The opportunities for professional development at our school are excellent. I previously worked at a school for 7 years in which minimal effort was expended on developing the skills of the staff, let alone on initiatives designed to spark change or encourage debate. So I genuinely appreciate every chance we get to step away from the daily schedule of working with children and take a moment to engage, learn and reflect.
At our school there is an understanding that everything we need to do cannot be done in the time we have available on days we are teaching. Therefore, our Professional Development time is often dedicated to departments meeting and doing the necessary reflection and curriculum development that requires solid chunks of time. A day here and there may not seem like a lot, but anyone who doesn’t teach will never really understand how long a day feels (and how much can be done) when you don’t have to stand up and lead learning.
The first set of PD days for us starts tomorrow and lasts two days. Tomorrow we have what is an inspiring line-up of speakers and workshop leaders, all participating in the first international “Big Day Out” under the umbrella of the Independent Thinking label (see more at independentthinking.co.uk). The programme is here, and it was not easy choosing which session to attend as they all looked intriguing. In the end I decided to go for 3 keynote speeches and 2 workshops. I enjoy interacting with peers and being part of a workshop process, but I also appreciate listening to someone speak in a more formal way, which gives me the chance to cogitate quietly. I will attend the following sessions:
- Session 1 (keynote) – Positively Brilliant Learning and Teaching by Nina Jackson
- Session 2 (workshop) – Learning in Context by Hywel Roberts
- Session 3 (keynote) – To Be, Or Not – Hamlet, The Butterfly Model and on Being Human by Roy Leighton
- Session 4 (keynote) – The Future Classroom Today by Simon Pridham
- Session 5 (workshop) – Are You “Open”, “Closed” or just “Stuck” – How to Engage In, and Enjoy, the Disruption of Change by Roy Leighton again.