The link between staff continually learning, through training, and improvements in children’s achievement are paramount in ensuring the journey to excellence continues to accelerate across the county.
When successful professional development is effective it is highly likely that educational pedagogy will improve across schools. A range of research evidence is now available to support this view.
As a result the process of improving pedagogy through effective professional development will undoubtedly lead to improved pupil learning, achievement and well-being. Although the local authority continues to provide a high quality professional development programme a growing number of schools are joining together to engage in joint professional development opportunities. This joint approach is something that the LA continues to promote and support in strengthening all schools across the county.
Effective professional development
Leaders who promote and participate in professional development ensure it features strongly within school. Strong and effective leaders ensure professional development makes a difference to all personnel, including children, across the school. The most successful schools are those with a strong focus on training and support enabling key personnel to sharpen and refine their skills and expertise
Always begin with the outcome in mind
Start by analysing what pupils need to do to improve their learning and progress and ask the question “What have I, as the teacher, got to change or learn?” Decide how the impact will be measured and evaluated using measureable data to support judgements.
Challenge thinking to change practice
Ask the question, “Why is one strategy more effective than another?” Remember ‘if you carry out the same action you will inevitably get the same result!’ The most powerful professional learning will challenge embedded assumptions and encourage you to develop new thinking, new ideas and new theories.
Is based on assessment of individual and school needs
Be reflective and honest about professional performance. Discuss with colleagues to promote ownership and relevance of professional learning required. ‘If you don’t own it then it’s not yours’ and impact will suffer.
Involves connecting work-based learning and external expertise
CPD is most effective when it is linked and applied to classroom practice. Hypothesising, experimenting and reviewing with a professional colleague are important. Use external expertise to support school-led and school-focused work.
Learning opportunities are varied and sustainable
Ensure appropriate timescales are planned – sustained and intensive will yield more success than brief and sporadic
Uses action research and enquiry as key tools
Positively engaging with and using research will help to improve practice. Developing structured collaborative partnerships between schools and with researchers increases your involvement in and with the use of research.
Collaborative learning and joint practice development
One of the most powerful ways to improve professional expertise and skills is to work with and learn from others within and between schools. Mutual engagement allows sharing of existing challenges but more importantly constructs new ways of working. Is there a school or a colleague in another school who you would like to work with?
Create professional learning communities within and between schools
Collaborative professional learning communities ensure that professional development occurs within sustainable learning cultures and environments. If focused on improving learning outcomes, you can develop and integrate new learning into existing practice.