Today Luke Meddings gave a very
interesting intriguing, FANTASTIC talk for the iTDI. As with many great thinkers you had to digest and reflect on what he said using your own experience as it wasn’t just another ‘teaching is great’ talk. What he said was quite revolutionary and if EFL bosses take it on board it could completely change how we see and view CPD in schools and I do hope they follow it.
So, here are my reflections on what Luke said but first the main things that struck a chord:
1)CPD is not continual
I wouldn’t like a DOS who told me “you haven’t developed this week so you’re fired”.
2)CPD should be a team effort and from the teacher up
Peer observations and after lesson/teaching chats and discussions
3)You don’t need FB forms
A conversation is far better
4)Having workshops where teachers observe taught classes and can talk to the students afterwards is useful
This really is groundbreaking as teachers talking to teachers about how well students learned/enjoyed the class is just daft.Ask the students, get it 1st hand!
My ideas for a new TT/CPD approach in a language school should start here:
1)Get rid of all the ‘scheduled observations’, ‘FB forms’, ‘Senior teacher workshops’ and any other things about your TT/CPD provision
2)Have a chat.DOS,ADOS,teachers etc.Find out what people want and decide how to do it.
3)Set up a policy of ‘helping teachers help themselves’
1)Find a time/place (Friday afternoon?) where teachers can go, drink/eat and just talk about their lessons, swap ideas, materials etc
2)In this room have a noticeboard and ‘suggestions box’.
3)If senior teachers are part of it make sure they are seen as equal and not just there to speak for the DOS or report on people.
4)In the first session/meeting provide ideas for CPD like peer observation, provide access to journals, blogs, conference info, books and stick this up.Explain how teachers can help each other by just reflecting, talking through problems/ideas and swapping notes. Add some websites of interesting teaching ideas to the board and ask people if they would like some help with something to put up a HELP WANTED note and if they have something to share then a HELP OFFERED one.
This way if I feel like I’m not handling a student right I can get a colleague to observe or team teach or just speak to the kid with me and then give me some FB/help.
At its basic level teachers will go and drink and chat like “oh, today didn’t go well..” which will lead to ideas and suggestions. OR a teacher will share some material. OR a teacher will just plan his week and swap ideas with another person or do it together.
If some people decide that they need more help/ideas then ‘open sessions’ could be scheduled on a theme and led by 1 person.Here everyone would discuss a topic/problem/theme and swap ideas. If they were willing it could even be followed by a plan of action like “let’s all try X and then meet up next week and discuss how it went”.
The options are endless and unrestricted but having empowered teachers who aren’t afraid of repercussions may be the key.
OK, back to my Luke Meddings shrine.