The problem with writing a book, is that as soon as you have finished, you think of other things to include. This is the case with ‘Perfect Teacher Led CPD’ and hence the reason for this post.
Last week we appointed Andy Tharby to a new role in the school – ‘Research & Development Leader’. This is an exciting role for us as we look to become ‘research aware’ and then ‘research engaged’. I won’t write too much about this role, as I’m sure Andy will over time on his blog, but his first task has been to implement a new CPD initiative that the two of us came up with – the EduBook Club.
If you’ve read the book, you’ll know that chapter 4 looks at the idea of ‘Learning Development Groups’. Based on Dylan Wiliam’s ‘Teacher Learning Communities’, LDGs put groups of staff together at regular times during the year, to share ideas, strategies and successes, around various aspects of pedagogy. based on these discussions, they then have to commit to trying something new out in their classrooms, before the next LDG meeting. A great form of CPD – put teachers in a room together, get them talking about their craft and great things happen. So we wanted to take the positive aspects of this and combine it with getting staff engaged with educational books – and so was born the basis of our CPD for next year – EduBook Club!
The idea is simple. Me and Andy came up with 10 educational books, that we think will make a difference to teacher practice and introduce our staff to educational texts. We chose the following:
This sheet has been distributed to classroom based staff (teachers, teaching assistants, cover supervisors), who then pick a book that interests them (based on the blurbs – beautifully written by Andy!). The sheet has already generated a good buzz of discussion about the books – which is great (even though one colleague asked ‘Which one is the thinnest?’)
We will then buy them a copy of their chosen book. Then, next year during each INSET day they will meet up as a group of people, who picked the same book and discuss it – and how it has had an impact on their practice. As with the LDGs, they will then all commit to trying out a new teaching technique, based on the discussion around the book. Each group will have a facilitator, who will guide the discussion and determine which chapters need to be read in preparation for the next meeting. During the year, we may have ‘transfer windows’ where people can change books and groups, to widen their experience – we’ll see. There are lots of potential spin offs too. So for example, at department meetings, colleagues can discuss their book and the discussions they have had in their group, resulting in a rich discussion, within a subject context, of a wide range of quality educational books. I know Andy is giving lots of thought to how it will run over the year and how to get the best out of it – a blog has been promised on this, so watch this space!
If I’d done this before, it would definitely had been in the book. But I didn’t and it isn’t! I’m really excited about it though and I think it’s great CPD, for the following reasons:
- It’s personalised – colleagues have a choice of books.
- It works on a number of levels – colleagues can engage with the process at a level that suits them.
- It’s teacher led – this gives it credibility, as the techniques shared will have been tried and tested by their peers.
- It encourages collaboration – I’m sure there will be a great deal of informal support and discussion about the books, outside of the formal sessions.
- It encourages staff to engage with educational ideas and thinkers, outside of their own context.
- Hopefully it will act as a catalyst for teachers to engage with more educational texts.
I think it’s going to be a catalyst for lots of fruitful discussion and future developmental work – moving us to ‘research aware’ and then ‘research engaged’.