Keeping teachers up to date with new research and inspiring classroom pedagogy is difficult; you can put on as much CPD in the world, but often teachers, just like students, need to actively learn in their own time, and hand pick strategies that work for them.
With this in mind, my school have introduced a termly Teaching and Learning newsletter, which we call The Muse. The key aim is to engage all staff with exciting pedagogy, whilst empowering staff to share their classroom ideas. The idea is simple: Teaching and Learning lead teachers (known as Teaching Champions) AND staff summarise developments in educational research, or recent updates in Teaching and Learning at the school; staff then share successful classroom ideas and explain how they have embedded them into their teaching.
We recently ran our first Teach Meet (a blog post on this to come!) We used the Muse to share the best ideas from this, enabling all staff to engage with the voluntary CPD. Some of our favourite ideas included differentiated beach ball questioning (see post on Poundland Pedagogy), deliberate mistakes in lessons, and plenary tweeting to show progression in learning.
Staff have loved being given the opportunity to share their classroom ideas; anything from phone apps, to more researched based ideas such as Harkness and Solo Taxonomy. There has been a real buzz around the school as staff see their ideas being integrated across the curriculum; this has encouraged others to try new ideas and contribute to our newsletter!
We’ve also used the Muse to focus on our termly Teaching and Learning priority. A key part of this in our first two Muse editions was the use of iPads in the classroom. As we have already integrated iPad CPD into our TLC (teaching and learning community CPD sessions) and Teach Eats (weekly bitesize teachmeet style sessions on specific topics), we were wary of overloading staff, but wanted to ensure that they got a summary of the key apps they could use in the classroom. Our ‘IT hacks’ section of the Muse has been particularly popular, with teachers finding new ways to increase effective and efficient marking, reporting and learning.
After giving staff a chance to peruse the Muse, we gave departments a challenge to integrate one Muse strategy into their lessons. This has proved really popular, and has been a great incentive for staff to try new ideas. A science teacher, for example, thoroughly enjoyed using aspects of the Poundland Pedagogy strategy in their lessons, and English GCSE students have relished in being challenged using Solo Taxonomy.
I’m happy to send out a template for colleagues to use – pop me a message if you’d like one!