More colourful teaching inspiring all

6th June 2008 at 01:00
Active learning, motivating pupils, developing mentors and adding to teachers' toolkits for the job are what CPD is all about
Active learning, motivating pupils, developing mentors and adding to teachers' toolkits for the job are what CPD is all about

David Ironside, Acting head of faculty of social subjects, Braes High, Falkirk

"I am on Falkirk's Leading Teachers scheme, so I've been involved in lots of CPD this year, including accelerated learning, co-operative learning and critical skills.

The scheme is looking at attainment across Falkirk and there are eight of us doing it, working with Stirling University on different projects. Mine is on active learning and its implications in class. It will lead to modules which can be used either to gain chartered teacher status or towards the Scottish Qualification for Headship. I'd like to go on to do the latter.

The whole experience has had a huge impact in class, with pupils more engaged and motivated. I wanted to move away from the chalk-and-talk approach and make lessons more active. Not every one is all singing and dancing, but I am getting pupils moving around, working collaboratively and setting them academic challenges which they have to complete over a few periods and then present to the class. It's getting away from traditional teaching."

Gavin Ritchie, Teacher of media studies, Islay High, Argyll and Bute

"Recently, we did three days with Chris Ward on co-operative learning, two sessions with Geoff Moss on situational leadership and have all had training in coaching.

Our co-operative learning teacher told us that the approach would not take over our teaching, but would, rather, be another part of our toolkit. But all our CPD has added to our toolkit. It has made us more colourful, exciting teachers and the children are really responding well to it.

Islay recently became the first paper-free school, so we've been doing CPD on ICT. One of the best bits was the ICT drop-in cafe with cakes and coffee on a Tuesday night, led by our ICT teacher, Ian Stuart. It was a fantastic resource and I realised there was so much more to my tablet PC than I thought. For example, I've been taught how to lasso pictures and writing from the web to use in documents, and how to use OneNote software so that one document can be live for every pupil to work on simultaneously. It allows instant gratification for pupils when they see they are doing the same as others.

"Next year will be about consolidating what we've learnt this year."

Andy O'Shea, Maths teacher, St Andrew's High, West Dunbartonshire

"I have been part of the Innovative Teachers initiative which brought together and encouraged innovation among a group of us from all over Scotland.

Being part of the initiative was amazing. I'm just a Joe Bloggs teacher, and have only been teaching for five years, but with this I was able to get out and meet people from all over the country, who were being innovative in their schools. It was a change from being isolated in your classroom all the time. I've been given good advice and shown new resources, which I've used in my classroom.

My project within the initiative was to develop mentors and resources for Glow, along with Drew Murray, a primary teacher from Our Lady of Loretto in Clydebank. Part of that was building a network by going out and talking to other teachers in West Dunbartonshire schools and getting them to share practice and resources, and to get them signed up to a WD network. It got me talking to PTs on an equal level and has taken any of the fear out of networking."

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