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#ShapingCPD – Initial Reflections

A detailed blog will be on its way but in the meantime, here are some initial reflections. I duly accepted a Periscope challenge, set by my manager, Graeme Hathaway. Until I can make this more freely available, a short written summary of my thoughts about the #Sharing CPD conference shall have to suffice:


It was such a privilege to meet many of the people I did today but as usual, I absolutely should have spoken to more of you- never enough time for that! Most of the people I spoke with, I did so in between sessions and there are a number of factors affecting the way I may have come across to you at these points:

  • I was reflecting and pondering- my brain was therefore a bit of a muddle
  • I was occupied with big questions and thoughts such as I have listed below and was finding these difficult to articulate
  • As usual, I’m a better person in written form. Networking is a skill I need to learn…

This is aimed at Mary Myatt in particular- such a privilege to meet you and if I’m honest, I was a little ‘starstruck’!


Key thoughts I’m left with after today in no particular order and as with any day that provokes thought – I’m unsure of the origin of these ideas and questions.

1- The dialogue about removing grades from lesson observations is a dangerous one. It’s not the only thing that matters and it can, under the wrong circumstances, give the message that teaching and learning doesn’t matter. We need to be very careful about what we replace grades with and how it will positively enable our staff to impact learning. Otherwise, it can be replaced by a model of observations that’s just as ineffective or just as low impact as a graded one.

2- What comes first- the chicken or the egg? The culture or the development? Do we put in the new systems/processes associated with CPD or do we establish a culture of trust… My inkling is that the culture is established through the new ways of doing things but this might be a simplified message to make. I’m still perplexed. As ever, David Weston hit the nail directly on its head at the very beginning of the day in losing the question in the first place and planting the seed.

3- Could teacher training be seen as more of an apprenticeship with the collation of a portfolio of evidence? The teacher training I’ve encountered in various guises for post-16 teaching/training is built on largely pointless assignment writing and regurgitation of theory, rather than capitalising on opportunities to establish a culture of good professional learning habits from the very beginning of new teachers’ careers.

4- Not taking part in professional learning should become the thing that disrupts culture. Equally, it’s not ok for someone within the profession not to share what they’re doing and what they’re learning as it’s not impacting the wider organisation or indeed wider culture of the teaching profession. Sharing and learning should become the norm and not the exception.

5- How are we going to break the barrier of time? How do we make enough time and space for professional learning to happen? Here, I’m seeking practical suggestions and models of how others have achieved it- especially in further education- without just expecting staff to engage in it fully on top of the rest of their role.

My learning

…has rather a long way to go where L&D is concerned but I’m really enjoying the journey and today I feel privileged to be given some licence to influence it for current and future generations of professionals.

It also has an even longer way to go where blindly following my feet is concerned; denying the direction I’d come from and thinking I knew better lead me to being completely off-course and having to run, without a map or phone battery, towards the vague direction of the station. If I wasn’t exhausted after my early start and thinking for entire day, I certainly was after that! Self-efficacy where my sense of direction is concerned Steve Watson? 1 out of 10!

What Next?

I’d personally value the chance for the dialogue about these questions / themes / ideas and others to continue.

Things we could do:

  • Monthly Twitter chats around these themes to share ideas and approaches/progress we’re making
  • Live video hangouts with different individuals contributing and sharing models regularly
  • A meet-up one Saturday to share CPD designs, approaches and systems and discuss how they might / do work? I’m left questioning the practicalities and I feel that more time for us to work collaboratively would be a great professional learning opportunity for us all!

Please get in touch if you’re interested, after all, we kinda have a responsibility to ensure that this one-off professional learning event has impact – it’s a process after all!

Related posts:

#ShapingCPD- Shaping a Learning Culture

#ShapingCPD- The Transformative Impact of Coaching

#ShapingCPD- The Keynotes

The Best CPD…EVER!

#ShapingCPD- Initial Reflections

My writing commitment: I’m learning to honour my thoughts. I’m learning that my words can be shared before I’ve connected all the dots or learned everything there is to know. My writing can be a snapshot of a single moment in continually-evolving time.

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The Best CPD… EVER!

We were asked, during one of the excellent workshops arranged by @iris_connect at the #ShapingCPD conference last week, to reflect on our best CPD experience. This was