Why you need a buddy to develop

24th June 2005 at 01:00
Moves to encourage teachers to work with each other to upgrade their skills will get a boost from a study funded by the Government and teacher organisations published next week.

It will show that teachers who work with their peers on professional development are far more likely to improve than those who take courses on their own.

The research review, led by a team from the Centre for the Use of Research and Evidence in Education, has also found that such collaborative professional development leads to better results in the classroom and usually better pupil behaviour. It also makes teachers more enthusiastic about training.

However, the team found little evidence that teachers who took training courses alone improved their practice or pupils' behaviour.

The review, chaired by Philippa Cordingley, chief executive of the centre, was sponsored by the General Teaching Council for England, the Department for Education and Skills and the National Union of Teachers.

The report says collaborative work should combine input from outside experts with peer support. It should involve experimentation and collaboration between teachers, preferably working in pairs or small groups, connected directly to the teachers' own classroom.

Where teachers take courses on their own, it suggests they should make the most of what they have learned by developing partnerships with colleagues and sharing experiences with them, or acting as coaches for other teachers.

This is the second review of research on professional development conducted by the team for the Evidence for Policy and Practice Information and Co-ordinating Centre (Eppi centre), based at London university's institute of education. It will appear on the Eppi centre website next Friday.

Future reforms to professional development will give pay rises to teachers who meet certain training standards and emphasise throughout the mentoring and coaching of colleagues.

The value of teachers supporting each other in training is one of the main themes in On Course, the special professional development supplement published with this week's TES.


On Course magazine inside this week's issue

Log-in as an existing print or digital subscriber

Forgotten your subscriber ID?


To access this content and the full TES archive, subscribe now.

View subscriber offers


Get TES online and delivered to your door – for less than the price of a coffee

Save 33% off the cover price with this great subscription offer. Every copy delivered to your door by first-class post, plus full access to TES online and the TES app for just £1.90 per week.
Subscribers also enjoy a range of fantastic offers and benefits worth over £270:

  • Discounts off TES Institute courses
  • Access over 200,000 articles in the TES online archive
  • Free Tastecard membership worth £79.99
  • Discounts with Zipcar, Buyagift.com, Virgin Wines and other partners
Order your low-cost subscription today