Director of educational services Costa Constantinou is Veema’s driving force and has many years of experience both within the classroom and at leadership level. He understands first-hand the needs and priorities of schools today and has led national and international keynotes and workshops on improving teaching and learning, leadership in schools and implementing and managing effective change.
By improving both teaching and learning, effective teacher CPD is one of the greatest influences on student outcomes. Yet few schools evaluate its impact adequately, or even at all. However, unless you do so, it is difficult to know to what extent a CPD programme benefits a school or offers value for money. So how do you go about evaluating CPD? I would suggest the following basic framework:
Effective teacher CPD improves teaching and learning and has one of the largest impact on student outcomes (Hargreaves 1994, Craft 2000). This means that getting it right is crucial. However, when it comes to CPD, how do we know we are getting it right? It’s a topic I discuss regularly, and it’s often the case that the answer I get tallies with research that states that CPD evaluation is often a neglected step and that many school leaders struggle to carry out any sophisticated, in-depth analysis (Porritt 2005, Goodall 2005).
Given the current turbulence in the education system, is it a good time to be a school leader? Having direct experience in the education system, our (Costa Constantinou and Paul McGreavy) automatic and resounding response is YES.
Whether it be individual lessons, schemes of work or curriculum, it’s very easy to focus on what is being taught in a school. But how often do you stop to consider effective ways to ensure that students remember content and are able to recall and utilise it at a later date? What strategies can be used to ensure that the teaching going on in their establishment really ‘sticks’ and in doing so, ensure long-term value to planning, quality and practice? Being aware and engaging in the science of learning and the research that surrounds it, means that practitioners not only concentrating on passing on knowledge, they’re taking steps to ensure that it isn’t lost after they do.
Like many, I was pushed to work hard from a young age to make sure I passed those exams. Looking back, I realise that instead of being praised for the effort I put in, my success was entirely measured by the grades I achieved. My experience of rewarding achievement is typical, both as a student and as an educator. This stems from a system where many schools are driven by results-orientated approaches to measuring success. In turn, this is instilled in parents further perpetuating the problem of setting limits on achievement.