Becoming Better Teachers
We recognize that our most important asset is our staff and that the effectiveness of a school is directly dependent upon the quality of teaching and learning within it. We understand that providing Continual Professional Development as well as creating a climate of pedagogical dialogue, where staff talk about and reflect upon their practice, are paramount in order to ensure that we are able to teach as well as possible and continue to improve our practice.
Our CPD vision is based on the idea of reflective and deliberate practice. While we are sure that there are certain essential elements of great teaching, we also recognize that across subjects and age ranges, there are a number of different methods and approaches. CPD at SIS aims to provide staff with choice as to what they would like to develop and pursue in their own practice. Our CPD model is non-hierarchical and recognizes that different staff have different areas of expertise and interest, the ultimate aim being to disseminate these skills by creating a permanent and regular dialogue of teaching and learning.
This is how we do it.
Six days that are set aside for staff training and collaborative work within departments and key stages. These give us the opportunity to engage with whole school issues such as Unit Planning, Whole School Literacy and Behavior.
Teaching and Learning Groups
These run in three cycles across the year and give staff an opportunity to develop a particular aspect of their pedagogy. The groups meet three times over the course of a month and allow teachers to try new techniques or strategies in their lessons that fall between meetings, the important part being that they reflect upon the efficacy of what they have learnt. These groups are run by different staff members.
This term we have groups focusing on:
- MARKING AND FEEDBACK TECHNIQUES
- MODELLING, USING EXEMPLARS AND WORKED EXAMPLES
- STARTERS AND PLENARIES
- PRIMARY SEN AND BEHAVIOR
- DISCUSSION, QUESTIONING AND GROUP WORK
- SOLO TAXONOMY
Ten Minute Presentations
Recognizing that all of our teachers excel in specific areas, we ask staff to give a 10 minute presentation on something that they do well. These happen each week after our whole school meetings and are there to encourage discussion and debate. We can learn so much off each other and it is both useful and invigorating to see how other staff members approach their work.
This year there will be presentations on:
- Language : Moving from the Ordinary to the Academic
- Engaging learners
- The Flipped Classroom
- Interactive tools-using technology in the classroom
- Move! Activities that get students of all ages to move away from their desks
- Cooperative Learning
- Language : Group Scaffolding
- Big Write: Developing vocabulary, connectives, openers and punctuation to improve writing in the primary age range
- Language: Writing to Describe
A good teacher is also a good learner. We understand that effective teachers are continually researching and looking for ways to improve their practice. The CPD blog provides teachers with an opportunity to explain and reflect upon how they have been improving their practice. Staff members are provided with academic journals, access to teaching magazines and articles, and also a wide range of teaching blogs in order to choose what area they would like to develop
A Whole School Marketplace
In the third term, we will be running a specific evening dedicated to showcasing the ways in which we approach our practice. Departments and key stages will be running stalls and explaining the ways in which they are effective to other staff members. This will be a further opportunity to learn how different staff, subjects and age-ranges define what quality teaching looks like. The aim of this event is to highlight the elements and building blocks of what makes good teaching; teachers will be able to learn from each other and hopefully take away some new approaches and different ways of thinking.
While more formalised lesson observations form a part of our staff appraisal process, Lesson Study is a collaborative activity that allows teachers to investigate the efficacy of different activities, strategies and techniques. Instead of focussing on how the teacher teaches, the process concentrates on how the pupils learn, specifically with regards to a particular approach. Teachers work together in triads and jointly plan a lesson; they then teach or observe it, paying attention to how the particular approach impacts upon chosen students. Meeting up afterwards, they are then able to reflect upon the lesson and plan the next one using the information that they have gathered from student work, interviews and their observations.