After this event a couple of months ago, I recorded my initial reflections about the day and subsequently shared an account of the best CPD I have ever participated in. What follows are notes on the content of the keynotes part of the day. I’m rather later than intended in typing these up but returning to them after the event has been beneficial for my learning.
Before we proceed any further, I must let you know to expect references to ‘CPD’ throughout this blog. I believe that the learning educators engage in should be continuous, it should be professional (in that it aligns with their job role and the needs of the organisation), personal (in that it fits the needs of their learners in their context; motivating and interesting them) and it should lead to the development of skills, knowledge, and/or attributes. There are many who will argue against calling it this. I say, call it whatever you’d like to call it, but unless it holds all of the characteristics of great learning then it won’t matter one jot whether it’s called PPD, JPD, or just plain learning.
The day began, as expected, with a picture of the current recruitment and retention ‘crisis’ in education.
In a Further Education context, retention of our teachers is a growing problem with figures from the Association of Colleges suggesting that 36% of all staff that leave, do so within the first 2 years, and that 11% of these leave within the first 6 months. You can read the AoC Report 2014 here: https://goo.gl/fpK1bp (the 2015 report is not yet available).
Considering the number of teachers who leave in the early years of their career and the number who don’t even enter the profession after their training, the cost of teacher training is astronomical and the current position means that we’re currently pouring water into a bucket that has a hole in the bottom of it. Some figures suggest that we’re losing 40% of our teachers at the end of the NQT year. This can’t continue… How could this money be spent differently?
‘Children today love luxury. They have bad manners, contempt for authority…’
In what year was this said?
If it’s not the students to blame, then what is it?
In Finland, the most desired profession is a teacher.
…Perhaps we don’t treat our teachers like professionals?
With the dawn of the College of Teaching, professionalism could be higher on the agenda than ever before for school teachers but what about those of us working in colleges? In Further Education, we have the option of joining the Education and Training Foundation and despite the recent conversations about how worthwhile it might be, I’ve begun to consider over the last few months that it might be more worthwhile in than out; at least then I can make a contribution to the community.
David Weston- Teacher Development Trust
I always enjoy hearing David speaking about CPD. From the moment I took on a role that involved me in educator learning, he has helped to shape and inform my approaches and thinking. What follows are some of the highlights from what he had to say.
We should read Kraft and Papay: click here to access
They conducted teacher surveys about the culture and environment in which they work- the level of support, development and feedback received. They could then correlate this with the success experienced by their teachers.
Changing the effectiveness of leadership in education environments is vital if our teachers are to experience success. Vivian Robinson is the essential read on this subject: click here to access.
‘Promoting and participating in teacher learning and development (ES 0.84)
Of all the activities identified in the re-analysis, head teachers’ leading of and active participation in professional learning and development had the largest impact on student outcomes. Their involvement could be in:
• formal contexts such as staff meetings and professional development sessions, and
• informal contexts such as discussions about specific teaching problems.
The author suggests several explanations for the power of leadership of CPD, emphasising the fact that leaders who promote and participate in teachers’ professional learning:
• have a focus on teaching and learning
• learn more about what teachers are up against, and then give them more support in making
changes required to embed their learning in their daily practice. This could mean providing
necessary teaching resources, rearranging timetables and freeing up time from teaching, and • have a deeper appreciation of the stages and duration of the change process.’
Kraft, 2016, is a further recommended read on the subject of teacher turnover: Click here to access.
‘We identified four distinct and potentially malleable dimensions of middle schools’ organizational environments:
1. Leadership and professional development;
2. High academic expectations for students;
3. Teacher relationships and collaboration; and
4. School safety and order.
We then examined how changes in these four dimensions over time were linked to corresponding changes in teacher turnover and student achievement. We found robust relationships between increases in all four dimensions of school climate and decreases in teacher turnover, suggesting that improving the environment in which teachers work could play an important role in reducing turnover.’
David suggests that Ofsted have made changes in the CIF that impact positively on CPD practice in schools and colleges.
Within the handbook for the skills sector, I found these statement within leadership and management:
‘Staff reflect on and debate the way they teach. They feel deeply involved in their own professional development. Leaders have created a climate in which staff are motivated and trusted to take risks and innovate in ways that are right for their learners.’
‘Leaders, managers and governors use incisive performance management that leads to professional development that encourages, challenges and supports staff improvement.’
