Professional development should be an ongoing practice.
As someone who has returned to education after a lengthy break I am more than many my age who are teaching, I suspect, keen to improve my skills. That’s not to say that teachers who have 20+ years experience aren’t keen to improve, but that they are normally the ones leading professional development not wanting it.
If the media and Google are to be believed then the state of professional development in the UK is lamentable. In many countries where education is taken seriously CPD (continual professional development) is expected. In Singapore for example 100 hours a year is required. In the UK? Zero. This isn’t quite true as teachers are contractually obliged to take part in 5 days of INSET. These are often viewed as something to be endured and indeed only 7% of teachers even bother to see if their INSET has any affect on their teaching.
Although there is no government oversight (which is a bit odd considering how much they want to oversee everything else regarding education) on the professional development of teachers, this isn’t the whole picture. Many schools run vibrant professional development programs but this is up to individual schools rather than a coherent national program. So ordinarily if you want to access professional development then it is available, it will just be in your own time and often at your own expense.
As a teacher in Egypt then it is even harder to tap into any professional development opportunities that are available. Really one of the only avenues open to us realistically is online courses. Finding good online courses is very hit and mis but fortunately I did come across Future learn who run courses on many different subjects including courses for teachers.
Different institutions put these courses together and Future Learn is the portal through which they are presented. The courses are free, amazing, but if you want a certificate and transcript (useful for documenting your CPD) then it will cost you £60. As I am quickly learning the courses vary in quality.
The first course I did was Managing Behaviour for Learning. Produced by the STEM Learning Organisation and creating by Pivotal Education. It was very well done. A five week course that dealt with lots of behaviours that you come across in the classroom and more importantly some really excellent strategies for dealing with them. One of the good things about the way Future Learn works is that there are opportunities for interacting, albeit online, with other people doing the course. It adds an extra dimension to the course that many online courses I have done in the past were missing. They are running another course in April next year and you can sign up here.
I’m now engaged in another 2 courses one of which I am enjoying and the other I am enduring. It’s interesting to to see how, much like University, who delivers the course makes all the difference. Who said that anyone can teach? That may be true but not anyone can teach well and that appears to be true for online content as well as ‘live.’
Brighouse, T. and Moon, B. (2013) It’s time to give teachers the skills and respect they deserve. Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/teacher-network/2013/jan/29/teachers-professional-development-national-body-england (Accessed: 12 November 2016).
Creating effective teaching and learning environments: First results from TALIS – the professional development of teachers (2009) Available at: https://www.oecd.org/berlin/43541636.pdf (Accessed: 12 November 2016).
Kempton, J. (2013) Teachers taking control: A new vision for professional development. Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/teacher-network/teacher-blog/2013/nov/21/teacher-control-professional-development-raising-standards (Accessed: 12 November 2016).
McGill, R.M. (2013) Professional development for teachers: How can we take it to the next level? Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/teacher-network/teacher-blog/2013/jan/29/professional-development-teacher-training-needs (Accessed: 12 November 2016).
There seemed to be a lot of interest in CPD back in 2013 – then nothing much. Would be interested to hear if there was anything else going on at a National level that was more recent.