CPD and coaching – how to lead the way in this time of crisis to creating the right blend of professional learning

Listening, questioning, sharing, collaborating, co-constructing, talking, reflecting, creating, empowering, influencing

A few of the words that describe the power of coaching as the most desirable way to build a CPD strategy for your school or college.  Back to school does not mean been back to normal and many leaders in education are facing challenges that are unprecedented. Finding the solutions to continuing to provide a high quality of education and ensure all staff have the knowledge, skills, energy and motivation to deliver it is essential for learning for pupils and personnel across the organisation. Coaching is that solution.

The Learning Cultures’ coaching team know from many years’ experience that the most cost effective, innovative and solutions-focused way forward is to set about using the principles of coaching as a starting point for planning CPD for the next year and beyond. For most this will mean using virtual platforms and online tools.

The Education Endowment Foundation have come to the same conclusion, their recent Rapid Evidence Assessment of the efficacy of remote professional development concludes,

Remote coaching, mentoring and expert support can be effective alone or as part of broader professional development programmes (PD)

  • Coaching and mentoring can improve skills and knowledge of professionals when delivered remotely and may reduce feelings of isolation in professionals
  • Remote or blended coaching, mentoring and expert support can be used to complement broader remote or blended PD programmes
  • Collaboration between colleagues may also improve PD outcomes through enabling reflective practice and collective problem-solving

The power of coaching transforms learning and teaching, builds dynamic teams and creates positive and incisive leaders. We have had a part to play in ensuring coaching is at the heart of CPD across many schools and colleges here in the UK and internationally.  We have now spent the last six months finalising our online programmes using an ex Channel 4 producer and an award-winning designer to work with us to ensure our highly-praised and well-researched content is also accessible, interesting and relevant.

We have been astounded by the outcomes from the live coaching webinars that we have delivered throughout the summer and the success of the Moodle courses that we have developed for schools and colleges to buy and use anytime within their CPD calendar. The quality and flexibility of this approach means a whole new world of CPD and coaching possibilities to suit all those who educate across all sectors.

 

Learning how to coach online – Powerful, proactive and personal

Cascading a coaching culture across a school or college creates opportunities for highly focused professional interaction that can empower individuals to accept change and allow them to take risks and find solutions. This has never been more important as we continue to try to find ways to teach and engage with learners both virtually and in very different classrooms.  Coaching brings together individuals who can share their successes, encourage reflection and foster resilience when the going gets tough.

Here at Learning Cultures that is certainly what we have had to do.  Offsite courses where people travel and spend time in groups in hotels and other conference spaces has not been on the agenda.  Survival for us has required innovation and a willingness to embrace change.  The answer has been surprisingly simple and has proved hugely successful. Coaching, we thought might prove tricky to deliver online. How wrong we were.

The Zoom coaching courses that we have run through May and June have been a huge success and provide an intimate and structured dimension to one to one and group interaction.  The impact of our training is just as powerful as it has always been and the opportunities for the development of more frequent coaching conversations with the trainer and with other participants means practising coaching skills is readily available, time friendly and outstandingly good value for all. We have broken down the full day we usually host into two sessions of two and a half hours each with a week in between for practice and reflection. It works so well, it is less tiring, more rewarding and more intense in terms of depth of learning.

There is still a place for face to face coaching interaction and learning but it isn’t happening any time soon and coaching is urgently needed as a means of empowering and motivating staff and learners to continue to be a part of a learning culture. The current coaching courses we have available online through July and August are:-

Have a look on our website at all the other courses we are offering through our Zoom platform. All our Zoom courses are for individuals to work through and currently cost £150.00 + VAT inclusive of both sessions which is a price that is too good to miss out on.

We also have a suite of courses that are now available on a Moodle platform for schools to buy as CPD packages that can be delivered as a whole school INSET, a series of training sessions or twilight sessions across an academic year. Discounted by 30% to £695.00 + VAT they are exceptional value.

