That’s what INSET used to be dubbed – in recognition that Kenneth, Lord Baker, reserved five days per year for in-service training – CPD in modern parlance.
Not that teachers in my experience ever get five days a year for training: Senior Managers seem to think they can fill the time with ‘important’ meetings. And yes, whilst First Aid, and Epipen training might be vital, it doesn’t exactly meet teachers where they are. Indeed, some of the best INSET I’ve had, is just being given time to think about the curriculum, plan, and talk with colleagues.
I suggest that, as often as not, getting better at what we do doesn’t happen at organised conferences, as a result of formal observations, or even in a conscious way necessarily at all: it might be a casual conversation over a coffee at break (if you’ve got time for one), something you happen to see a colleague do as you pass their classroom on the way to the photocopier, a chance encounter in the lunch queue, or an idea that someone’s suggested on Twitter.
But in the business-world of education, it’s difficult to quantify that as even a satisfactory level of continuing professional development – even though, in all probability, those little ‘eureka’ moments are far more valuable than watching the guy down the front with his PowerPoint, droning on about the latest teaching fad!
Any practitioner worth their salt will be eager to experiment with new ideas to see what works. And looking on over time, we see that a teacher’s practice does evolve.
Perhaps we should highlight the introduction of new methodology in a CPD ledger on the inside front cover of our planners, and return to comment on whether or not the idea worked, and what, if anything, can be improved.
Just a thought.