On Monday, we had a training day at Simon de Senlis. It was an excellent and important day of training and one of my colleagues took the time to share his reflections on the day on the Simon de Senlis PE blog.
In schools, we are allocated 5 training days a year which are the only opportunities we have to spend a full day focusing on staff development together. Other development takes place after school or in snatched meetings unless it means teachers being covered out of classes to attend training and courses. Quick Maths will tell you that (using official contracted hours), training days take up just 27.5 hours out of the available 8760 in the year (around 0.003%) or 2% of the 1265 directed hours of a teachers working life. This is well below the UK national average for time spent off work sick (74 hours) and (according to a well-know tabloid) three times less than the 91 hours that Men apparently spend on the toilet each year!
With this in mind, it’s absolutely crictical that we make the most of these limited opportunities and plan them with thought and care, ensuring that they are aligned with our biggest priorities and challenges in school.
But selecting the right content isn’t enough; it’s also important to spend time thinking about the delivery – ensuring that we employ the same principles around engagement that we expect teachers to in the classroom to avoid staff feeling like the staff in one of my favourite toe-curling scenes from The Office.
Some things we might consider when planning staff training:
- Who does most of the talking? The person leading training or the people who we are planning will develop their thinking and practice?
- Do we move enough? Do people come in and sit still for long periods of time or do they have opportunities to get up and move and keep energised?
- Multi-sensory. Although ‘VAK’ may not be a buzz word of 2015, are we ensuring that we deliver any learning using a range of Visual, Auditory and Kinaesthetic methods and resources?
- Do we give enough opportunities for people to learn by ‘doing’ and putting themselves in the position of children?
- Are we clear enough about the ‘so what’ at the end of any training to ensure that everyone knows what the next steps are?
- Have we planned when we will come back and revisit this issue/initiative/policy/discussion so that it becomes part of the journey of change rather than a one-off event which created some initial excitement but didn’t become embedded in the ongoing fabric of the school.
I’ll certainly be thinking more about these as we try and develop better training opportunities for our staff within 2015.