I have for some time held the belief that CPD needs to be transformed if we are to change anything in Education. The top down delivery movement has had its day. My involvement with Pedagoo over the last three years has convinced me that teachers are crying out desperately for something new, especially as we struggle to come to terms with the workload issues apparent with curricular change in Scotland. I’ve been thinking of that a lot this year. In February, sitting in a class at Strathclyde Uni, I looked about the space we were in and thought about the possibilities of a room full of teachers in a University environment.
A couple of Saturdays ago that vision became a reality. At #PedagooGlasgow, over eighty teachers gave up their time to talk about their practice; to attend high quality workshops and interact with what they were hearing; to, hopefully, fulfil a need for quality development they perhaps are missing in their own contexts. There was no sponsorship, no free gifts, no tickets, no lunch provided, no prize draws. And there was a moment, during the day, when I managed to take a breather and have a look around, thinking, ‘this is exactly what I had in mind when I first had the idea’. It was, I think, my proudest moment in teaching, a real sense of achievement.
What was best though was that many of those who lead workshops had never done so before. My ‘constructive persuasion’ – not bullying at all – came about merely because I believed those people had loads to share and others would want to hear them. My school, your school, all of our schools are full of them. Just waiting for an opportunity to speak up. Hopefully they will go back to their schools and tell others; hopefully they will come back and present again, bringing a colleague with them. That, for me, is the real spirit of Pedagoo, that invitation to share and include others.
So what next? Changing existing cultures is an incredibly difficult and challenging task. In many ways teaching is a hugely conservative profession. But what is clear is that we all have a responsibility to make that change happen. Attending Pedagoo events and Teachmeets are nothing if they don’t actively change our practice. I would also argue that unless we go back and convince our colleagues that these events are valuable then we are missing a trick. We all need to engage with the Pedagoo community to ensure that the conversations started on days like PedagooGlasgow and the forthcoming Pedagoo@PL event continue and become part of our everyday language.
After #PedagooGlasgow we were discussing how we might take the energy and enthusiasm and positivity of the day and make change happen. Ian Stuart @ianstuart66 believes that change needs to be organic and that you cannot force it. Keep plugging away and changing one person at at time. The idea frustrates me but he’s right. Whether we like it or not we all have the responsibility for improving things for all teachers. All teachers should be teacher educators, to paraphrase Graham Donaldson. If we are to radically change the make up of the way we improve as teachers then we must bring others along with us. Pedagoo is helping us do that and changing the landscape of CPD provision in Scotland. It’s a slow process but it’s worth it.