As a teacher you undoubtedly have a thirst for knowledge and just because you have completed your basic training doesn’t mean the learning has to stop.
Continuous Professional Development (CPD) is a key theme for teachers, one that is being actively encouraged by the government to ensure that children get the best quality education and the individuals remain fulfilled in their chosen profession.
However, CPD does not follow a defined pathway instead it is left to the teacher to identify their own needs and areas of development and to embark on the appropriate learning. With so many different courses and subjects to choose from, the choice can be overwhelming.
Here are some ideas about how to pick the best CPD training courses.
Know what you want
Before you start looking round the market to see what’s available, it’s a good idea to first sit down and critically evaluate where your own needs lie.
There may well be courses available which develop you in ways you didn’t know about or weren’t aware of but having your basic development areas sketched out is a good place to start.
When it comes to thinking about how you need to strengthen your teaching skills, you may find yourself unsure about exactly what you need. A good way to help identify your requirements is asking a mentor or a more experienced teacher you have respect for to give you some honest feedback about your performance.
Keeping control of your pupils in the classroom is vital to ensure the atmosphere is conducive to learning and all the children stay engaged.
Unfortunately it only takes a few difficult pupils to throw your plans into disarray and absorb all your time and energy. Every teacher has their own way of dealing with children who have behavioural problems but it can never hurt to look at different techniques, particularly if don’t have a lot of experience.
Courses which examine the causes of disaffected students, identifying their barriers to learning and devising a strategy to help them re-engage in the classroom can help the pupils who behave badly because they are struggling in one way or another.
You may be interested in training which has a psychological element, such as examining the link between your own emotions and classroom behaviour. Some experts suggest that by monitoring your own emotional state and the way, in which you communicate, you could be able to make a significantly increased impact during lessons.
Not all difficulties managing a class arise from pupils who are misbehaving. In some cases trying to juggle children with varying abilities can be very demanding and the most able are often neglected.
Discovering how you can quickly and easily stretch the most gifted children in your class, ensuring that they are challenged could help stave off any potential disruptions which arise due to boredom.
Knowing how to manage a difficult class without descending into madness is a priceless skill to acquire
As a teacher, one of the things you may feel less prepared for are the roles you have to adopt beyond the educational mantel.
Surrogate parent, counsellor, friend, comforter; all of these are frequently needed by the children you teach.
If you aren’t quite sure how to deal with the emotional needs of your young charges outside the lessons, taking a course on the various aspects of pastoral care might be helpful.
Bereavement is one subject that many adults find difficult to approach so if a child in your class loses a parent it wouldn’t be surprising if you felt totally out of your depth. It’s possible to have bereavement training so that if the situation arises, you are able to understand, empathise and support the child through a difficult time more effectively.
Seeing pupils every day can mean that the teacher is often the first person to spot signs of a significant problem such as an eating disorder, even if they don’t know exactly what is wrong. Having further training on how to identify problems, how they manifest and the best way to tackle them could be quite literally a life-saving skill to acquire.
Developing excellent interpersonal skills in order to communicate more effectively with your pupils is one of the most valuable lessons to learn
CPD is something which every teacher has the right to pursue, but deciding on the best route is a very personal decision. With so many courses and opportunities for further training available, it can be difficult to narrow down your choices but by prioritising and thinking about what could make a difference in the classroom, you should be able to identify the best CPD courses for you.