Monday, 11 November 2013

INSET

Well, today was one of the academic year's five CPD days.

One of the children in my class asked me, "Miss, what insect will you be on Monday?"
Me, "Um, well, I wasn't planning on going as an insect! Why did you  think I might be?"
"For the insect day of course!" came the reply with an incredulous look .

The penny (finally, it was Friday!) dropped. "Ah, I see ! Sadly it's not an INSECT day but an INSET day, when we go to have some training to help us become even better teachers. Although an insect day does sound fun!"

What other job are you going to have that kind of conversation in? None that I can think of other than teaching.

Well, after this morning I wish it HAD been an INSECT day. I'm sure I would have (flown) come away with some ideas.

I'm not going to name names but the morning speaker who had come very highly recommended spent the whole time telling us one anecdote after another. All very interesting (less so after break when we had no biscuits! Sealed its own fate by that time) , very interesting , but nothing new, nothing not heard before. SO, why on earth waste all that time when he could have spoken for an hour (tops) and we could have had productive follow up discussion straight after. Instead a whole morning.

I've got the task of organising a cluster INSET next year. Perhaps we should have an insect day instead?  No, I am joking- although it is almost worth a typo on the invites to see if anyone notices/comments!

INSET days must be purposeful, enthuse us and most importantly give us time to have meaningful professional dialogue. Today's session COULD have been so much more useful with a few tweaks.

These points I have taken away for future INSET sessions- would welcome comments/ suggestions:

1) Not seat delegates in rows
2) Not have more than an hour of being talked to (at)
3) Provide biscuits! (Yes, it does matter- fruit if we're being healthy although they're even worse for your teeth than biscuits with all that acid!http://summertomato.com/10-foods-you-didnt-know-were-damaging-your-teeth/ )
4) Not try to reinvent the wheel- in one day that's crazy and been done too many times already, but avoid anecdotes and try to give teachers  things that they can actually go away and try in their classes.



These are some other blog posts which share how INSET can be ineffective. I look forward to writing about how the next one is better...
http://www.theguardian.com/teacher-network/teacher-blog/2013/may/04/secret-teacher-inset-training-days-wasted
http://pragmaticreform.wordpress.com/2013/06/01/cpd/

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