 

Creating Seamless Learning across the Transition Bridge from KS2 to KS3

Transition from primary to secondary school is in the spotlight as never before.  How can you make sure that you can create the right conditions for pupils to make the leap from their primary school to a very different secondary world?

Curriculum leaders, year heads and pastoral leaders should join us online to learn from experts in the field of transition how to ensure that pupils can build on their prior learning, have the confidence to continue their learning journey and feel safe and comfortable with the many changes they will encounter.

We have included a new section looking specifically at some of the issues that will inevitably emerge as a result of the current pandemic and its effect on pupils’ academic achievements as well as their well-being and self-esteem.

The online version of  ‘Crossing the Transition Bridge from KS2 to KS3 – How to build on prior learning and ensure seamless progression as pupils move from primary to secondary school  will provide you with the same resources, activities and extra research and other articles to support the development of a transition strategy that will ensure all pupils thrive and progress during their vital first year in secondary school.

The cost for this online course is £145.00 + VAT which is discounted by 50% of the cost of the offsite course.  We are hosting our online courses as two half days instead of one full day with time to reflect in between. The dates are 23rd June and 3rd July. The only thing missing is the superb lunch we always provide and pastries and biscuits.  That will be up to you!

Other similar courses being hosted this term are listed below.

We also have a suite of courses available on our MOODLE site that can be delivered at any time to all staff. Have a look at these on our website here.

Accessing Education CPD through a Virtual Learning Platform

Online CPD for educators is undoubtedly the way forward.  Certainly, in the short term.  Here at Learning Cultures we are working hard to bring you our highly acclaimed training courses to a virtual platform.

We have six courses ready to go.  We are discounting the cost of these by 30% to £695.00 + VAT from £995.00 + VAT per school. We intend to continue this offer until such time as we can provide offsite and INSET training again. You will have access to the course and login details for up to 10 members of staff.

Each course you buy will allow up to ten members of staff to access the array of materials, presentations and activities as many times as they want for up to twelve months. Each will have their own log in details and can then use the training for their own use and to share with their teams. Each of our courses has an element of coaching within it. Coaching is by far the best way to ensure that the learning is cascaded and shared widely.

We are watching carefully the unfolding picture as to how we move forward from here towards a more normal way of life.  It is clear that group activities in large hotels and conference centres are unlikely to happen in the very near future.

However, training your staff is still an essential element of school life and all staff must have opportunities to learn new skills, reflect on their practice and work together through professional conversations and motivational dialogue.  Those who have attended our training courses in the past will know that all our training is outstanding, and full of new and highly researched evidence-based learning materials.  Our online platform will offer the same and more.

Have a look here for more details and order your virtual CPD so that all your staff can continue to develop professionally using the acclaimed resources and presentations for which we are justifiably proud.

Online courses from Learning Cultures -Virtually speaking with feeling, style and presence

Virtually speaking with feeling, style and presence

Learning how to coach has given every single member of the Learning Cultures’ team the positivity and creativity to find solutions to this unique situation we all find ourselves in.  We can’t, and probably won’t be able to for some time to come, travel and gather in hotels and other venues for training, meetings, or coaching sessions.  So what we have decided to do is to bring our considerable expertise and wealth of highly praised materials and resources to an online platform.

Continuous Professional Development (CPD) is essential to all those in the education profession.  We advocate that the sharing of good and outstanding practice as part of a process of continuous improvement should be an important aspect of school life. Even that most simple and cost-effective way of learning from each other is not happening for many professionals who are now working from home for much of the time. We have six courses available as part of the first of our CPD on-line sequence which include something for leaders and middle managers, for subject leaders and for teachers.

These courses are broken down into five sections and will mirror our approach to in-house and off-site courses.  They have been designed, recorded and produced by an ex Channel 4 film maker and a producer who has a wealth of technical and creative experience designing high profile on-line courses for some of our largest companies. For all of those who have attended our training courses we offer the same wealth of expert content that is built on high profile and current research.

