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Teachers’ Professional Development Journeys

What you have told us so far

Thank you to all our wonderful cohort of 40 teachers. We wanted to share what you have told us so far (from our interviews with you last term).

  1. Teachers view professional development broadly, and it can be more than about gaining qualifications or climbing the career ladder.
  2. There are different drivers to participate in professional development, some are state driven (often driven by statutory requirements), some are school driven (focusing on local priorities and contexts), and some are self-driven (focusing on a teacher’s own needs and interests).
  3. Professional development can be seen as integral to the teaching role, about being able to change and adapt, to progress in your career, or to follow an interest or wider life goals.
  4. Teachers engage in a wide range of professional development: from formal qualifications such as Master’s or specific teaching qualifications such as NPQs, through externally provided courses, coaching/mentoring, training delivered by the SLT, teacher-led training, observing others/visiting other schools, shadowing, peer to peer learning or networking, and through to doing your own reading and research.
  5. Teachers often engage in several different types of professional development at the same time, but some teachers had no recent experience beyond INSET days.
  6. There seem to be five dimensions to professional development or ways to describe different professional development experiences: internal to external, voluntary to compulsory, one-off to regular, formal to informal, and unaccredited to recognised.
  7. Good quality professional development needs to be: relevant and relatable, engaging and practical, convenient, and cost-effective.
  8. Key barriers to professional development are lack of time and lack of funding. Others include lack of support and encouragement, lack of suitable learning environment, not being aware of opportunities or not meeting eligibility requirement, poor accessibility, and lack of interest.
  9. Experiences of professional development change over time and are influenced by time in post, seniority, career and life-stage and maternity.
  10. Access to, engagement with, and experiences of, personal and professional development is often affected by issues beyond the teacher’s control such as workload, working hours, evolving technology and theories, changing wider context and cost pressures.