We’ve written a lot recently about the teacher training innovations that are helping teachers and schools improve classroom teaching and learning. But what about the latest ideas for improving teacher training and increasing the quality of the teachers themselves, cited by many researchers as the most important factor in student development?

Outlined below are 6 ideas that could ensure that your school’s continuous professional development has a real impact.

1. A clear link to classroom needs

In many schools, senior leaders develop priorities for teachers . The problem is that if development doesn’t actually address day-to-day issues teachers are facing, it will be difficult to be implemented. Huntingdon School in York enables teachers to lead their own development through their ‘disciplined enquiry’ process which the school believes ‘truly helps teachers to get better’.

2. Acknowledgement that teachers learn differently to children

In many schools, CPD will be delivered in the same way as lessons for children – with presenters making the assumption that their content and ideas are new. The result is disengaged teachers and scepticism about CPD in general.

In reality, teachers come to training sessions with wildly different backgrounds – and can often contribute more than the presenter. Read more here about one teacher trainer’s journey of discovery in this area.

3. Access to evidence-based experts

While online training for students has been booming for many years, there has been far less material available for teachers. However, that is changing, and organisations such as the Girls’ Day School Trust and experts including ‘behaviour guru’ Tom Bennett now offer courses that are accessible to teachers through platforms such as the TES Institute and FutureLearn.

4. Time to process and apply learning

Research cited by the Teacher Development Trust found that ‘barely 1% of training they looked at was effectively transforming classroom practice’ – in the mainly because there was little time to implement ideas. A number of our partner schools are moving away from one-off INSET (in service training) days to set aside regular time for CPD each week or fortnight, and are seeing far greater impact on teacher development.

 5. Access to high quality mentors for critical reflection

The move by the Government in England to emphasise the importance of mentors to the new ‘Early Career Framework’ is just the latest move in this direction. This recent article in ThoughtCo argued that ‘great veteran teachers can provide tremendous insight and encouragement to an inexperienced or struggling teacher’. These teachers may be part of your school community or work outside it, but they should be experts in helping teachers reflect and learn from their own lessons, sharing further teacher training innovations.

6. Proper evaluation of CPD

Research by the National Foundation for Education Research found that only 7% of schools checked to see if there was any effect on student attainment from CPD, which could mean that there is an enormous waste of time and money.

But some schools are changing! This case study from England’s former National College for Teaching and Leadership shows how Esher Church of England High School put in processes to evaluate training three months after a course – only if it had impact at this point was the course valued and considered for future use.

To find out more about how ONVU Learning can help your school improve its teaching and learning using our innovative teacher training and development , please get in touch with our team now.

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The School of the Future Guide is aimed at helping school leaders and teachers make informed choices when designing the learning environments of the future using existing and upcoming technologies, as they seek to prepare children for the rest of the 21st century – the result is a more efficient and competitive school.

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