Becoming a Teacher: Issues in Secondary Teaching

By Justin Dillon; Meg Maguire | Go to book overview

28 What's next? CPD and the
whole school

Philip Adey


Continuing to learn

Rosenholtz (1989) made an extensive study of schools in Tennessee. Some were well set up with well-qualified teachers, while others were in difficult areas where it was hard to recruit staff, and these often resorted (illegally) to employing unqualified individuals. Rosenholtz distinguished schools which she described as 'learning enriched', where there was a positive attitude to curriculum change and new learning methods, from 'learning impoverished' schools where teachers basically went through the motions of transmitting set textbook material to the students. She asked hundreds of teachers an apparently simple question: 'How long did it take you to learn to teach?' (You might pause to consider how long you think it will take you to master the art of being an excellent teacher and, if you are brave, you might try asking the same question of a few teachers in your practice schools.)

What Rosenholtz discovered was that in the impoverished schools teachers tended to answer something like 'Oh two or three years' while those in the learning enriched schools gave a completely different sort of answer. They would be far more likely to say, 'Oh I'm still learning' or 'You 've never learned it all', however long they had been teaching. You should not find this depressing, it is the sign of professional activity (see Chapter 2 for a full account of what it means to be a professional). Teaching is not simply a skill which can be mastered in a finite period of time; it is a complex professional art which you will continue to develop throughout your teaching career. And that is one of the things that makes it so engaging.

Continuing Professional Development, (CPD) should be just that, a process of professional development which continues throughout your teaching career. Here are some of the types of CPD in which you may engage:

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