Have you ever taken part in CPD whilst sitting on the sofa in your living room?
You may well ask what’s CPD? Well, it’s a bit of teacher jargon for Continuing Professional Development (what we used to call training). But it’s more than one person standing at the front of a training room imparting their wisdom to the passive listeners. CPD can take place anywhere, anytime and be conducted by anyone.
The rise of Web 2.0 and the ability for internet users to interact and upload material heralded a change in direction for teacher professional learning. Peer to peer learning, the upwards transit of information from the grassroots of the profession and the ironing out of traditional information hierarchies have altered professional learning. Add into this the demise of Local Authorities (the traditional providers of CPD) and ever tighter school budgets, which restrict the amount of professional learning available to staff, and you can appreciate why there is such a shift in the CPD landscape. Teachers don’t just receive learning, they actively shape it.
Earlier this month, the social networking site Twitter was seven years old. What an impact it has had on teaching and learning in those seven years. By devising hash tags such as #edchat #SLTchat #globalclassroom and #ukedchat, Twitter users have been instrumental in shaping the form and nature of CPD. Partly used as a means of categorising and organising Tweets about the same topic, these hash tags can be searched by teachers to find information on teaching and learning. It is though as a means of organising synchronous discussions on a pre-determined topic that these Twitter hash tags come into their own as a means of facilitating teachers’ professional learning.
On March 21st, 2013 we were lucky enough to host one of these synchronous web discussions on #ukedchat. Throughout the preceding week, educators from across the UK (and beyond) voted for their preferred topic. And the winning question was…
“Is guided reading fit for purpose?”
Highlights from the discussion included: teachers commitment to the carousel as a classroom management strategy for guided reading; the efficiency of the model for hearing all children read; the use of APP (Assessing Pupils’ Progress) as the prime means of assessing children’s reading; the use of Book Banding as an approach to meeting children’s needs as readers; and, a belief that guided reading remains fit for the purpose of teaching children to read but within a rich diet of read-aloud-texts, shared reading, phonics, paired reading and reading for pleasure.The discussion was fast and furious and undoubtedly one of the most enjoyable hours we’ve spent talking about teaching and learning.
The full summary of the discussion is available on the ukedchat website. The discussion thread is included below:
If you’ve yet to take part in a ukedchat we urge you to take the plunge and join in. If you’re an experienced participant why not have a go at hosting? Just tweet Martin Burrett at @ukedchat and have a go at being a leader of learning – from your sofa!
Rachel Clarke, Coventry Primary English Consultant