“It’s all to do with the training: you can do a lot if you’re properly trained.”
~Elizabeth II, Queen of Great Britain~
I don’t know why there are some headteachers and senior leaders who are reluctant to send teachers on professional development. I understand that budget can sometimes put a restraint on the amount of courses teachers can go on, but at the start of the financial year, there must be a large sum of money put towards this specific intention.
Clearly, during the performance management of all staff, a specific focus should be agreed which most of the training should revolve around. Therefore, training isn’t just ‘ad hoc’ but instead becomes intentional training with a clear purpose.
There may be ‘one off’ training sessions that come about, that teachers request to go on, but for the majority, the courses should relate to the targets set at the start of the academic year.
Inspirational training can reinvigorate teachers at points in the year when they may feel drained, stressed and de-motivated. A training session could be just what they need to get them to look at their classroom from a different angle and enthuse them about trying new things. Professional development is what keeps teachers up to date with new changes that constantly face us in education. It is what often helps ‘good’ teachers become ‘outstanding.’ However, it is about choosing the right courses to suit the needs of the individual and of the school.
When I send teachers and teaching assistants on training, I set up specific staff meetings so that they can then disseminate that training to the rest of the staff. I was thinking of setting up a ‘Fact Sheet’ that all staff could fill in to give their colleagues the highlights and ‘key learning’ aspects of the sessions they attended.
At all stages of our careers in education, we will need to have more training. This development is essential in forcing us to progress as educators, reflect on our practice and think of ways to constantly improve.
Another way to develop staff is to clearly think about the wider plan of the school and to fit in whole school training sessions for that aim So, things that you want to implement across the school for all ages, you would then spend money on getting a trainer into school to deliver the training to all members of staff.
One thing that is key, is that whoever comes into school to provide this professional development, must be motivational and inspirational. If they aren’t, teachers get bored and turn off, just like the children! If this happens, then the training won’t be effective and won’t be as transformational as it would hope to be. So, before putting money into an all school training session, you must carry out your homework into who is delivering the session and what the outcomes will be. If not, you could end up spending money on something that will have no lasting impact at all.
Professional development allows staff to feel valued and more able to promote their role within their school. Outstanding training inspires staff and motivates them to change, some aspect no matter how small, of their practice.
How do you encourage professional development of all your staff?