In March 2015 I was invited to an event at The Baltic in Gateshead. Vicky Sturrs asked me to discuss how CPD had changed over recent decades – I started teaching in 1980.
I talked about how, in my early years of teaching, before the 1988 Education Act, there was no National Curriculum, no key stage tests, league tables, Ofsted – nothing like the intensity of accountability which has characterised the entire teaching careers of many of those I connect with through Twitter and blogs. (However, interestingly, I’m currently rereading my diary from 1985, when I was in my fifth year of teaching, in my first school but having moved to my first promoted post, and I was working my socks off….)
There was also, in my experience, minimal CPD – even Staff Study Days before pupils returned at the start of term hadn’t been thought of. The introduction of the National Curriculum, and of GCSE with its moderation of coursework, encouraged us to talk to each other and to work together on planning and assessment in ways we hadn’t done before. It was the beginning of a collaborative approach to the development of practice which has since become the norm.
Then I talked of CPD today – of the power of social networking, especially Twitter, for professional development; of blogging, and responding to blogs written by others in order to reflect, share ideas and resources; of the power of #SLTchat and of @staffrm; of online learning which can build a warm and mutually supportive community; of models of CPD which offer teachers CHOICE – engagement is expected but staff decide which activities they wish to invest time and effort in so that training is targeted and relevant rather than broad brush.
All afternoon, poet Kate Fox (www.katefox.co.uk, @katefoxwriter) listened and simultaneously composed. By the end of my session, the final one of the day, she had completed a poem summing up everyone’s presentations. How amazing is that? This was the section about my contribution:
Then Jill Berry, Twitter addict
On staff CPD.
Social networking as CPD aids,
Reflecting massive changes over the past four decades.
The National Curriculum meant talking to each other
Instead of reinventing the wheel.
Targeted CPD, a more collaborative feel.
Online learning can be full of warmth, generosity and passion,
Not just a detached fad or a box-ticking fashion.
Hashtag SLTchat is one Sunday evening way
Of getting into that.
Reflection on how you practise
Can happen in a blog
In that time out of the schoolday slog.
@staffr(oo)m is where you can sign up as a guest,
Or get yourself blogged up and WordPressed.
A virtual world
Away from the world of stuff
Allowing choices about CPD
When you’re stressed and daily life is tough.
What’s not to like?
This under-used resource is available and free.
CPD without actually being there,
Sermon on the Mount style
You can be everywhere.
So, as for this whole afternoon,
Go forth, let others know,
This post was originally published on @staffrm in 2015