Exploring what makes great PD

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.

creating a culture for school improvement

6 challenges of teacher reflection and how to overcome them

Posted by Alexandra Spalding on 9/3/19 3:34 PM

There is one quality above all others that makes a good teacher - the ability to reflect on what, why and how they do things and to adapt and develop their excellence in teaching. Self reflection is a core component of effective professional development (PD) and key to becoming an skilled teacher.

But teacher reflection is not just essential for teachers. According to research by Prof. John Hattie, developing excellence in teaching has the single most powerful influence on student achievement.  Read more about the benefits of self-reflection >

Here are some of the challenges that teachers face when reflecting on their own practice and, more importantly, how you can overcome them.

6 challenges of teacher reflection and how to overcome them

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Change management:  How to address staff concerns about change

Posted by Alexandra Spalding on 9/3/19 3:23 PM

Successful organizations are learning organizations. Schools, of course, must support the learning of their students. But they also must support the learning of their teachers who are continually working to improve the quality of their instruction.

Schools must create a culture where teachers are supported as they identify and meet their individual learning objectives. In addition to supporting individual learning, successful schools also must support the adoption of programs and initiatives that span the entire organization.

With learning comes change, and supporting people in the change process is critical for learning to take hold. This fact applies to anyone experiencing change: policy makers, teachers, parents, and students.

When programs do not produce the desired results, the problem is often not the program, but rather the way that individuals respond to it. Each individual reacts differently to the changes presented by their learning or the adoption of a new program.

Once concerns have been identified (read more on how to identify concerns), they must be addressed in order to facilitate change. Although there are no hard rules, below are recommendations for how to to address staff concerns about change at each stage.

Change management:  How to address staff concerns about change

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7 principles that improve teacher wellbeing

Posted by Alexandra Spalding on 9/3/19 3:19 PM

Teacher wellbeing is the key to school success. A research study into the links between staff wellbeing and school performance concluded that:

• How teachers feel on a daily basis is likely to affect their performance and, in turn, the performance of the pupils they teach

• Happier, motivated teachers may make pupils feel happier, motivated and more confident

• Happier teachers may also be able to concentrate better on the job of teaching and experience more motivation to help pupils in need of special attention

Teacher workload is a significant ongoing issue that needs addressing at policy level. But, there are some things that school leaders can do to reduce strain on their staff, as well as actions teachers can take to protect their own health and wellbeing.

Here are 7 principles that improve teacher wellbeing.  If you like them, why not check out our extensive FREE guide to 'Imporving teacher happiness and wellbeing' >

improve teacher wellbeing

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How do teachers learn best? What you need to consider for effective professional development

Posted by Alexandra Spalding on 6/24/19 2:17 PM

Where does ownership of professional development lie? With the teacher? The professional development provider? The leadership team? Perhaps a more important question is where do you think it should lie?

I often hear that teachers and educators don't have time for their own professional development. Or they believe that it's the leadership team's responsibility to guide their professional development. More often than not PD is thought of as ‘providing training to develop a skill’, but effective professional development is so much more than something that is delivered to teachers.

effective professional development

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Teacher quality matters most

Posted by Alexandra Spalding on 6/10/19 10:00 AM


The most important influence on student achievement is what teachers know and do in their classrooms.


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What should you look for when you self-reflect?

Posted by Alexandra Spalding on 5/20/19 10:00 AM

Reflective practice is a more systematic process of collecting, recording and analyzing our thoughts and observations, as well as those of our students, and then going on to make changes. Research is clear that self-reflection is a core component of effective teacher PD and key to enabling teachers to become skilled in their roles.  

Teacher writing while looking at a tablet computer in a classroom

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5 steps for school leaders to ensure effective PD next year

Posted by Ed Williams on 5/13/19 11:00 AM

As this semester flies by and we look ahead to the next school year, now is the time to seriously consider which PD opportunities are going to be the best for the future of your school and your staff.

Students sitting at a table in a library while learning and working on a laptop

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Teacher reflection: why filming your practice is essential

Posted by Ryan Holmes on 4/2/19 2:54 PM

Guest blog from Ryan Holmes - @educatingholmes 

film teaching 3

Have you ever filmed yourself teaching? It can be pretty nerve-wracking before you do it for the first time. It can also be one of the most powerful experiences you can have in the quest to improve your teaching.

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