Continual professional development should be a part of every teacher’s planning. But what if your school doesn’t offer what you need? Here are our tips for branching out and supercharging your career in 2020.
1. Become a teacher mentor
With major changes coming to teacher training in 2020, the need for mentoring has never been greater, while giving you the chance to see teaching through the eyes of a new teacher and use the insight to improve your own! Many schools will welcome volunteers and training will be available through partner universities. (See our guides to the new Early Career Framework and Initial Teacher Training Core Content Framework for more details of the changes!)
2. Set up a school teaching and learning library and book group
It might seem a small thing but setting up a corner of your school library with the latest books on teaching and learning and reading and discussing them with colleagues can challenge current practice and lead to significant change. And if you need help with funding, why not sign up with teacher researchers Teacher Tapp (find out more here)
3. Set up a teaching and learning triad in your department or phase
Jointly planning, delivering and observing lessons is not a new idea – the blog we wrote last year on Lesson Study revealed that it dates back at least 140 years! However, the start of a year is a great time to team up with colleagues and work constructively on aspects of teaching and learning together – research evidence (cited in the blog) shows that there can be significant impact on student learning.
4. Join a subject association
A good way of taking your learning beyond the classroom is to join a subject association (you can find a full list at the ‘Council for Subject Associations’). They might seem focused on secondary subjects but welcome primary teachers – and with OFSTED’s increase focus on curriculum content at primary school this could be an especially useful time to join! As well as a wide range of conferences and training opportunities, many associations will offer online access to the latest educational research.
5. Take part in a teacher-led grass roots conference
Easily the biggest trend in teacher development in the 2010s was the rise of the grassroots teacher conference. ResearchED now offers at least one event each month, while others to consider include ‘BrewED’ and WomenEd. These will let you access the latest educational thinking as well as enabling you to interact with the thinkers themselves!
6. Take part in the National Teacher Learning Day 2020
If you can’t take time off to attend weekend conferences, there’s a great new idea coming on July 3rd 2020 – rather than having to give up time to attend conferences outside of school time, schools around the country are arranging events on the same day and opening them up to all teachers. Find out more about the events on offer and suggest new ones here.
7. Listen to podcasts
For many busy teachers, your commute may be the only time you can freely engage in professional development! A great place to start is the ‘Teacher Toolkit’ podcast – this consists of interviews with top experts on the latest educational issues. You’ll also be up to speed with changes in school and inspection practice.
8. Take time to reflect on your lessons
Our final suggestion is the simplest one! We spend 2019 working with schools around the world and found that simply helping teachers look back and reflect on their lessons makes real differences – we believe it’s the ultimate step solidify your knowledge and best practices. Watch out in 2020 as we take our ideas and learnings further and make our Align methodology available to all!