Exploring what matters

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.

If you have a topic you'd like us to cover or if you're interested in covering one yourself in a guest post, please contact us.


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TeacherTales: From NQT to SLT with Video CPD

Posted by Tom Trower on 2 June, 2021

Guest blog written by Tom Trower @Mr_Trower, Assistant Head, Co-op Academy Woodlands

First of all, let me introduce myself! I’m Tom Trower, Assistant Headteacher at Co-op Academy Woodlands in Leeds and I know it sounds cliché, but I have always wanted to be a teacher… no really, always! For one of my birthdays growing up, I was gifted a school bell and blackboard and so I feel very lucky to be one of the few people who is doing what they have always wanted to do. I have to thank my fantastic Scout Leader who, if it wasn’t for her, I would not be the person I am today. Growing up in Scouting taught me to help others, see the best in people, be honest and caring and to ask for help when I need it.  

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TeacherTales: Video CPD - our silver lining

Guest blog by Lynette Clapham - Interim Executive Head at Grove House Primary & Crossley Hall Primary.

In some respects, IRIS Connect has become something of a lifeline to us this year. Being honest, it was something that our school had already invested in but there was a great deal of nervousness around its use, which really prevented it from being fully embraced. Fears around not liking the sound of our own voices, seeing ourselves on screen, or even those who were a little nervous of the technology were an initial barrier for us. 

As an organisation, we pride ourselves on our consistently good outcomes for all pupils through high levels of inclusion and a culture of coaching and development. I am a firm believer in getting the climate for learning right not only for our pupils but for our professionals too – this is our commitment to supporting everyone we work with to become the best that they can be.

 

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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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How to teach remotely: 10 resources

Posted by Alexandra Spalding on 18 January, 2021

We know there’s no quick fix when it comes to remote teaching and one size certainly doesn’t fit all, but these tools to teach online could be a great place to start. Keep up to date with all the resources we're sharing over on our Twitter account @IRIS_Connect.

Please share any other resources you’ve found to be useful in the comments section below so that fellow readers can benefit. 

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Refining distance learning with IRIS Connect

Posted by Rico Patzer on 11 January, 2021

A new year, a new lockdown. With the latest government announcement schools have again been largely closed to most learners and are now switching to online learning at least until half term. In contrast to the first wave last year, most schools and teachers are now more experienced with this new approach to teaching and learning and are no longer solely focused on how to deliver online education but instead are considering ways to improve this experience for both their learners and their teachers. 

If your school has been using IRIS Connect to capture and improve classroom practice, take a look below at some ideas of how you could be using our online CPD platform to capture your online teaching, improve your practice and stay connected with colleagues wherever they are.

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