More than ever, teachers in post-compulsory education are asked to keep their skills and knowledge up-to-date but face balancing these demands against a lack of funding for CPD and less time to devote to their own professional development than ever.
There needs to be a recognition, which I worry isn’t there in many organisations, that staff need to be invested in – not just to ‘tick boxes’ but for the benefit of their own motivation and self-esteem, too. Given the well-publicised lack of time and funding, what can we do to keep skills refreshed, stay abreast of developments in our specialisms but also safeguard our health and wellbeing?
We don’t always need to be away from work and home using up shrinking budgets on expensive courses. The choice of ‘microlearning’ opportunities from sources such as the Education and Training Foundation’s ‘Foundation Online Learning‘ and moocs including FutureLearn’s Blended Learning Essentials allow us to fit CPD in with home and work life 20 minutes at a time.
Though these blended approaches are beneficial, there’s often no substitute for engaging in face-to-face professional dialogues with fellow educators. It’s good to hear of more of these learning networks, both formally organised and more informal and ‘rhizomatic’ springing up all over the country.
From the ETF’s new Professional Exchange programme (countrywide but details of Midlands WMCETT events can be seen here) to the more informal Tutor Voices’‘locally national’ approach there are signs that the profession is adapting to the new climate and finding creative ways to grow skills and form lasting networks. Conferences such as ‘Reimagining FE’ this summer will also take an important place in forming future learning networks for teachers in FE, HE, WBL and ACL.
How are you growing your skills and networks this year?