Know your CPD: how teachers can make the most of training
Continual professional development (CPD) is an integral part of any career, but in teaching, where the guidelines of education are ever-changing, whether it’s assessment, safeguarding or the curriculum, it’sall the more critical. But with the huge range of courses out there, how can you make a decision on what training would best suit you and, by extension, your pupils?
There are many different types of training; in-house, external, day training, residential courses, online training, conferences, and much more. The investment in time and money can be significant, so the benefits must match up to this. When it comes to CPD, there are a number of considerations that you should be making.
The first thing to think of is your long-term goals and what you want to achieve. Are you hoping to take a closer look at the way you assess your pupils, or would you like to find inspiration in using new technology to teach the curriculum? You may have a list of priorities from your own professional development review, or perhaps there’s something within the school-wide improvement plan that you want to contribute to.
Then you can choose the training that’s right for you, looking at the benefits you might need, such as ongoing support or resources to bring back. Feedback from other teachers about the training sessions they’ve attended is incredibly valuable too. This could be others within your school, or potentially teachers from nearby institutions, whether that’s through discussion, or reviews left by other professionals; the insight from your peers is more valuable than anything that the course can advertise.
Following the training session, you’ll need to ensure that the knowledge and practice is embedded and consolidated. By creating a digital CPD record, you can leave notes on the immediate effects of the course, and then monitor the effects over the course of six months or a pre-defined timescale, reviewing the long-term impact of what you’ve learned. This record can then be accessed by other members of staff in your school looking to attend similar sessions, or you can send a link to the details to the rest of your department as a recommendation. Working this way using a central digital system also provides a platform for ongoing discussion, meaning that other teachers can ask their own specific questions about the course, and you can add updates about your progress as you go!
Having a digital location to store all of this information ensures it is easily accessible and can be reviewed at any point throughout the year. This information can be invaluable for both staff and leaders, as they can access a catalogue of CPD dialogue which they can use to justify expenditure, or evidence where they have addressed areas for development. Having a range of pre-populated CPD information all available at a push of a button means that CPD co-ordinators can distribute courses very quickly; saving time and streamlining processes.
Finding the right CPD course for you can be of huge benefit to your personal career development, while at the same time providing your students with the best possible learning experience, and by sharing this experience and best practice, you can contribute to whole-school improvement.
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