Whether your school calls it CPD, CPL or CPDL, it is focusing on the ‘Continuous’ element of CPD that ensures it has the maximum impact.
Research proves that one-off CPD is ineffective in changing classroom practice and in its report, Developing Great Teaching (2015), the Teacher Development Trust found that “The most effective professional development lasted at least two terms... with follow-up, consolidation and support activities built in.”
The Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership confirms this and draws on international research that suggests, the most effective professional learning is primarily school-based, school managed and focused on improving teaching practice, (AITL 2012).
So, how do you follow the recommendations of these reports in your own school?
Gather a complete picture of staff performance
The more information you and your staff gather and record about performance, the easier it is to identify development needs and strengths. This could be from the appraisal process, performance management objectives, observations, work scrutiny exercises, voice, 360 reviews, self-reviews against professional standards as well as individuals identifying their own development needs and strengths.
Analyse strengths and areas for development
Once this information is being recorded, it is easy to analyse and identify where people need support and where this support can come from. It will also give you the opportunity to see everyone equally, perhaps your newly qualified teachers can share expertise on using action research or your teaching assistants can share expertise about supporting particular learners. It also opens up departments and teams to share their expertise across the school.
Align with school improvement priorities
Once you have analysed everyone’s strengths and areas for development, you can prioritise these with the school improvement priorities. Focussing on the real work that your staff do in the unique context of your school further engages staff in the professional development and enhances teaching and learning.
Understand objectives so that impact can be measured
Once staff are engaged in professional development activities, it is important that they understand what their objectives are in terms of their own practice and how long these may take to achieve. Once they understand this, they are better placed to measure its impact. Staff can set simple reminders of when to review its impact, something that can then be analysed across the school.
Use a variety of methods
Introducing a variety of approaches will help introduce a culture of improvement and for staff to view their development as an ongoing and continuous process.
How SchooliP can help
Everything discussed here can be recorded, analysed and measured within SchooliP and because SchooliP is available as a mobile app, it continually engages staff in their development. SchooliP will manage all forms of professional development from staff delivered sessions to mentoring and action research and alerts staff to review its impact throughout the process.
The Teacher Development Trust (2015). Developing Great Teaching: Lessons From The International Reviews Into Effective Professional Development. [online] http://tdtrust.org/about/dgt
The Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership (2014). Designing Professional Learning. [online]http://www.aitsl.edu.au/docs/default-source/default-document-library/designing_professional_learning_report.pdf?sfvrsn=4