Staff development encompasses a variety of activities, but often right now it’s training event planning time. Only maybe it’s not, because it’s time to cope with all the current sector challenges. With all the issues, it’s easy to see how training to improve teaching, learning and assessment might be put to one side for now.  

You’re not convinced it’s ok though are you? You know it’s never time to let learning slip. In this fast changing technological age, it’s quite possible that there has never been a time when we have needed to future proof our teaching and learning more. So, just coping right now won’t cut it. We need our sector to focus not just on surviving but on thriving in tough times.

So if we want to thrive we need to develop our teachers. You don’t need me to tell you that. If we’re smart we want to be ahead of the teaching and learning game but with little money available to spend on training and development what do we do? Simple: We spend it wisely.

Enter opportunity. When times get tough (again) we have opportunity to reflect carefully and ask ourselves the question: Were we spending our money wisely anyway? Let’s consider what would constitute a wise spend. Perhaps carefully chosen and planned activity that leads to sustainable improvement so that all teachers and learners benefit?  However, knowing whether staff development has actually developed staff is a question that can be difficult to answer. So let’s ask. Do you know:

  • Which teachers make changes to the way they plan and deliver their sessions as a result of staff development?

  • The impact of these changes on learner motivation, engagement, progress, and development of skills?

  • What the differences are in delivery quality between the teachers that do and do not partake in the training?

  • How long the changes and associated impact last for?

  • Which staff development sessions have the most positive impact?

  • Whether any staff development sessions go on to result in negative impact?

Too often, we measure success by the seeming success of the event itself. With well thought out training, positive teacher attitude, and a great trainer, training can be evaluated as wonderful. We can all give ourselves a pat on the back safe in the knowledge we’ve had a positive impact. Well, for the weekend maybe or perhaps for a lesson or two. The bad news is, that positive ‘feeling’ often doesn’t last or actually result in any meaningful change.

So, following the event what do we need to do to monitor and ensure sustainable improvement? Consider:

  • Hang on. First, let’s rewind: Before training, teachers should reflect upon where they are to begin with identifying their strengths and areas for development related to the training.
  • At key points during the training, teachers should consider what they have learnt and what they will do differently in the future as a result of this.

  • Trainers should be observing carefully, identifying barriers to future progress, and reporting back to key managers with recommendations to ensure meaningful and sustainable improvements to practice.

  • Key managers should attend the training. I can’t stress how important this can be for all sorts of reasons. Time and time again I hear teachers express fear about changing their practice because of perception it won’t be ‘allowed’ or ‘accepted’ by management. Teachers and managers need a shared understanding.

  • Note. Just in case you’re thinking that managers’ presence in training can have a negative impact by ‘subduing’ teachers during the session - well yes of course it can and sometimes does, but then you’ve got another problem to deal with. It doesn’t have to be that way.

  • Promptly provide a forum for teachers to plan together based on what they have learnt.

  • Ensure that teachers consider how they will know if their plans are working. Basically, all you are doing here is assessing the impact and sustainability of their learning.

  • Managers, coaches, and peer teachers can be involved in this evaluation. There isn’t a correct method for this. It’s the way you go about it and the intention behind it that’s important.

  • Provide an opportunity for group teacher evaluation where they share their set backs and successes and decide what to do next.

  • And please, please, please ask learners too.

So, don’t just train your staff and then breathe a sigh of relief at the end of the day. See that day as the beginning and get excited about the ongoing adventure, exploring the difference it’s (possibly) making. Once you know whether your staff development really does result in staff development, then, and only then, can you spend with wisdom.

Deborah McVey is managing director of Deborah McVey Ltd, providing training, coaching and consultancy support to the learning and skills sector, specialising in improving teaching, learning and assessment. Follow her on Twitter and LinkedIn
 

You may also be interested in these articles:

Register, Login or Login with your Social Media account:


Advertisers

Upcoming FE Events

Advertiser Skyscrapers

Newsroom Activity

Latest Education News

Further Education News

The FE News Channel gives you the latest education news and updates on emerging education strategies and the #FutureofEducation and the #FutureofWork.

Providing trustworthy and positive Further Education news and views since 2003, we are a digital news channel with a mixture of written word articles, podcasts and videos. Our specialisation is providing you with a mixture of the latest education news, our stance is always positive, sector building and sharing different perspectives and views from thought leaders, to provide you with a think tank of new ideas and solutions to bring the education sector together and come up with new innovative solutions and ideas.

