The challenges and benefits of attending mathematics specific CPD
As a head of a large mathematics department, each week I received a huge mail bag, both physical and electronic, much of which contained information about the latest ‘not to be missed’ CPD opportunity. Whilst I intended to read through them all and pass the details to the relevant member of the department, in reality, the majority ended up in a box stapled to the wall of the mathematics office.
Being aware of the available opportunities is one thing, prioritising need another. Should exam board courses take precedence? What about courses to improve pedagogy, information about upcoming curriculum changes, behaviour management, assessment…? I always preferred mathematics specific CPD rather than generic courses in which you have to apply what you learnt to your own subject. I always found being in a room with other mathematics teachers more rewarding.
The next task is deciding whether the course will be any good. How do you know whether the training received will be effective, change practice for the better and be appropriate for your situation? One starting place is to see whether the deliverer is an NCETM CPD Standard Holder.
So, having found the course and decided it will be worth attending the next task is to gain approval to attend. This may mean filling in a form justifying why the course should be attended, what effect the course will have on your own teaching, how what is learnt on the course will be disseminated to colleagues and what impact the course will have on the students you teach. The final piece of persuasion may include convincing the member of staff who holds the CPD budget that the course will be worth the attendance fee, the cover costs and the travel expenses.
Having attended the course, the next task, besides filling in the schools CPD evaluation form, is to find time to act upon what you learnt on the course.
The National STEM Learning Centre offer mathematics teachers a different kind of CPD experience: intensive, residential, high impact, bursary funded CPD. ENTHUSE Award bursary funding enables state funded schools to claim back the cost of the course on completion. In addition to receiving high quality CPD sessions over a number of days, participants have access to our powerful Impact Toolkit, supporting teachers in drawing up action plans and collecting impact data resulting from the course.