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6 CPD Resolutions to Make 2018 your Best Teaching Year Ever

David Weston suggests half a dozen teaching ideas that every educator should be considering

  • 6 CPD Resolutions to Make 2018 your Best Teaching Year Ever

The new year is the perfect time to take stock and reflect not just on your students’ learning, but also on your own professional development.

Now that you have hopefully had some downtime over the Christmas break, and you know your students’ needs much better than you did in September, how will you secure great outcomes by furthering your own practice? How can you ensure that as the year goes on you are becoming an even better teacher?

Here are six small but powerful tweaks that you can adopt straight away, in order to make 2018 your best CPD year yet!

1. Start every CPD activity with two or three pupils in mind

Professional learning has the biggest impact on pupil outcomes when we identify those needs before the process takes place, and then formatively assess and evaluate the impact of any change in practice on those needs.

By taking a couple of minutes to pinpoint those learners on whom you really hope to make an impact in adopting a new classroom strategy, you are much more likely to take forward the new knowledge and embed it into your day-to-day practice.

2. Collaboratively plan a lesson

Joint planning is something that can slip down the list of priorities and not happen as often as you would like.

Ensure that it is as beneficial as possible by focusing on a few key students, or particular pupil needs, and plan in detail what strategies you would use for those needs, what you would anticipate happening and why.

3. Engage with some research

You might find academic research and reading daunting if it’s not something that you’ve done since university or your NQT year, but there are many ways to ease yourself into the habit and access support in challenging your thinking.

You might have a colleague who can help you with this in school; you could also look online for recommendations, or perhaps encourage your SLT to invest in teachers’ access to educational databases such as EBSCO (provided through Teacher Development Trust Network membership).

When you find a particularly interesting study or research summary, why not see if you can share and discuss it with colleagues in your department?

4. Get tweeting

There is a vast community of ‘edu-tweeters’ and ‘edu-bloggers’ online these days, so make it a resolution for 2018 to sign up and join the conversation if you haven’t already!

Engaging with other teachers allows you to build your knowledge so that you have a larger bank of evidence-informed ideas, and can help you to identify effective practices in other schools that might also work for your learners.

This awareness of up-to-date practice is an important part of your CPD, though do take caution. Be a discerning consumer, and don’t be tempted to adopt every new idea or teaching fad going without taking the time to adapt and embed properly over time.

5. Observe a colleague

…or don’t! We are so attuned to entering other teachers’ classrooms and watching what our colleagues do, but rather than focusing your judgements on how the teacher is approaching the lesson, try instead to observe how the pupils are responding to different approaches.

Perhaps observe a class that you teach in another context, eg in a PE lesson, or if possible, investigate how certain pupils learn differently when in smaller or bigger groups.

This will help you identify how students respond to different strategies and how you might want to use or adapt them in your own practice.

6. Join a subject association

Effective professional learning includes exploration of subject specific pedagogy. By joining a subject association, you can access dedicated resources for your specific subject, which will not only be useful to you, but also to your department, subject or key stage team.

David Weston is the Chief Executive of the Teacher Development Trust. Follow David on Twitter at @informed_edu and the TDT at @TeacherDevTrust.

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