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Dull? It'll have you dancing in the aisles

Training does not have to be an onerous chore, writes Susan Young

It can sound terribly dull. And done badly, it can be terribly dull. But get the right sort of continuing professional development - the sort which improves your teaching, helps you go for that promotion, learn new skills or just enjoy the job a little bit more - and it is anything but dull.

Indeed, CPDcan give you a whole new lease of life. And that's what this supplement is all about - to showcase some of the interesting possibilities open to all types of schools and teachers at all stages of their careers, and to give a few starting points to get you going.

Professional development can be something as simple as watching a colleague in action in the classroom or as ambitious as teaching in another country.

It covers all activity that increases teachers' knowledge, understanding and effectiveness.

Under performance management, each year all teachers shouldalready have an opportunities to discuss their learning and development needs with their line manager. It should make no difference whether your aim is to do your job better or develop skills to help you move on in your career.

The General Teaching Council wants CPD as an entitlement for all teachers, from NQTs to those with 30 years' experience, from classroom teachers to aspiring managers. The aim is to raise children's standards and boost teacher recruitment and retention.

The GTC has just launched its Teachers' Professional Learning Framework (see opposite page) to help schools and individuals plan their development.

It is also involved in a project which could mean that regular training counts towards postgraduate qualifications.

In-service days can be creative, too; our cover picture shows a session at Goldstone primary school in Hove, Sussex, where the 32 staff learned to dance to Christina Aguilera's "Dirrty" with help from a pop choreographer.

Why?

Two reasons, according to the acting head, Darren Vallier. The first is that Goldstone is a split-site school: "I wanted to unite the staff with a bit of a giggle," he says.

The other was to help teachers understand pupils better. "The idea was to make us realise that children need different approaches, that with any one activity we should bear in mind different learning styles.

"Yes, we had a few aches and pains the next day, but as the session progressed, some of those who were hanging back began to come forward. And when we got little bits absolutely right, it was a great feeling."

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