Okay, I’ll stand up and admit it – I’m currently addicted to CPD. It’s not that I’m unhappy with my performance as a teacher and deputy, but I know that I still have so much to learn, am itching to improve.
Teachmeets do not help. They don’t help that they are getting ever closer and closer to where I live now, and are free. They don’t help in that they are incredibly regular, are filled with like-minded individuals and that I always come away with some ideas that I want to try out in my own school and classroom. This blogpost speaks of that journey.
#TMLondon – 27th February
Held at the incredibly shiny Walthamstow Academy, I had volunteered to present on sharing ideas, and then was honoured to be asked to host by Ross, the organiser and @TeacherToolkit. I promised at the start that every person would take away at least five ideas or they could get their money back. Lots of talks followed. Personally, i found the real life ‘this worked in my class yesterday’ presentations to be filled with far more value than others, and never was this more so than with @Danlyndon, whose talk was ‘5 things I wish I’d known 15 years ago.‘ Here was a teacher who you could see drove success through his lessons. One idea in particular resonated – that of Conveyor Belt Marking, where he had devised a system where his students rated their peers’ work against the marking criteria. The work was appraised, while at the same time, key principles and strategies were being learnt by the students themselves. This was a clean, simple and effective idea that I thought was superb, and I told the audience straight afterwards that I’d be stealing that idea. The joy of Teachmeets is that very thing!
In my class, we had been working on writing our own Aboriginal Dreamtime stories, and I thought that Dan’s idea would work brilliantly. Each pupil had their own story in front of them to begin with, and I gave them an editing prompt (look for missing capitals/spelling/add an adjective) and a minute with a coloured pencil to do their worst! We changed prompts and work after each minute, and before long everyone had read everyone else’s work.
I had used the mark and swap technique before with some success, but using Dan’s concept of giving the making a direct focus made an enormous difference.
I’m the first to admit that maybe half of what I hear at a Teachmeet isn’t relevant to me, but if you can find something that is worth testing out, go for it – take the risk. You’ll be surprised at what a difference you can make.