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The Teaching Space Podcast

The podcast is on pause for a year (as of August 2021) as I am tackling the final year of my masters in education (which I am doing alongside my full-time job). In the meantime, please revisit the considerable back catalogue of episodes. Also, give me a follow on Twitter, where I am still very active and sign up for my personal newsletter here. You can visit The Teaching Space website here:

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Mar 29, 2019

Episode 52 of The Teaching Space Podcast investigates how to get teachers excited about professional development.

My Job

Part of my day job role this year is heading up professional development for my College. When I took it on, I knew one challenge would to get (some) teachers excited about professional development. In this episode I will explore why teachers sometimes aren’t the most enthusiastic recipients of organised PD and what I’ve been (trying) to do to change that.

The “Why” Before The “Why”

Before we look at the “why” in terms of why we need PD. Let’s be honest, we all know we need to do it, but let me re-frame the "why" for you in a slightly different way.

Would you be happy being operated on by a surgeon who uses 10-year-old methods? Would you be happy allowing a builder to work on your house if they had not updated their knowledge since their apprenticeship 20 years ago?

I think I know the answer. Surgeons and builders are professionals in the same way that teachers are. PD and professionalism go hand in hand.

Why the Sad Face?

We know we have to do it, and we know why we have to do it. So, why do so many teachers turn their noses up at organised PD sessions? I’m talking INSET days and mandatory courses mostly, here.

Many reasons. Here are just a few:

  1. Extrinsic motivation - they have to do it.
  2. Sessions are boring and often mostly about sharing information.
  3. Too busy.

How Can We Make Things Better?

This list is a starting point - let’s chat more.

  1. Teacher-led PD - what do they want and need?
  2. Share information in other ways.
  3. Model good teachers.
  4. Rethink observations.
  5. Peer collaboration.
  6. Professional learning communities (episode 44).
  7. Fun.