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

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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5 benefits of encouraging teacher self-reflection

Posted by Kate Herbert-Smith on 3/18/19 11:22 AM

This is an extract from our new ‘Practical Guide to Enabling Effective Teacher Reflection’. Download the entire guide for FREE here >


“We do not learn from experience…we learn from reflecting on experience.”- John Dewey

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. Reflection is a core component of effective teacher professional development (PD) and key to becoming a 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.

Big question in head

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10 tips for school leaders on handling difficult conversations

Posted by Kate Herbert-Smith on 3/11/19 8:34 AM

There are some conversations you’d probably rather not have, particularly if it means delivering unpleasant news, discussing a delicate subject, or talking about something that needs to change or has gone wrong. But, as a school leader, these conversations can crop up fairly regularly so feeling confident about knowing how to handle them is essential.

It’s perfectly natural to feel anxious or nervous at the thought of a difficult discussion, whether it’s with a teacher, parent or child. However, there are a few simple techniques that can help to make them productive and as painless as possible.

Closeup portrait, annoyed nerd man with black glasses by what a business guy in suit is telling him, talk to hand, isolated white background. Negative human emotion facial expression feelings.

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Teacher wellbeing and PD, is there a link?

Posted by Kate Herbert-Smith on 3/4/19 10:17 AM

The teaching profession is increasingly associated with stress and burnout. The Engaging Teachers report from National Foundation of Educational Research (2016) found that high teacher workload is associated with poor health and staff feeling undervalued.

The number of teachers seeking support for their mental health via the Education Support Partnerships’ confidential helpline increased by 35 per cent from April 2017 to March 2018.

This is by no means new news, but as we all become more aware of the importance of talking about and addressing mental health, schools are having to take more responsibility for the wellbeing of their staff.

business people group joining hands and representing concept of friendship and teamwork,  low angle view

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