Beware the eighth deadly sin

Joe Basketts

Regarding "Seven deadly sins of teacher development" (21 June), what a refreshing take on professional development in teaching, Congratulations to David Weston on tackling a subject that remains a barrier to raising standards.

As a teacher turned trainer, I am naturally an advocate for great professional development and all its benefits, but all too often, as the article notes, we "put up with learning experiences that we would never tolerate in our own classes".

Education continues to evolve at an unprecedented rate, with changes to teaching policies emerging almost daily. As we all know, this creates immense pressure and makes it difficult to get on with the day job, let alone identify the most effective professional development opportunities or prioritise where to allocate budget, resulting in the fear of doing the wrong thing.

Professional development needs to be more than box-ticking and compliance. In a world where keeping pace with change is tiring enough, developing a clear and effective development plan can provide a much-needed constant. More importantly, it will ensure that you have a positive impact on students' behaviour and learning - and will help you to raise standards.

Just as time waits for no one, professional development waits for no educator. As Mr Weston says, be aware of the seven deadly sins, but I would also urge teachers to beware the biggest sin of all: to do nothing.

Joe Basketts, education director, FantastICT, Stafford.

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Joe Basketts

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