I have been inspired before by a chat topic on twitter via the hashtag #addcym (education wales) and I have been again this evening as the topic was about what makes good cpd.
There are four factors in my opinion: something I can use, personalised, allows me to reflect and be something I don't already know.
I have already bemoaned the lack of cpd at my school in a previous blog post and I written about how I have taken control of that and managed to put together things that are concrete to put on my CV. However, what is the point of cpd if it is poor? It just becomes another waste of time.
Good quality cpd is not easy to achieve on a whole school level, I will admit that. Making it good quality would mean making it personalised and although it is something we are to strive for as teachers I don't believe that being truly personalised is possible. How is it possible that a visiting speaker giving information about autism can take account for all the range of knowledge in the room? I find this with ICT training, it always seems to be at a level below my own knowledge. However, I would list personalisation as one of my factors that make cpd of a higher quality.
As part of that personalisation if cpd is going to be any use to me then I have to learn something new. This isn't very easy to achieve, or at least it hasn't been for me until recently. (Until I discovered that you can use twitter for better things than finding out about the latest celebrity rants. See my previous blog posts on twitter and creating your own cpd). I find cpd provided by school to be on topics I have already investigated and didactic so don't get into the "how", so I don't learn much.
What is possible in any cpd session is reflection and I would insist that any good session allows for and encourages this. When I ran a session for science teachers in the past I gave lesson objectives to staff to help them think about specific lessons and better focus their reflections. Then we discussed what we thought in a plenary session.
Lastly, in any cpd session that I participate in I want ideas that I can take straight back to my classroom and implement. So it needs to be clear enough for me to understand, have resources that I can use if I am unsure and be something I am not already doing.
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