Tag Archives: Professional Development

Professional Learning: Never been better?⤴

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Through the Into Headship programme, I was fortunate enough to listen to Gayle Gorman at one of our national conferences. She spoke passionately about taking the politics out of education in what can be seen in her quote below.

Move from a politically driven to a professionally led system.

Gayle Gorman, HMIe Chief Inspector, Education Scotland (April 2018)

It made me consider the importance and value of professional learning and the huge potential we have already within our education system. And made me reflect on there never has been a better time in Scottish education for professional learning.

Professional learning is at the heart of the GTCS Standards, enshrined in How Good is Our School? 4 and a key feature of professional practice across Scotland.

National Model for Professional Learning

In light of our recent move to the online world, it is now time to reflect on the professional learning opportunities available to all in Scottish education and beyond. Arguably, the way in which we engage with our learning will change as a result of organisations, charities, Education Scotland and local authorities adapting to this new world. Will we ever attend a course in person again? Probably. However, we may experience a wider range of opportunities as people are now comfortable with attending online lectures and conferences. It may in fact open up more opportunities where previously people were unable to attend.

With a five yearly focus on Professional Update and an annual review process encouraging all teachers to reflect on their learning, I do feel like we are in a good position. However, is it tokenism and does this help with our drive for high quality learning and teaching? That is a question teachers will need to reflect upon individually, however I think it does and believe that high quality PRDs link in with school improvement which in turn impacts on pupils learning.

I would argue that there is an increasing shift away from attending a course. We now have podcasts and blogs being developed at pace right across the education system. There are also pop events and conference organised by and for teachers. It is encouraging to see this organic movement but does beg the question what the formal organisations responsible for the delivery of professional learning are doing about it. For example, the recent change to the Scottish learning festival which will now be organised by the professional learning and leadership directorate instead of the wider education Scotland. And what about the role of local authorities? Teachers are professionals and are more than skilled and capable to collaborate themselves however are they being failed by the wider formal structures which should be providing a service? I’ll let you comment on that!

The focus on leadership development has also been a key focus, and remains so. With the development of the framework for leadership and the many online learning modules created to support the different categories:

Professional learning

School leadership

System leadership

Middle leadership

Teacher leaderhsip

I do think we are now at a stage where our professional learning opportunities are excellent in terms of the choice and breadth, however we do now need to consider the depth and quality of professional learning. Perhaps this is where we need to consider again a masters level approach so that each professional learning engagement is supported by a university and contributes towards something like a qualification. This would help bring coherence to our overloaded system and also support the idea of high quality in depth learning.

Lastly, we need to recognise the potential knowledge and experience within our schools, universities and local authorities as it currently stands. Each school could have specialisms which they could share their experiences in which may foster greater collaboration. We need to reduce our reliance on courses which are paid for. The reason for this is that as budgets tighten then fewer people can benefit from this and I believe we don’t always have the quality when CPD companies churn out another course with little consideration for the person attending. If we had a greater collaborative culture across schools where we could regularly share in our own in-house developed programmes, this would reduce the competition aspect within education.

Therefore, I believe we have many opportunities in the years ahead and that there has never been a better time to engage in professional learning in Scottish education.

I’ll leave you with a few questions:

1. What is needed to ensure every teacher values their own learning just as much as the learning of the young people?

2. How do we ensure effective collaboration to build upon the organic movement already taking place? Do we need organisations like Education Scotland and local authorities to fulfil the role of professional learning or is this up to individuals?

Please feel free to comment underneath the post on twitter.

Episode 25 – An EduBlether with Haili Hughes (John Catt Educational Series)⤴

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Our first episode in the John Catt Educational Series.

In Part 1 of our John Catt series we interview Haili Hughes on her new book ‘Preserving Positivity’. This is a wide-ranging discussion all about how best to keep experienced educators in the classroom, as well as looking at the reasons why so many teachers leave the profession. We discuss some of the similarities and differences between Scotland and England to identify the similarities and differences. While dealing with complex and challenging aspects of teaching, the book is pragmatic and optimistic, as was this conversation.

This episode is kindly sponsored by
John Catt Educational http://www.johncattbookshop.com
@HughesHaili
@JohnCattEd

Episode 23 – Digital Learning⤴

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In Episode 23 of EduBlether we discuss Digital Learning. We think about Pedagogy, the SAMR model, equity, access, professional learning and so much more. Let us know your feedback on Twitter @edublether

What is your experience of Digital Learning been? Why do you think we have not made the advancements in Digital Learning that we could have done up until now? What will happen to Digital LEarning when we return to ‘normal’? Let us know what you think.

