri­ers. You couldn’t find a more pres­sured envi­ron­ment where these part­ners in crime come into play than in edu­ca­tion. But, they hit us hard too with tight learn­ing and devel­op­ment budgets. 

So how do teach­ers do it all? And how do they share all the excel­lence in teaching? 

They get organ­ised and they find tools that make sure they can deliv­er high-qual­i­ty CPD whilst meet­ing staff needs in a way that is less effec­tive with­out the use of technology.

Here’s a great case study that out­lines how Yew­lands Acad­e­my do just that

Have a think about how you cur­rent­ly pro­vide learn­ing and devel­op­ment, is it cost-effec­tive? Does it have proven out­comes? Are you get­ting a good ROI?

3. Obser­va­tion for peers and seniors

I’m sure every­one read­ing this at some point has tak­en part in an obser­va­tion. But, what’s dif­fer­ent about teach­ers’ obser­va­tion is that the obser­va­tion may not be led by a senior mem­ber of your team. Obser­va­tions are encour­aged for all learn­ers and lead­ers alike, either being observed or observ­ing themselves. 

This gives every­one the oppor­tu­ni­ty to see oth­er teach­ers in prac­tice, no mat­ter what their lev­el. Imag­ine, NQTs (new­ly qual­i­fied teach­ers) being encour­aged to observe their senior mem­bers to learn from their expe­ri­ence, or mid­dle lead­ers observ­ing each oth­er to gain insight into dif­fer­ent les­son skills. No mat­ter what the sce­nario, I think we can all agree that watch­ing some­one else in prac­tice is an extreme­ly effec­tive way to learn. 

Now, I under­stand that we have all had expe­ri­ence with obser­va­tions. So the ques­tion here, is how do we make the most of it? 

First­ly, we need to link back to those two bar­ri­ers, time and mon­ey. Obser­va­tion, tra­di­tion­al­ly, relies on remov­ing peo­ple from their dai­ly work envi­ron­ment, and, if we want to encour­age more obser­va­tion from both senior and peer posi­tions, pro­duc­tiv­i­ty is going to be an issue. 

So we’ve acknowl­edged the prob­lems, do teach­ers have the answer?

They use video. 

Teach­ers use video to record their lessons so obser­va­tions can be con­duct­ed by any staff mem­ber at any time. This makes peer obser­va­tions more flex­i­ble and acces­si­ble and makes sure you are get­ting your train­ing ROI. Peo­ple can then observe and learn from each oth­er with­out divert­ing too much time away from their day-to-day role, we will all devel­op as a result. 

This leads us nice­ly into my next point.…

Excellence in Teaching

4. Col­lab­o­ra­tion

Teach­ers are ALWAYS work­ing togeth­er. Whether it’s shar­ing les­son plans, observ­ing each oth­er or just ask­ing for friend­ly advice, there is always some­body to give a help­ing hand. 

This allows them to do a lot of very clever things…

First­ly, learn­ing from expe­ri­ence, by shar­ing wis­dom, or as per above, obser­va­tions, teach­ers can learn from the expe­ri­ence of oth­er teach­ers, this cuts down the reliance on exter­nal train­ing providers. Sec­ond­ly, this also pro­motes a learn­ing cul­ture. In the cor­po­rate space, we are always talk­ing about how to achieve a learn­ing cul­ture, but teach­ers have nailed it. Now, I can’t put a fin­ger on why this is and I believe there are a num­ber of dif­fer­ent rea­sons why learn­ing is so impor­tant to teach­ers. Maybe it’s as sim­ple as being involved in learn­ing so, there­fore, they under­stand its sig­nif­i­cance? If any­one has any idea as to why teach­ers have such a good learn­ing cul­ture, please let me know.

Final­ly, one thing that strikes me as par­tic­u­lar­ly sig­nif­i­cant for school col­lab­o­ra­tion is inter-school col­lab­o­ra­tion.  As a rule, the major­i­ty of schools par­take in some form of inter­school col­lab­o­ra­tion. I sup­pose you could trans­late this into inter­de­part­men­tal col­lab­o­ra­tions or per­haps, at a stretch, net­work­ing? What this means, how­ev­er, is that they are always look­ing for new ideas, research and learn­ing oppor­tu­ni­ties. Some teach­ers take part in observ­ing teach­ers at oth­er schools and peer coach­ing over schools sites, a sig­nif­i­cant step in sim­ply shar­ing resources and ideas. 

This list isn’t com­plete. Excel­lence in teach­ing is achieved and sur­passed fre­quent­ly and there are many more ways in which our teach­ers are going above and beyond in their devel­op­ment. We should all raise a glass to teach­ers achiev­ing teach­ing excel­lence whilst over­com­ing numer­ous CPD lim­i­ta­tions, we could cer­tain­ly learn a thing or two… 

Excel­lence in teach­ing: What L&D can learn from teacher CPD
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