FE News publish exclusive peer to peer thought leadership articles from our feature writers, as well as user generated content across our network of over 3000 Newsrooms, offering multiple sources of the latest education news across the Education and Employability sectors.

FE News also broadcast live events, podcasts with leading experts and thought leaders, webinars, video interviews and Further Education news bulletins so you receive the latest developments in Skills News and across the Apprenticeship, Further Education and Employability sectors.

Every week FE News has over 200 articles and new pieces of content per week. We are a news channel providing the latest Further Education News, giving insight from multiple sources on the latest education policy developments, latest strategies, through to our thought leaders who provide blue sky thinking strategy, best practice and innovation to help look into the future developments for education and the future of work.

In May 2020, FE News had over 120,000 unique visitors according to Google Analytics and over 200 new pieces of news content every week, from thought leadership articles, to the latest education news via written word, podcasts, video to press releases from across the sector.

We thought it would be helpful to explain how we tier our latest education news content and how you can get involved and understand how you can read the latest daily Further Education news and how we structure our FE Week of content:

Main Features

Our main features are exclusive and are thought leadership articles and blue sky thinking with experts writing peer to peer news articles about the future of education and the future of work. The focus is solution led thought leadership, sharing best practice, innovation and emerging strategy. These are often articles about the future of education and the future of work, they often then create future education news articles. We limit our main features to a maximum of 20 per week, as they are often about new concepts and new thought processes. Our main features are also exclusive articles responding to the latest education news, maybe an insight from an expert into a policy announcement or response to an education think tank report or a white paper.

FE Voices

FE Voices was originally set up as a section on FE News to give a voice back to the sector. As we now have over 3,000 newsrooms and contributors, FE Voices are usually thought leadership articles, they don’t necessarily have to be exclusive, but usually are, they are slightly shorter than Main Features. FE Voices can include more mixed media with the Further Education News articles, such as embedded podcasts and videos. Our sector response articles asking for different comments and opinions to education policy announcements or responding to a report of white paper are usually held in the FE Voices section. If we have a live podcast in an evening or a radio show such as SkillsWorldLive radio show, the next morning we place the FE podcast recording in the FE Voices section.

Sector News

In sector news we have a blend of content from Press Releases, education resources, reports, education research, white papers from a range of contributors. We have a lot of positive education news articles from colleges, awarding organisations and Apprenticeship Training Providers, press releases from DfE to Think Tanks giving the overview of a report, through to helpful resources to help you with delivering education strategies to your learners and students.

Podcasts

We have a range of education podcasts on FE News, from hour long full production FE podcasts such as SkillsWorldLive in conjunction with the Federation of Awarding Bodies, to weekly podcasts from experts and thought leaders, providing advice and guidance to leaders. FE News also record podcasts at conferences and events, giving you one on one podcasts with education and skills experts on the latest strategies and developments.

We have over 150 education podcasts on FE News, ranging from EdTech podcasts with experts discussing Education 4.0 and how technology is complimenting and transforming education, to podcasts with experts discussing education research, the future of work, how to develop skills systems for jobs of the future to interviews with the Apprenticeship and Skills Minister.

We record our own exclusive FE News podcasts, work in conjunction with sector partners such as FAB to create weekly podcasts and daily education podcasts, through to working with sector leaders creating exclusive education news podcasts.

Education Video Interviews

FE News have over 700 FE Video interviews and have been recording education video interviews with experts for over 12 years. These are usually vox pop video interviews with experts across education and work, discussing blue sky thinking ideas and views about the future of education and work.

Events

FE News has a free events calendar to check out the latest conferences, webinars and events to keep up to date with the latest education news and strategies.

FE Newsrooms

The FE Newsroom is home to your content if you are a FE News contributor. It also help the audience develop relationship with either you as an individual or your organisation as they can click through and ‘box set’ consume all of your previous thought leadership articles, latest education news press releases, videos and education podcasts.

Do you want to contribute, share your ideas or vision or share a press release?

If you want to write a thought leadership article, share your ideas and vision for the future of education or the future of work, write a press release sharing the latest education news or contribute to a podcast, first of all you need to set up a FE Newsroom login (which is free): once the team have approved your newsroom (all content, newsrooms are all approved by a member of the FE News team- no robots are used in this process!), you can then start adding content (again all articles, videos and podcasts are all approved by the FE News editorial team before they go live on FE News). As all newsrooms and content are approved by the FE News team, there will be a slight delay on the team being able to review and approve content.

 RSS IconRSS Feed Selection Page