By improving both teaching and learning, effective teacher CPD is one of the greatest influences on student outcomes. Yet few schools evaluate its impact adequately, or even at all. However, unless you do so, it is difficult to know to what extent a CPD programme benefits a school or offers value for money. So how do you go about evaluating CPD? I would suggest the following basic framework:
Too much to do and too little time. That’s what I hear from both teachers and students. Students of the new two-year A Level specifications are stressed out about having to know two years’ worth of content all at once. Teachers are trying to cram revising the whole syllabus into a few short weeks of contact time.
Effective teacher CPD improves teaching and learning and has one of the largest impact on student outcomes (Hargreaves 1994, Craft 2000). This means that getting it right is crucial. However, when it comes to CPD, how do we know we are getting it right? It’s a topic I discuss regularly, and it’s often the case that the answer I get tallies with research that states that CPD evaluation is often a neglected step and that many school leaders struggle to carry out any sophisticated, in-depth analysis (Porritt 2005, Goodall 2005).
While Saturday was the shortest day of BETT 2017, there were still plenty of edtech for attendees to see. Many of you came to our stand to discuss your work or to film Innovation Bursts, which was a tremendous honour for us. We’re always looking to work with educators from all areas of the sector, so to have classroom teachers, school leaders, consultants, suppliers and trainee teachers get involved was great for both feedback and future content! There was even a moment when the stand was invaded by a number of the Primary Rocks team!
In the classroom, percussion often takes a supporting role. It provides the accompaniment to pitched instruments and is often relegated to the role of ‘timekeeping’. This need not be the case. Whole lessons and, indeed, schemes of work can be built around percussion and there’s no shortage of options in this regard. Djembe drumming and body percussion are two popular and inspiring options embraced by many music teachers. With 2016 being the year of the Rio Olympics, another percussion option is well worth exploring – samba drumming.
The subject of technology and education is hotly debated. For every evangelist who promotes the benefits of classroom technology, there’s a report like the OECD’s recent study, which claims that investment in edtech does little to improve pupil performance.
As teachers, we find it challenging to plan and manage high-quality group work in the classroom. Undeterred, we try to find ways to make it happen because we know that effective classroom group work makes differentiation easier and allows us to spot and tackle individual needs. We also try to make it happen because well-structured classroom activities are the only way we can teach young people the skills they need to work successfully with others. It follows that, if we can equip young people with these skills in school, they will take those skills out into the world and stand a better chance of becoming successful employees, entrepreneurs, partners and community members.
We always hear about the squeezed middle in the press. They are hard done by economically. In education, I tend to think the squeezed middle equivalent are the heads of department who often find themselves in the line of fire from all directions but who can be overlooked when it comes to concern and care.