Exploring what matters

Welcome to the IRIS Connect blog space where you can join conversations and discover free resources, tips and summaries. We hope you find something useful for your professional development and learning.

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TeacherTales: How we provide remote, autonomous and truly continuous PD

 ‘In order for students to learn they must do something’. This ideal is the same for all those who teach or support education and training. At times, well intended, top-down approaches to CPD can be too broad and not specific enough to meet the needs of individual teachers. In addition, measuring the impact of generalised CPD on learning and progress is a constant challenge. 

In response to this, we at Middlesbrough College asked ourselves two simple questions: 

  • What CPD should teachers immerse themselves in that will have a direct impact on their students?
  • Who should be responsible for identifying what this is?

The answers seemed strikingly simple: professional teaching focused CPD should be explicitly tailored to a) the teaching practice needs of the teacher and b) the pedagogical needs of their students. 

As a result, the Middlesbrough College Teaching Innovation Group’s (T.I.G’s) were born.

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TeacherTales: 5 key staff development strategies during a pandemic

Posted by Guest blogger - Chris Harrison on 28 January, 2021

Since Covid struck in 2020, so many things have been put on hold as we collectively navigate our way through unusual and challenging circumstances. Outside, gatherings have ceased and socialising has taken a significant hit.  We now see this taking place in schools, too: cross-over of staff is rare or non-existent as we strive to keep teams safe. Even when schools were full of pupils many teachers were like passing ships as they drifted around in their own bubbles.  Many of us have tried to tackle these issues digitally with get-togethers, quizzes and virtual meet-ups and these can have a really positive impact: just seeing others and interacting with them can be such a boost. 

One area in our school that we had struggled to maintain was staff development: courses have ceased or gone digital; TeachMeets and BrewEDs are digital or postponed; learning walks have had to be rethought; school visits are a no go and cross-pollination of good pedagogy is significantly damaged. Within this blog I hope to unpick some ways of combating this digitally – and more specifically through the use of IRIS Connect.

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Sharing good practice: Strategies to encourage teacher collaboration

Posted by Rico Patzer on 18 February, 2020

Collaboration between lead practitioners and teachers is a powerful professional development activity that can help teachers improve their subject knowledge, think about teaching strategies in different ways and learn new ideas to try in the classroom.

In fact, teachers have been found to learn more from each other than with mentors or in traditional classes and workshops. Even better news is that teachers using collaborative practices are more innovative in the classroom, hold stronger self-efficacy beliefs, and have higher job satisfaction (The Teaching and Learning International Survey—TALIS 2013)

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How to identify and share successful teaching practice

Posted by Alexandra Spalding on 21 November, 2019

How did all of the students of 3rd grade teacher Mary Dunbar Barksdale in Brazosport, Texas achieve remarkably high scores on the statewide test, despite the fact that 94% of her students lived in poverty?

How did a handful of schools in Argentina’s Misiones Province achieve a graduation rate of 75%, when the overall completion rate for the province was only 50%?

How did the students in one school district in Mason, Ohio achieve very high scores on achievement tests and other outcomes when their peer districts performed so poorly?

What’s their secret?

 

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Is collaboration the key to a successful Multi-Academy Trust?

Posted by Graham Newell on 6 October, 2019

 

In the Recommendations for MATs in Ofsted’s investigation into ‘Multi-academy trusts: benefits, challenges and functions’ (July, 2019) it is stated:

“MATs need to ensure that collaboration within the trust is used effectively and judiciously to maximise the benefits of shared expertise and mutual learning, while minimising the unproductive networking for its own sake”.

Throughout the report the value of collaboration within schools, across MATs and with other schools in the local area is clearly recognised.

Imagine if every MAT used the ‘power within’ to ensure that every school truly became a ‘learning community’ - a ‘knowledge creating school’.

“The power of collective capacity is that it enables ordinary people to accomplish extraordinary things” - for two reasons. One is that knowledge about effective practice becomes more widely available and accessible on a daily basis. The second reason is more powerful still—working together generates commitment.” (Michael Fullan, ‘How the World’s Most Improved Systems Keep Getting Better” p 72)

 

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TeacherTales: Professional Learning Communities - 4 tips to creating one in your school

Posted by Andrew Ball on 27 September, 2019

 

First things first, what is a professional learning community?  

A PLC is a group of educators that meets on a regular basis, works collaboratively and shares knowledge creating a professional dialogue to improve teaching skills and student outcomes.  Simply put, it’s professionals coming together in a group to learn.  

Guest blog by Andrew Ball, Quality Manager & Teaching Learning Senior Leader,  Itchen Sixth Form College.  @MY__teaching

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