Listen: https://soundcloud.com/edublether/episode-23-digital-learning

Episode 20 – Leadership of Change⤴

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In this new format podcast, we have stripped it back to focus on our EduBlether and we are delighted to be sharing it with you. We focus on leadership of change and talk about improvement planning, self-evaluation and change leadership. This includes pupils, parents and staff and we hope you find this episode both interesting and informative. As usual, we’d be delighted if you could rate us on your chosen podcast app and send us a tweet and engage in the EduBlether on twitter.com/EduBlether.

To listen: https://soundcloud.com/edublether/episode-20-leadership-of-change

Episode 17 – An EduBlether about Behaviour⤴

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In this episode we discuss all things behaviour. An hour is not really time to do this justice, but we hit on some of the big themes and hopefully this will prompt wider discussion amongst our listeners. We also have our usual features with in the news and we recommend. Check out edublether.wordpress.com for more great content and please rate us on iTunes.

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The Line⤴

from @ EduBlether

On the back of thinking about all the small things that lead to successes in a school, I thought it would be apt to consider the other side of this. One of the seemingly small things that add to a considerable amount of disruption and wasted learning time, in all of the schools I have ever worked in, is the line. I’m going to discuss the various problems I see with this accepted norm, and then I will try to consider some alternatives.

One of the main issues I have with this is the wasted teaching and learning time that could be better spent doing anything else. The time it takes between a bell ringing and children getting into a classroom is huge. Let’s do some quick maths on this. A conservative estimate (based purely on my own experience, with admittedly no scientific rigour applied), would be that it takes at least 5 minutes once the bell has gone to have a class ready to come in at the start of the day, after break and after lunch (at least!). So this is potentially 15 minutes each day, which is about 70 minutes across the week, taking in to account the half-day! That is over 44 hours across the school year.

I don’t want you to think I am ever condoning counting minutes and seconds and making sure every possible part of time is accounted for. This would be dangerous for a large number of reasons. But when there are so many other issues, it begs the question, why are we wasting our time on a bizarre and old fashioned custom that gives nothing back?

Ordinarily, children have been playing in an unstructured and child-led way, then a bell goes (quite abruptly) and they have to stop immediately and form a line, one behind each other. We often scorn them for not being straight enough or for continuing conversations. Quite militaristic when you think about it? But this is quite difficult for a lot of children to do (I think I would struggle to be honest) especially if they have been engaging in high energy play. What are we achieving by standing in line? Efficient management of people cannot be an argument here due to the amount of wasted time. Compliance?

I don’t like the idea of continuing to do something one way just because it is the way we have always done it. I want to know what the alternatives are.

Comment below with any suggestions on alternatives to lining up.

All the small things⤴

from @ EduBlether

I have been thinking a lot recently about all the small things that I do in my job as a Depute headteacher. Now, there are a lot of high-profile strategic things that I do which are of great importance (I’m a very important person do t you k ow?). Things like having an overview of attainment for example, or working through complex pastoral concerns. Yet for me, this is not what my job is really about.

I would argue that the most important part of my job is a collection of small and seemingly insignificant things. The things that go unnoticed and can’t fit nicely on a spreadsheet. I am talking about things like standing on the school gates in the morning and saying hello to as many people as you can. Or the times I play football with the children who just want to tackle a teacher, but then I somehow managed to avoid their lunging feet and score a wonder goal. Or even something as simple as noticing when a child gets a haircut and giving them a compliment. In fact one of the easiest things, yet the thing with such a profound impact is the simple act of smiling. We don’t measure how many smiles we have managed to raise at the end of the school year, or how many times we made a child laugh, but it is exactly these things that are so important to me. I am not for a second saying that I want to start measuring these things, all I am saying is I want to spend time recognizing how important they are.

These things are so important to me because they build relationships. It is these daily interactions that build a culture in a school. It is these small moments in time that collectively add up to so much more. So it is for this very reason that I am going to embrace my misspent youth listening to Blink 182 and spend more time celebrating all the small things that I do in my job. I feel that this will allow me to appreciate the tiny successes that happen every day.

What are the small things that you do that you would like to shout about?

Episode 13 – Professional Learning⤴

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Listen to this episode on spotify, apple podcast, soundcloud or any other podcasting app. You can also click on the picture above to listen to this episode.

Episode 9 – Back to School⤴

from @ edublether.wordpress.com

In this episode our Main Feature is Back to School, where we discuss how things change over the summer and what it is important to focus on in those first weeks back. We also have the usual features: in the news, we recommend and inspired by. Please check out edublether.wordpress.com and rate us on iTunes.

Listen here: https://soundcloud.com/edublether/episode-9-back-to-school

The Magic-Weaving Business⤴

from @ edublether.wordpress.com

Sir John Jones is the most inspirational speaker there is on the educational speaker circuit at the moment. He is funny, passionate and down to earth kind of guy. It was a joy to hear him speak and I would recommend you read his book.