Professional learning groups: The story so far… – Charlotte Sivner

In November we held our first Professional Learning Meeting for all teaching staff. Colleagues had previously chosen which group to be a part of. Options include: ‘The Psychology of Learning’, ‘A-Level Mindset’ and ‘ICT to Support Learning’. At the first meeting, groups were left to discuss where their journey would take them this year with respect to their own professional development. This involved identifying what it is they are already doing and what they would like to go on to achieve. Some groups began identifying action points for the next term. With the next meeting fast approaching on Monday 6th February, this seemed like a good opportunity to give you a round-up of where some of the groups have got to so far with their thinking.

The group focusing on ‘Teaching Mixed Ability, High Quality Explanations & Excellent Questioning’ agreed to begin reading relevant blogs and books as well as observing a colleague (secondary or primary) and then think about putting into practice of a few chosen techniques. Some colleagues are going to try to dream up new and novel ideas and have a go at them to see if they work. By March the group hope to share any ‘top tips’ and/or experiences of trying the questioning techniques or mixed ability grouping. By June they are aiming to review and refine our top techniques and possibly produce a top tips for questioning and mixed ability grouping booklet or resource for all staff to use.

In the ‘ICT to Support Learning’ group, a few colleagues will soon begin trialling Chromebooks. As many of our systems are increasingly moving online (Firefly/Classcharts/OneDrive + VDI), they are initially proving to be quite a quick, effective and mobile way of accessing most of what we would need to on a day to day basis as a teacher, in terms of ICT. This, combined with the continued development of the way in which we use Firefly, OneDrive and ClassCharts, as well as the imminent introduction of Firefly 6, promises to be an exciting one.

The group developing their expertise in SEN will undertake some external CPD training at Ashgrove Primary School and the ‘Psychology of Learning’ group have begun to look at insights into the psychology of learning with the aim of using cognitive scientific research to inform their practice. More specifically, they are interested in the psychology of retention, particularly with the introduction of linear courses. Individually, many colleagues are carrying out invaluable reading to inform their practice; this is fantastic so please continue to make use of the CPD books available in the Staff Library.

In summary, many groups have started to set the wheels in motion with regards to their own professional development over the coming academic year. With this in mind, please take some time to ensure you familiarise yourself with the Firefly discussion board for your group, as well as thinking about your own professional development journey and what it is you are hoping to achieve this year within your Professional Learning Group. The proforma on which to summarise your research and findings (to be completed by 19th June) is below, as a reminder.

Charlotte Sivner

Teaching & Learning Coordinator