Magazine article Times Educational Supplement

What Keeps Me Awake at Night - Development Days Are a Massive Waste of Time: Opinion

Magazine article Times Educational Supplement

What Keeps Me Awake at Night - Development Days Are a Massive Waste of Time: Opinion

Article excerpt

As the new academic year approaches, the time when we will be hauled back from our holidays and thrust into school early in order to attend "professional development" days draws nearer. At the schools I have worked in, it seems to be mandatory to bring all your staff in one week before term starts, although the dates have been getting earlier and earlier.

Managers enjoy creating these professional development days, not just to curtail teachers' holidays or to appease parental and governmental concerns but also, I think, because it is an exercise in control.

It would be acceptable if these days were in any way useful but, as with so much professional development, they rarely have any relevance. Most schools throw up a programme of empty seminars that no one asked for, with titles such as "Digital literacy", "The benefits of the tablet technology" or "What careers will there be tomorrow?" (Spot a trend here?)

We are fortunate at my school to have guest speakers at least, and are also lucky that our management attempts the pretence of being touchy-feely about our concerns, asking teachers via a questionnaire how effective they felt the professional development days were, what could be improved in general and what we felt about the invited speaker's performance. …

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