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

Kate Herbert-Smith

Kate's background in publishing has left her with a great love of thoughtful descriptions and inspiring stories. When she's not writing compelling blogs and case studies for us, she can be found devouring the latest best-seller or watching all manner of TED Talks. She has a growing appetite for video editing/storytelling, not to mention an unhealthy passion for all things Harry Potter and the uncanny ability to recite almost every single episode of the sitcom Friends.
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Recent Posts

5 podcasts for school administrators and leaders

Posted by Kate Herbert-Smith on 1/16/19 9:05 AM

Podcasts can contain a world of inspiring ideas, tips, and advice making them a great resources for school administrators, emerging leaders, and educational influencers.

Whether you listen to them on your commute to work, on your lunch break, or in the evening at home with a glass of something refreshing, you can guarantee you’ll walk away having learnt something.

We’ve combed the internet for the cream of the crop. Here are 5 podcasts we think are worth checking out:

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Is this the future of work-life balance?

Posted by Kate Herbert-Smith on 12/18/18 9:43 AM

Work-life balance is a sensitive subject, particularly in the education sector... so what do you make of author and peak performance expert, Dan Thurmon's quirky suggestion for how to get a better handle on your life?

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7 ways to keep teachers motivated

Posted by Kate Herbert-Smith on 12/5/18 9:58 AM

As a member of your school's leadership team, keeping your teachers motivated is one of your most important roles and an essential part of your students’ overall success. But keeping teachers motivated can also be challenging. Take the time to experiment with some of these tips to find what works best in your school.

Here are 7 tips to keep your teachers motivated throughout the school year:

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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 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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5 tips for how to use video PD in higher education

Posted by Kate Herbert-Smith on 11/6/17 11:24 AM
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Tutors at VIA Health in Denmark, started using video for professional development (PD) because they lacked a concrete tool for developing and qualifying their own teaching, and the time to watch each other lecture.

But with the help of video PD, they have been able to see their own teaching from multiple angles and share specific situations, allowing them to step back and reflect on their own teaching in new ways

Professor of Professional Didactics Birgitte Lund Nielsen is one of two facilitators who set the course in motion. She shares her tips on how to use video PD in higher education:


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