One thing that I noticed during my own teacher training was a distinct lack of any real tracking of my developing skills. Anything that was in place seemed to be highly subjective or quite obscure, using strangely worded criteria that did not seem to have that much bearing on what actually goes on within the classroom.
This was something that I wanted to address in setting up my own programme, particularly because I thought that it would be a good way to solve, at least in part, the CPD Paradox through making trainees more accountable for making positive changes to their practice.
Since bringing this system in, I have also entirely stopped using Ofsted graded observations with my 2nd year trainees; I feel that a skills tracking system is a much more effective way of ensuring progress than the idea of giving people an emotion-loaded number between 1-4. Anyway, I’ll let you judge that for yourselves.
I use two different tracking systems, depending on who I am working with. In this post, I discuss a system I developed that specifically tracks the skills and techniques covered in my weekly training programme. The idea is that it gives me accurate data about whether what we cover week on week is actually making its way into the classroom. Equally, it should provide some extra impetus for trainees themselves to actively try to utilise new skills.
Below, please find an image of my professional studies programme, laid out in date order:
The first three sessions in this programme were designed to help teachers with the basics of behaviour management and lesson planning. The first was on teaching students an active listening technique and embedding a routine for silence, the second on creating good learning objectives and the third on routines for the start of lesson (i.e., how students walk into the room, handing out resources and so on).
When I observed this one of my trainees a month into their first year, I used the following proforma:
to track these skills on a master spreadsheet:
From this, I could see that Joe Bloggs had got to grips with the basics of planning (setting manageable, clear and correctly phrased objectives) and needed no further help in this area, but had failed to grasp the basics of behaviour management. I could then use this data to work with him on better strategies in this area.
The next time I then observed Joe, I could see whether he had made the required changes, but would then also move further forward into the skills tracking documents to see whether new skills from the training programme were being acquired. At any date, I would track all the teaching skills covered in the CPD programme up to that point. At the end of their first year, the spreadsheet could also be used as evidence towards passing QTS.
To illustrate, below is a screen shot of the same tracker containing all the skills taught up to Christmas:
I attach both the observation proforma and tracking spreadsheet below:
In an typically excellent blog post, Joe Kirby has posted on similar issues here.