Best Practice

CPD and steaks – making chefs, not cooks

David Weston would love to be better at cooking – so how would one improve one’s skills in the kitchen? And what parallels can be drawn with teachers’ CPD?

There’s a whole industry that has built up around teaching which involves giving generic teaching advice and doing generic observations. In many cases the advice-giver or observer has very little knowledge of the specific subject or topic being taught by the teachers present, nor the best ways to teach it, but we assume that this doesn’t really matter.

I recently gave a talk at the ResearchED National Conference in London and used an analogy to try and illustrate why this may not be the right approach. My argument was that if we consider how a great chef learns to cook a particularly excellent steak then we can, perhaps surprisingly, reflect on why generic teacher development is insufficient to help teachers improve effectively.

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