CIPD suggests that, ‘at its best, performance management is a holistic process that ensures employees’ performance contributes to business objectives. It brings together many of elements of good people management practice, including learning and development, measurement of performance, and organisational development. For this very reason, it’s complex and often misunderstood.’ Click here to read more.
My concern is that, at its worst, performance management will achieve none of these things. Are our leaders equipped to manage the performance of their staff effectively? Can they be effective in coaching their staff towards the best kinds of development? A point requiring further reflection in my context…
Developing Great Teaching is a must-read that incorporates the findings about CPD from a range of studies: click here to access.
Which of these models of development is the most effective and why?
- Senior leaders select a topic and set it as the focus of CPD.
- An Assistant Head makes a PPT and all teachers must come along.
- Some discussion and questions.
- ‘Now you know all that, we’re looking for growth mindset in lessons.’
- Start with your classes.
- Investigate their work- Who are the students you have concerns about? How can we help them?
- Ok. We think growth mindset will help.
- Get an external expert in- problem solve- How will I use it with this individual? How will I use it with this topic?
- They research, measure impact and investigate for themselves.
- Here are the tools you can use to measure impact.
- They then ask, have I made an impact yet?
It seems pretty obvious when laid out in this way. This second example reminds me very much of the Mini Learning Project approach offered to colleagues at The Sheffield College.
Things that get in the way of learning-
- Workload gets in the way.
- Proportion of time actually delivering
- Lack of trust and mutual support where learning is possible
- Lack of investment
- Lack of external expertise
One offs don’t translate into improved outcomes for students.
Develop a vision that helps teachers believe that more is possible. Move barriers out of the way so that learning is prioritised.
Leaders need to talk about their own learning and share that with staff- everyone contributes to a culture of learning.
New CPD standards 2016 from DfE are coming… ‘The group will publish the new standard in early 2016.’ As we hurtle towards June, I wonder when ‘early 2016’ comes to an end?
In order to improve standards, what do we prioritise?
- Increasing trust and respect
- Improving career development
- Improving subject / curriculum development
- Improving systems and procedures
This conundrum can be summarised in a few statements:
– Systems and procedures need to be in place before teaching can improve perhaps?
– Whatever else is in place, staff need to trust one another and respect their leaders so that failure doesn’t occur.
– But teachers respect their teachers who have a love for their subject. Teachers have to be able to link their development to their subject expertise.
– You need the systems and procedures in place that drive the culture change and influence that.
Teacher learning is just, if not more, complex than student learning. We need to give it the same amount of thought and it’s just as complex in that what we think will work doesn’t necessarily end up working in the way we expect.
The importance of teacher self-efficacy
Scenario: You’re faced with spare bedroom furniture from IKEA. On a scale of 1-10, how successful do you feel you will be?
Bandura wrote about self-efficacy in 1997: Click here to access.
What does it take to be successful?
It’s not just about pre-requisite knowledge or skills…
Perceived self-efficacy is a significant determinant of knowledge. So if you believe you’ll be successful, you will be? It can’t be that simple… Surely?!… Can it?
Teacher self-efficacy is the belief a teacher has in their capability, as a result of their knowledge, actions and strategies, to contribute to positive outcomes of students in their class.
Self-efficacy is related to each of the following:
- Their motivation levels- a sense of fear and anxiety pervades and prevents them from feeling motivated.
- Their capacity to innovate and sustain innovation.
- Job satisfaction and burnout
Having just made a big move into a new college, new role, new house, new city, this keynote could not have resonated with me more. So what can be done to increase it?
The sources of self-efficacy are as follows:
- Enactive mastery experience– doing things and being successful- by far the strongest source of self-efficacy
- Vicarious experience– observing someone else carrying out something effectively
- Verbal persuasion– we can have an influence on self-efficacy this way but it’s usually short-lived without the experiences to support it
- Physiological and affective states– if we’re tired stressed or ill- these affect us greatly
CPD can provide some of these things. Through educators collaborating, they receive a vicarious experience through observing or at least discussing how someone else does something. Through research, and application of it, educators engage in enactive mastery experience.
Where there’s an attack on teachers’ self-efficacy (government or LA directives), a challenging and supportive culture can counteract it.
Collective efficacy gives people the sense that they can do things differently.
The plateau exists because educators think they can now do things so they stop engaging in their own development. Their self-assessments are not close to how capable they actually are.
All slides from the day can be viewed here: Click here to access.