Those who ask, get

21st March 2003 at 00:00
It's your job to make sure you get the training you're entitled to, writes Jackie Hughes

The philosopher Aristotle once said: "What we have to learn we learn by doing." So perhaps it's time to do something proactive to support your own professional development.

If teachers in Birmingham approached their heads about training, we would expect them to be told about the city's professional development guarantee, the grid for learning which offers online CPD and our web-based professional effectiveness transcript that will help you find out what impact your CPD has had on your practice.

Teachers must take responsibility for their own development, and that means being well prepared when you meet with the head. Remember that quality CPD is your entitlement, whatever your age or career stage. Teachers who behave as learners themselves give a powerful message to pupils.

There is plenty of research to suggest that the most effective CPD occurs in the workplace. It can be a matter of teachers discussing their practice, reflecting on how pupils learn, observing each other, collaborating, supporting and evaluating their impact on the pupils.

GTC studies show that most satisfied teachers are in schools where CPD is taken seriously. So approaching your head about training should be painless. Be prepared and ask yourself the following questions before you meet your headteacher:

* Am I making a real difference to the learning of my pupils?

* What must I do to improve further?

* What are my career aspirations?

* What do I need to maintain my motivation and enthusiasm?

* What will keep me in the profession?

Consider the following too:l Feedback you have been given about your impact from colleagues, parents and pupils.l Talk to others such as your team leader, head of department or key stage co-ordinator about your strengths and learning needs. (Performance management should help with this.)l How you learn best: there are lots of learning styles questionnaires about if you do not know your preferred styles.

* Find out from your school's CPD coordinator and from local and national CPD websites about the opportunities available.

When you're ready to see the headteacher, guide the discussion appropriately. And remember to show you are enthusiastic and well informed.

Once in the meeting, do yourself a favour by doing the following:l Ask advice l Talk career management and development l Look for support to plan your CPD strategically and to do what is right for you.l Demonstrate your investment in the school and your expectation that the school will also invest in you.

Jackie Hughes is team leader for continuing professional development at Birmingham Advisory and Support Service

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