Easier path to training is needed

25th April 2008 at 01:00
Improved teaching practice has become the answer to all classroom ills, it seems

Improved teaching practice has become the answer to all classroom ills, it seems. According to officials, teachers armed with the latest techniques can triumph over any adversity; low funding, large class sizes and bad behaviour included.

But the findings of the survey we report today (page 1) are truly shocking - especially as "good pedagogy" is so in vogue.

Fewer than half of the 200 respondents from the Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL) believe they are getting enough training for their job. Lack of school funds was the most commonly quoted reason for having a course refused.

Continuing professional development is supposed to enhance a teacher's performance, as well as help them personally. Teachers are also best placed to know their strengths and weaknesses - and what they need to improve.

Philip Dixon, director of ATL Cymru, claims the lack of CPD is a crisis. Teachers must have the tools to do the job, he argues. And if these survey results are anything to go by, who can disagree?

But a refusal often offends. As one teacher who responded to the survey says: "Most people tend not to apply for useful CPD activities as they are aware of budgetary constraints, but that does not mean funding is not available."

Another said filling in General Teaching Council for Wales application forms takes up too much PPA time. Is there an excess of bureaucracy involved in signing up to good practice?

It seems there are many reasons why professional development may not be flavour of the month. A lack of school funding appears to be the lowest common denominator, but the bureaucracy involved could also be a huge turn-off within a profession that is increasingly time-starved.

Training needs to be offered on a plate, readily available with ready cash, to make it a more attractive and worthwhile proposition for Welsh teachers.

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