The first six of our courses listed above are delivered by Glynis Frater who is an expert coach with a wealth of experience of training leaders, managers and teachers for over 15 years. These courses have been carefully reviewed and we are so pleased with the extremely positive evaluations we have received.

“Outstanding, so much material that is easy to follow and extremely informative.  There is enough in one course to use for several online opportunities for all our staff.”

Headteacher from a Hospital School in the South West

You will have training courses that you can use to deliver a whole school INSET or for specific teams within your school or college. If you buy one course up to 10 individuals will have log in details so several members of a team can work together to plan how to use the materials, share their learning and use the resources to support their own professional development and provide opportunities for professional dialogue across the whole school, within teams and departments and for individual members of staff.

We have chosen the above six titles as a starting point. There is something for leaders and managers, (Appraisal and Lesson Observation) for subject and team leaders (the role of the subject leader) and something for all teaching staff (Formative Assessment and The Learning Room).  The current price of £695.00 + VAT is discounted by 30% for the duration of this quarantine period.  Book now and ensure that all your staff continue to have the highly professional CPD that they deserve.

 

Are you being heard? – Listening an essential skill for learning

Listening is essential for learning. However, ensuring learners are listening to the important information they need to learn remotely is difficult.

Here at Learning Cultures we train teachers how to listen when they are learning to become coaches. We stress the importance of active listening. We raise would be coach’s awareness of how easy it is to be distracted, to miss important signals, to take back the conversation too quickly. Teachers soon recognise that this skill along with deep and rich questioning are the necessary ingredients to ignite learning.

So what can we do that will create a virtual classroom where we can be sure that the audience, the learner is listening?

We know from many pieces of research that it is likely that your learners will only hear around 40% of what you are saying regardless of whether you are face to face or online. So, categorise the information you want to impart into small chunks with not too much talking. Ask for feedback and give simple tasks linked to the information such as taking notes, producing a mind map, recording the key words.  Create the opportunity for learners to learn incrementally.

For some of the online courses we have on offer we are using whiteboard software to convey our messages through cartoons and stories.  Using visuals in a fast, fun way with text and the spoken voice is a powerful tool for raising the level of interest and the listening. Video Scribe is a cost effective way of building some highly interactive lesson content.

When you are planning the learning think about what it is that your learners will see and hear. Would you be happy sitting and listening in the same way? How interesting are you? How can you encourage learners to listen and take in what you are saying?

Use suspense to engage your learners. This can be a useful approach for all sorts of subjects. In Science, ‘what do you think happens next?’ In History, ‘what were the consequences of his/her decision?’ In Geography, ‘what would happen if you chose that route?’

Make listening part of the learning. We know from our training that everyone loves to think about how well they listen and actually how bad we all are at using this vital skill. Talk about listening and create a quiz that your learners can do after you have asked them to listen to you.  They will, inevitably, not score highly. It is a powerful way to raise awareness about their listening skills or the lack of them.

Our online learning offer for teachers is growing.  Remember that your learning is also important.  Face to face CPD may not be available for some time to come.  We are creating virtual platforms for some of our courses that you can buy as a package. The first ones are listed here.

 

The answers you hope for depend on the questions you ask

What are the questions that achieve the best outcomes from your learners? Do you have at your fingertips questions that will inspire enquiry, problem solving and challenge? Are you stimulating for your pupils the desire to learn, find out more and deepen knowledge and understanding?

“the disciplined practice of thoughtful questioning enables the learner to examine ideas and be able to determine the validity of those ideas” Socrates

The Learning Cultures’ team are experts in coaching.  This gives us an edge in the techniques required to be innovative in how to ask the right questions.  We know that incisive and focused questioning is one of the most fundamental skills a coach must develop. It is also the most powerful pedagogy in the classroom. This exceptional time in our lives and the lives of all our learners provides us with the time to reflect on how to skilfully use questioning as a stimulus for learning.

