Having an appetite for learning is key to a successful life. From very early in our lives we explore our bodies, capabilities, and the world around us. Learning develops and stimulates our minds and being willing to learn is a necessary skill to positively deal with the situations that we face and the subsequent changes that we need to make.
This willingness to learn does not only apply to children and the young people we teach but also to the school staff that teach them. We usually refer to staff learning as Continued Professional Development (CPD) or Continued Professional Learning (CPL). There will be some staff in schools whose mindset is fixed as they are experienced and have been doing their job for many years. They feel they already know everything they need to know, and they don’t need to do anything new to help them improve.
In these unprecedented times, when the world is rapidly changing, staff need to be open minded and be willing to reflect and question themselves, even if they find things that make them feel uncomfortable. It is not a time to have a fixed mindset and continue to do what they have always done, hoping for a different outcome. The best staff understand that they don’t have all the answers, but are willing to find out more and appreciate there is no ceiling on learning. The same attitude that good teachers instill in the children they teach. Being willing to be a lifelong learner will help adapt to the unexpected changes that are faced in life and also gives a feeling of accomplishment which, in turn, boosts confidence in our own capabilities.
For successful CPD to take place it is important that we understand how we learn. How and why we learn is a combination of factors, mainly based around our survival instinct. These include:
Successful CPD relates to professional and personal development needs. Effective professional development differentiates according to our needs and starting points and involves staff feeling empowered in shaping their learning needs and influencing the journey taken and the type of support needed to achieve their needs.
Successful CPD is more than just doing great pedagogy differently. It involves analysing, researching and understanding why one strategy can be more effective than another in a particular situation. Deep, open, honest and challenging conversations stimulate reflection and together come up with new strategies that lead to a positive change in their practice. Successful coaching based on trust and respect stimulates these powerful conversations and focuses thoughts on particular aspects of practice.
It is impossible to teach someone who doesn’t want to learn. Without that desire to improve and grow, there is no amount of professional development that will impact on them changing.
Some staff actually seem to pride themselves on the things they don’t know. This was, until recently, embracing the use of technology in the classroom. They like to do things their way. The same way they have done for many years. They can come across as defensive, but often it is a matter of pride and lack of skills and knowledge. It takes courage to admit that you don’t know everything you need to know, but that’s the first step in learning.
Expecting people to change what they do without support and guidance is setting them up to fail. Staff will lack confidence and a desire to change without quality time being given to professional development. It is about developing, using small steps, a skill so it becomes a daily habit.
Don’t be left behind, especially in this quickly changing climate. Ensure you keep up-to-date by increasing your knowledge and adapting your skills.
So how can SchooliP support staff with their CPD?
As already mentioned, it is imperative for teachers and staff to develop professionally throughout the course of their careers. Staff are encouraged to maintain their own portfolio of evidence of their CPD.
Recording and co-ordinating CPD is a challenge to any education organisation and SchooliP manages training in several processes:
User defined courses/activities
Any user can record CPD they have planned or have been on in their own appraisal area called ‘Portfolio’. The staff member provides simple details about the course including:-
Line Managers, CPD Leads and SchooliP Site Administrators can also add a course on behalf of a staff member. All of the above is collated across the organisation automatically to provide the CPD lead and others in the SLT detailed, bespoke reports at the click of a mouse.
CPD requests - where authorisation is required
Any user can make a CPD request for a course or training they are interested in attending by completing very similar details as described above. The true power of a CPD Request, however, lies with the 3 X personnel approval process.
Each person must approve the request (alerted by email) before the next. The order is bespoke to the organisation and the titles can be changed. A member of staff only has 1 Line Manager, but there can be numerous staff with the additional roles of Cover Supervisor and CPD Lead.
All of the course requests are collated across the organisation automatically to provide the CPD with lead and others in the SLT detailed, bespoke reports at the click of a mouse.
Areas for Development
Or users can record more aspirational areas for development, e.g:-
By recording Areas for Development, a staff member is taking responsibility for their own CPD aspirations. The aspirations may have been prompted by a very short term need to a longer term goal. They may have been raised by what is being taught next, a performance management objective, a teaching standard, a recent observation or a conversion with a colleague or Line Manager. The Areas are visible to the Line Manager and the CPD Lead.
All of the Areas for Development are collated across the organisation automatically to provide the CPD lead and others in the SLT detailed, bespoke reports at the click of a mouse. The CPD lead can then review the Areas for Development to produce a Needs Analysis and to organise appropriate CPD.
Centrally allocated courses and activities (CPD Controlled)
For annual CPD such as Safeguarding, the CPD lead can create the course and ‘push’ this out to all or selected staff across the organisation. This is extremely time-saving and efficient. Once the course has been created as a template, it can be used time and again. The selected staff members will then see this in their Portfolio.
CPD Lead/SLT reports for CPD Activities/Courses
As previously mentioned, information from all individual staff members CPD activity is collated across the organisation to automatically provide the CPD lead and others in the SLT detailed, bespoke reports at the click of a mouse.
Selecting CPD Activities/Courses returns a table of data of all of the CPD Activities/Courses information from all staff during the current review period.
This table of data can be manipulated in a variety of ways:-
CPD Lead/SLT reports for CPD Requests
Selecting CPD Requests returns a table of data of all of the CPD Request information from all staff during the current review period.
This table of data contains similar information to the CPD Activities/Courses table, but has the additional Request Status and Request columns detailing the progress of the approval. This table of data can be manipulated in a variety of ways:-
CPD Lead/SLT reports for Areas for Development
This CPD reporting area works in a very similar way to the previous two previous areas discussed. The power of this table is the overview of the CPD needs of the organisation. Here, you have the ability to filter, analyse review and suggest a CPD Activity/Course in the table.
What else can be bespoke?
As we have discovered, a CPD co-ordinator will benefit from a seamless process of managing CPD bookings, requests, areas for development and the costing. The paper trail is removed as all requests are managed centrally on SchooliP. CPD feedback can be collated that enables the effectiveness of CPD to be assessed.
As mentioned above, there are several ways an organisation can make bespoke choices and some of these can be bespoke for the whole organisation. Logging in as an SchooliP Site Administrator, further settings can be found by clicking on:-
Settings > Performance Management > CPD Settings