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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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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How healthy is your school's professional development culture?

Posted by Kate Herbert-Smith on 2/25/19 11:26 AM

Developing a professional development culture takes time and effort. It can't be imposed or imported overnight. That being said, there are things that school leaders like your self can do to create an environment where teachers want to learn and develop their instructional practice. 

Get started by reflecting on the following 7 questions...

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Training vs professional development - what's the difference and does it matter?

Posted by Kate Herbert-Smith on 2/11/19 10:20 AM

When we think of teachers’ professional development (PD), it’s often the one-off training courses that first spring to mind. But, as well as single training sessions, the term PD also covers teaching and learning activities designed to help teachers develop their practice; from research, self-reflection and lesson observations to Lesson Study, feedback and coaching.  

Before we discuss the difference between training and development, and their roles in effective PD, let’s start by taking a deeper look at what PD is.

Close up of businessman hand and question sign hanging on finger

 

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Teacher confidence (efficacy): Why does it matter and how can school leaders improve it?

Posted by Kate Herbert-Smith on 1/28/19 10:37 AM

Efficacy - or a teacher’s level of confidence in their abilities - can be highly influenced by past experiences or your current school culture. For example, a bad classroom experience or negative work environment can quickly diminish a teacher’s confidence.

Interestingly, seeing students grow and working in a collaborative environment can boost a teacher’s belief in their ability and improve performance. Research also suggests that teachers with a strong sense of self-efficacy tend to be better planners, more resilient through failure, and more open-minded and supportive with students.

Successful young business couple working together on a self-employed business posing at a desk in their office smiling at the camera

 

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