Asking open questions that start with who, when, where, what, how or why require the recipient of the question to answer fully.  Asking a learner ‘where did you find the information to inform your answer?’ ‘What do you know already about the Romans?’ cannot be answered with a yes or no answer and lead the learner to explain their reasoning or recall what they already have learnt.  We have included here some resources that you can use to reflect on how you use questioning and how you can use specific types of questioning to challenge deeper thinking, create opportunities for reflection and motivate learners to take risks and find their own solutions.

We have included a proforma that explains the main questioning types and when to use them. We have put together a few slides from a presentation we use to deepen knowledge about questioning and how to cleverly use questioning techniques as part of learning how to coach. We have also added in a list of ‘Socratic questions’ and example answers. We have also included a table that provides some examples of progressive questioning for higher levels of response linked to Bloom’s taxonomy.

Happy questioning to all of you out there learning how to teach remotely. I wonder how much will change for all of us as we remain in this virtual world for a little while longer.

We are going virtual with some of our training courses. CPD for educators while we are not in school is just as important as ensuring the right approach to teaching our pupils. Have a look below at our first suite of online CPD for educators,

 

 

 

Comprehension – a vital key to unlocking deeper learning in a virtual world

How well do your pupils understand the work they are given in this time of virtual learning?  In a classroom the teacher fills the gaps explains the unfamiliar and corrects misconceptions.  How can we ensure this happens at home?

Comprehension is essential if pupils are to deepen their learning and unlock their potential to make sense of how the world works.  Blooms in its original form and the more recent revised form (as above) both recognise the importance of comprehension or understanding quite early on in their respective hierarchical pyramids. We cannot begin to analyse, justify, compare and contrast or evaluate until we have the skills with which to make sense of the facts. In any classroom we would expect to see some or all of the list below.

  • Discussion
  • Collaboration
  • Investigation
  • The acquisition of knowledge
  • Practice and reinforcement
  • What the learner produces to obtain feedback

For all of the above there is an essential component part which is being able to understand the information they have at their disposal. Learning how to de-code the written word or other information will lead to pupils being able to share, have a discussion or do some independent enquiry of their own. There is an opportunity here to focus on how to help your pupils to shape their own learning. Pupils should reflect and ask questions to test their own understanding of the content of the work being given to them or the reading they are asked to undertake.  Learning how to deeply understand text or indeed other materials such as graphs, charts, photographs and diagrams will reinforce what they already know and provide the platform to then build new learning.

A friend and colleague of mine developed a tool for her PGCE students to use as part of their teaching of English.  We have adapted the 5Ps of comprehension for English into 5Ps for other subjects and for non-fiction texts, worksheets or indeed graphs, photographs and diagrams.  Create for your pupils studying from home an opportunity to use a tool that will help them to articulate what they do understand and to focus on where they are unsure. It will give all pupils the confidence to reflect on the importance of understanding what they are given to support their developing knowledge.

The five Ps of comprehension   – Download the questions in this PDF that will provide pupils with an opportunity to reflect on how well they understand what they are reading or researching. The 5Ps are listed below.

  • Points of View – What is the text telling you and do you agree?
  • Patterns and connections – How has reading this added to what you already know?
  • Puzzles – What is puzzling you?
  • Possibilities? – Now you know this what else can you learn to add to your understanding?
  • Prediction – What might happen if…?

We are producing a suite of on-line training courses for leaders, managers and teachers in schools and colleges. These will be available after the Easter holiday at the end of April.  Keep up your CPD. Continue to follow our weekly posts with advice for how to support pupils learning from home.

Creating the curious learner – some tips to facilitate enquiry learning

It is normally the role of the teacher to do the research, plan the content of the lesson and steer pupils towards achieving the outcomes already decided the lesson should lead to. In these very different times why not create the right conditions for pupils to become masters of their own learning journey.

Think about what it is you want your class to know and remember. Define what you would like them to produce at the end of the allotted time and resist the temptation to lead pupils towards the information or the facts.

Leave it to your pupils to build their own set of questions.  Create as a starting point some prompts. Who? What? Why? When? Where? This could apply to investigating the Romans, learning about women’s suffrage, the slave trade, the reasons for the start of the First World War, the invention of the telephone.

