The more we tell teachers about generic best practice in the classroom, the less they will focus on students’ learning, says David Weston. He argues for a subject-centred approach to CPD.

A really popular activity in many schools is to issue advice or conduct training around common ideas that all teachers use.

It might be about asking great questions, how to give good feedback or how to differentiate. This seems to make sense; there is no question that great teachers use these ideas with skill, so it would seem to follow that we should get everyone else to do the same. Except this doesn’t work very well.

The more we tell colleagues about the best generic ways to ask questions, the more they are likely to focus generically on their own practice and try and “perform it right”, rather than focusing on the learning of students. 

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