This December, teachers and school leaders from across the UK will head to Oxford’s Cheney School for #TMOxford. Taking place on Thursday 15th December and organised by assistant head Amjad Ali, this annual, nationally-trending Christmas TeachMeet is returning for the fourth time, and once again attendees will be treated to a wealth of top-shelf speakers. Innovate My School are proud to be one of the sponsors for this event with a small selection of prizes, and each delegate will receive a copy of the newly-released IMS Guide 2016/17.
Saturday 21st March saw Primary school teachers from across the UK descend upon Medlock Primary School in Manchester for Primary Rocks Live. A huge event planned by a small group of passionate educators, the gathering was the evolution of Twitter chat #PrimaryRocks. Featuring keynote presentations by Hywel Roberts and Stephen Lockyer, #PrimaryRocks Live saw enthusiastic teachers attend a variety of different workshops, taking home a wealth of CPD and resources.
On Saturday 5th March, Berkhamsted School in Hertfordshire will host TLAB16, a not-for-profit education conference run for teachers, by teachers. This year’s TLA (teaching, learning and assessment) conference will centre around exploring the importance of imagination and performing at the highest level. Running from 9.00am to 4.00pm, TLAB16’s theme is “Imagine, Believe, Achieve”. The event is now in its fourth year, and welcomes educators from all types of schools. Tickets, including lunch and refreshments, are priced at £50 per person via the TLAB16 Eventbrite page.
A TeachMeet comes in many guises. The first I attended was a gathering of ten teachers in a classroom. The second had an audience of eighty and a reception on board HMS Victory in Portsmouth. However, both gatherings were defined by the very simple concept of teachers sharing ideas and simultaneously building a professional learning network (PLN). Presenters can sign up for a two, five or seven minute presentation on a subject, usually associated with classroom practice. It is much the same as the TED model, where speakers have to distil an idea into a defined timeframe. It is a challenge to engage and communicate in a short time but it is thrilling when someone gets it spot on.
The work of a teacher is both challenging and complex and requires high standards of professional competence and commitment. However, research shows that formal professional development may not be the optimum means by which such high standards of professional competence can be achieved. The principal reason for this is that traditional CPD tends to be based on one-off events that can often be a solitary activity and can seem remote from colleagues, students and classroom practice in general.
Many teachers have begun to diverge from only using traditional CPD provision and started to address their individual and collective professional learning needs – which can often be perceived as being different by management – effectively by seeking informal professional development opportunities. An alternative model of regular peer-to-peer professional learning meetings – sometimes referred to as TeachMeets or Show and Tell sessions – is beginning to emerge as a more successful, supportive and motivating way of sharing best teaching practice with the aim of improving overall teaching and learning. Such bottom-up professional learning is more likely to be followed up and to result in innovative practices that are successfully embedded and sustained.
A community-driven platform for showcasing the latest innovations and voices in schools