As teachers, we are very familiar with the traditional ‘expert to novice’ model of professional development that usually involves attending external events or staff training days, writes Patricia Odell.
Practitioners often come away from these types of events brimming with new ideas, but the problem with this approach is that once back in the workplace, teachers often do not have the time and space needed to be able to try out new strategies.
Joint practice development (JPD) is different. First proposed by Fielding et al (2005), this model involves teachers working together to develop their practice. It differs from conventional methods in three ways as teachers are:
Empowered to take ownership of their professional development, identifying areas of their practice they wish to improve
provided with time and space to improve their practice, enabling them to share, discuss and reflect on their practice with others
Able to experiment with new strategies and take risks without fear of being judged.
JPD is a ‘slow burn’ rather than a ‘quick fix’. Leaders have a key role to play in creating the conditions in which this approach can thrive.
Patricia Odell is head of professional status at the Education and Training Foundation. She has recently submitted her doctoral thesis exploring the benefits and challenges of a JPD approach in FE institutions.
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