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Empowering teachers to make the most of their professional development plan

It is beneficial for teachers to have a professional development plan (PDP) and feel supported to achieve the goals that have been identified. A PDP is a documented record of an individual’s career aspirations and progressions and may also be referred to as CPD (continuing professional development). The plan should outline the goals that individuals wish to achieve and how they are going to develop the skills necessary to reach these goals.
It is important that teachers feel they are able to actively work on their professional development. Making time for this may be challenging, but employers should encourage and support staff to professionally develop themselves. 
High Speed Training, a leading online training provider delivering accredited digital training that helps people to be engaged, effective and safe in the workplace, has shared advice for teachers looking to make the most of their PDP.

How to write a professional development plan

There are nine steps to take to complete a PDP:

1.    Assess where you are now
2.    Identify your specific career goals
3.    Gather information
4.    Identify what professional skills you already have and which you need to work on
5.    Choose how you will accomplish your goals
6.    Develop a timeline for accomplishing your specific targets and goals
7.    Write it all down
8.    Evaluate your plan
9.    Measure your progress

Each of these stages is explained in more detail in High Speed Training’s online article, Writing A Professional Development Plan – Example & Template.

Professional development ideas

Professional development goals are likely to vary from colleague to colleague and may relate to the job level or role that is desired or the development of specific teaching styles and capabilities.
Professional development goals which can be considered include:Teachers training and learning about their professional development plan
•    To become a head of year
•    To become a subject head
•    To become a child behaviour specialist
•    To develop ICT skills to make the most of technology use in the classroom
•    To learn how to provide support to special educational needs pupils and confidently give teacher support
•    To address the individual learning styles of students and expand teaching methods accordingly
It is important for teachers to always feel as though they can ask their employers for opportunities to develop professionally – and this will benefit the school just as much as it will benefit the individual.

How to achieve development goals

•    Qualification courses
Teachers can gain professional qualifications by completing online or face-to-face training. High Speed Training offers various online educational training courses, from Designated Safeguarding Officer to Challenging Behaviour Training. Courses provide the practical information needed for individuals to take action and develop skills in the areas that need addressing. 
•    Mentoring and peer observation
Teachers are guaranteed to learn something by shadowing colleagues, irrespective of their level of seniority. It may result in individuals witnessing teaching methods that successfully engage pupils with a difficult topic or taking note of a particular strategy for managing disruptive pupils.
Both the observer and the teacher being shadowed are likely to benefit from peer observation as it provides an opportunity for constructive feedback to be shared. 
•    Observation visits to other schools
Visiting other schools is similar to shadowing colleagues, but it is likely to have additional learning benefits. A different school may encourage alternative teaching strategies and behaviours, and teachers can take this knowledge back to their own school and trial new ways of teaching.
•    Workshops
Workshops on a subject matter, method or other education-related topics are a useful platform for teachers to discuss their own experiences as well as learn. They may be led by an external specialist or hosted by one of the teachers. Such discussions also provide teachers with an opportunity for internal reflection and result in individuals getting a lot more out of the sessions than initially anticipated. 
•    Education conferences and seminars
This type of learning will allow teachers to develop in a particular area recognised as challenging. 

Dr. Richard Anderson, Head of Learning & Development at High Speed Training, said: “The modern teaching career is a continuous learning journey, and teachers should feel empowered and supported in their professional development to progress in their desired career direction. Like any form of learning or development, how you go about achieving your goals will take many forms. You may find that you develop best when seeing things in practice, such as by shadowing other colleagues and visiting other schools. Whatever form your development takes, it is important that is effective for you and that you’re able apply what you’ve learnt in the classroom.”

For more information and to find out more about the courses, please visit www.highspeedtraining.co.uk.

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