Training in schools is one of several areas in education that have been impacted by the pandemic. The explosion of webinars over the last 18 months shows our teachers’ thirst for knowledge, but has also created a market for content which once consumed is then forgotten. Even now, time and CPD budgets are so limited that schools have to carefully consider where to spend their money. But CPD is critical for ensuring high quality teaching in schools, which is continually proven to be the best way to improve outcomes of disadvantaged learners.

It’s time to think differently about the reach of CPD

Education is messy and complex, and Covid has highlighted the cracks in a system so wedded to outcomes. When it needs to flex to accommodate new ways of working it breaks. We have an opportunity to think differently about education and consider its resilience and flexibility to change.

That’s why I’ve worked hard to design CPD which draws out connections, considers multiple perspectives and embraces uncertainty. I hope that DYT’s new courses have the potential for impact that is felt on many levels of a setting, and not just on the person attending.

Teachers are learners too

Learners with literacy difficulties are experts in change management – they pivot and adapt to teaching styles and subject content every day. Their resilience is demonstrated through their persistence to learn despite having difficulties in accessing the teaching material.

We are beginning to see the rise in popularity of cognitive psychology theories such as Cognitive Load Theory (Sweller, 1988) in explaining how humans learn. But we need to be cautious when applying these theories to professional development. To me, it seems like we should be asking the following questions when designing or choosing CPD for our teachers:

  • Why this approach?
  • How will it work?
  • Where will the impact be felt?

If the answers to these questions are limited by the four walls of a classroom, it’s not going deep enough. If the impact remains with a small cohort of learners or with the practitioner, its validity is in question.

Good CPD should lead to new connections

Koe and Cime (2021) highlight the importance of structured, well thought out, evidence-based CPD for teachers. What we expect for learners in the classroom should be standard for our teachers too. Furthermore, CPD should lead to new connections and opportunities for collaboration outside of a setting or trust. At times, we can all live in echo chambers and good CPD should offer a chance to hear from other perspectives in a safe, respectful environment.

At DYT, we want to see a revolution in CPD which inspires teachers to reflect and give into curiosity. And we want to see its impact ripple out throughout the school community. Head to our professional development page to find your next CPD course.

Kelly Challis, Head of Innovation & Learning, DYT

Inspired by working at a special school, Kelly completed a specialist qualification in teaching learners with literacy difficulties. Since then, she has worked in Primary and Secondary mainstream as a teaching assistant, Further Education as a manager, and Higher Education as a specialist one-to-one teacher. She has been a SENDCo in two preparatory schools.