The eighth deadly sin is doing nothing to help others

With regard to the classroom practice article "Seven deadly sins of teacher development" (Professional, 21 June), I wanted to say what a refreshing take on professional development in teaching and congratulate David Weston on tackling a subject that remains something of a barrier to raising standards.

As a teacher turned trainer, I'm naturally an advocate for great professional development and its associated benefits, but all too frequently, as the article observes, 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.

In the same way that 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 be aware of the biggest sin of all ... to do nothing.

Joe Basketts, Education director, FantastICT, Stafford.

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