Encourage pupils to create their own presentations to illustrate their enquiry. This could be a piece of writing or a powerpoint, it could be a drawing or a short video.

Create a two-way process between teacher and pupils in this virtual world where the teacher encourages self-reflection.  So, following an exercise in enquiry learning that leads to pupils presenting their work the teacher asks questions to challenge the pupil to compare, contrast or explain their reasoning, define their thinking and encourage further discussion about the topic.

This approach can lead to pupils becoming more confident in their desire to learn through their own enquiry. Pupils are more likely to exhibit curiosity and can be encouraged to want to find out more.  There are many skills that pupils will gain from this approach such as organising their time for learning, learning how to ask deep and rich questions, compiling their own answers into a coherent narrative or visual representation.

We must find new ways to teach without classrooms.  Motivating pupils to want to learn is essential. Teaching pupils how to be investigators of their own learning can be hugely beneficial even for quite young pupils.  Whilst the teacher isn’t there to support pupils and manage their learning it is a gift to give them the opportunity to be driving their own learning, fostering their own instincts for being curious and helping them develop a range of enquiry skills that will hold them in good stead throughout their education and beyond.

We are nearly there with our online learning platform for leaders, managers subject leaders and teachers. We are offering all of the courses at a special price for schools of £595.00 + VAT. One course can be used by as many staff as need to take part in the training within your school or college. Make sure all staff have the CPD they need through these extra-ordinary times. Our first six courses will be available from 26th April.

Download our ten top tips for creating the right pedagogy for enquiry learning.

How do you avoid the dip in performance at times of transition?

There is a worrying dip in performance and self-esteem as a result of transition from one phase or stage to the next. This can have a dramatic and profound impact on learning and achievement as pupils cross the bridge from school to school, phase to phase or key stage to key stage.

Planning for transition should be a priority. This imperative is well-documented in current research and commentary linked to high quality curriculum design and delivery.  Curriculum and subject leaders are encouraged to focus on ensuring that pupils work towards ‘clearly defined end points’, to ensure that ‘pupils are ready for the next stage of their education’ , that ‘pupils build on their prior learning’ and that ‘the learning is sequenced to ensure a deepening of knowledge and understanding’. OFSTED Handbook for schools.

To have the evidence for any of the above, stakeholders involved in transition must have the resources to work together to design strategies that support a shared vision for cohesion and co-operation across the transition bridge. The dip is most profound when pupils move from school to school such as from infant to junior and from junior to secondary.

There should be evidence of a shared understanding of what has gone before and what is expected of pupils when they arrive at their new school. Data in itself is useful but there is a wealth of other information that needs to be gathered and shared in order to make sure that all pupils can thrive and continue to learn as they move from one setting to the next. There are so many opportunities for transition and curriculum leaders to gather vital intelligence about pupils and their potential.

  • How well has the dispatching school covered the national curriculum across the core and foundation subjects?
  • How can the receiving school build on prior learning?
  • What skills do pupils have that support their acquisition of knowledge and how can these be built upon?
  • How well do pupils read both fiction and non-fiction and what strategies can be transferred to support intervention?
  • What are the interests, hobbies and strengths that individual pupils bring with them when they move school?
  • How different is the pedagogy and how does a change of approach impact on learning?
  • How can the receiving school assess the quality of writing and competence in speaking and listening and numeracy skills to ensure a dip in performance can be allayed?

This intelligence will not happen without a clear strategy developed and implemented by a coalition from both sides from the relevant phase or stage. Communication, visual resources and clearly defined actions agreed by all will deliver a new dawn that ensures pupils do not dip in performance but accelerate their learning and move inexorably towards successful outcomes for all pupils.

Learning Cultures have two superb and highly praised courses to support transition leaders, year heads and those with the responsibility for the curriculum. Bring your transition partners and work together with our experts to develop seamless learning between KS1 and 2 or between KS2 and 3.