Most schools start the year with a day or two of training for all, but wider CPD for teachers is being cut back, as this research from the Teacher Development Trust shows. So, what options are there for you to develop yourself and your career as a teacher?
The first step in developing your own CPD programme is to identify which areas you’d like to improve. These could be those identified in your performance review or based on your future ambitions – or you could review what leading educationalists think are the vital parts of a great teacher. Here are some choices you might make…
Learn how to teach your subject in greater depth
One of the most important areas to develop is your subject expertise, especially if you are a new teacher or one looking to teach a new subject or your current one at a different level (for example moving from GCSE to A-level or Key Stage 1 to Key Stage 2). One innovative way to do this is to see if your school has subscribed to student support packages such as Your Favourite Teacher or MyMaths. If not, there are many free alternatives such as Khan Academy or Fuse School.
Learn more about classroom management
One of the most difficult areas for many new teachers is classroom management. You can develop your skills in this area through a number of online courses – including this one offered by the TES Institute and developed by the UK Government’s ‘Behaviour Tsar’ Tom Bennett, or this free alternative from FutureLearn.
Develop your management skills
If you’re looking for promotion to subject leadership, one area schools will be looking for is management ability. A good place to begin is to explore the National Professional Qualifications offered at various levels (Middle Leadership, Senior Leadership, Headship and Executive Leadership). Funding is available for some courses depending on the area and type of school you work in.
Take a specialist qualification
Your career ambitions might involve you moving to a different area of teaching rather than a traditional ‘upwards’ promotion – such as working with children with special needs, training teachers or working in academic research. This first step in this direction might be a specialist Masters’ course or Post-Graduate Diploma. Tuition fees may seem high for these courses but most can be taken part-time by distance learning as a series of modules. The best place to find out more is your local university – it’s worth attending a Postgraduate Open Day to gain personal advice.
Get involved in wider research
There’s a strong focus on online learning above, but there are many great events around the UK and beyond that allow you to learn more about cutting edge research within education. Try to get to events such as researchED or the Hallam Festival of Education in the UK. Find ideas and people you’re interested in working with and make contact with them over social media and you might end up researching with them and even speaking at events yourself.
Work with colleagues to improve your teaching in your current school
The simplest form of CPD is to work with your colleagues to see if you can improve teaching and learning in your own school. The Teacher Development Trust recommends the simple process of Lesson Study – working collaboratively to plan and deliver lessons and reflect on what could be improved. If you’d like to take this idea to the next level, download our longer guide to Lesson Observation and see how a structured observation programme can make a real difference in your school.
Whatever you decide, make sure to explore the support available through your school or trust – asking for a specific amount of protected time might be an option if the school cannot help you financially. Whether you get help or not, make sure to set yourself clear targets and set aside regular time to work on your improvement. Don’t worry if you don’t always find the time each week, but if there is something getting in the way of your development over a longer period, look to see if there are other changes you can make in your work or lifestyle to enable you to focus on your CPD.
As this blog highlights, there are various ways in to improve CPD for teachers and wider development. ONVU Learning has developed a solution called Lessonvu, which makes use of smart video to support teachers in their lesson observation and self-reflection practice. Get in touch with our team to find out how our solutions can help improve your school.