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
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Positive Deviance inquiry: the secret to school success

Posted by Shawn Edmondson on 11/8/18 2:00 PM

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?

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What is instructional coaching? Is it the best form of PD?

Posted by Kate Herbert-Smith on 10/20/18 2:45 PM

At the recent ResearchEd 18 event in London, we learned all about instructional coaching, which is, according to researcher Sam Sims, “probably the best-evidenced form of PD currently known to mankind”.

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How to build an effective instructional coaching program

Posted by Kate Herbert-Smith on 10/19/18 2:46 PM

As coaching trainer Peter DeWitt said in his blog 3 Reasons Instructional Coaching May Not Be Working, and as the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s Measures of Effective Teaching Project showed, badly done coaching can actually harm teachers’ performance.

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5 easy and effective ways to use IRIS Connect this semester

Posted by Alexandra Spalding on 9/10/18 11:48 AM

Taking on new strategies and technologies is sometimes difficult and time-consuming, but in the long run, usually worthwhile. Whether you're a pro at using IRIS Connect, just starting out, or thinking about investing in video-based professional development in your school, here are 5 quick and easy ways that you can use the IRIS Connect system this semester.

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5 resources to help you become a great leader

Posted by Kate Herbert-Smith on 6/5/18 10:20 AM

So you’re making the transition into a leadership role? Or perhaps you’re already a leader and want to improve your skills? Either way, good for you!

Making the move from follower to being the one who guides, motivates, inspires and manages, can be a challenge. The transition takes time, experience, skills and commitment.  

But fear not! We’ve got 5 resources to help you become a great leader.

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How to build your confidence in the classroom

Posted by Kate Herbert-Smith on 6/4/18 2:24 PM

As a teacher, you’ll often find yourself in situations outside of your comfort zone. In fact, it pretty much happens from day one of your career when you find yourself standing in front of thirty students quaking in your boots as they look expectantly at you.

Whether you feel anxious because you’re new to teaching, are facing the challenge of teaching a new topic, or find you need to make changes to your practice, there are tried and tested ways of appearing confident. Here are 5 confidence boosting tips.

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Growth mindset: what you need to know

Posted by Rosie Neill on 4/10/18 11:18 AM

Over the past few years, the concept of a 'Growth Mindset' has become increasingly popular.  Discovered by Carol Dweck, Professor of Psychology at Stanford University, growth mindset is the idea that our intelligence isn't fixed. Dweck found that students who believe they can develop their basic abilities and improve themselves have greater motivation and higher achievement than those who see their abilities as fixed and unchangeable.

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10 ways to be a better Subject Leader

Posted by Tim Matthews on 3/2/18 11:00 AM

Tim Matthews is Deputy Headteacher at Oriel High School. As well as creating this helpful blog, he has also built a useful group in the IRIS Connect platform,‘Leading A Self Improving Department'. It's a great starting point if you are taking your first steps as a Subject Leader or are looking to review how you are doing things.  It's FREE to our customers. Click here to login and join today >


If you are either an established Subject Leader or are taking your first steps into subject leadership - good luck!

On my first day as a new Subject Leader I remember walking into school nursing an emotional cocktail of pride, excitement, nervousness and an inescapable feeling that I would be "found out" probably by the end of the day and certainly by the end of the first week.

As it happens things were not as bad as I anticipated because the people I worked with were incredibly supportive and not afraid of telling me when things could be done better! Over time I came to realize how important the role of Subject Leader is and the opportunities that you have to influence the learning of students and improve the day-to-day teaching experience for colleagues.  

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