New Perspectives … offers two main types of course designed for headteachers, teachers, those training to teach and, often, other staff or governors in primary and nursery schools. This page describes the Thinking Through Pedagogy courses, while New Perspectives on … courses can be seen on another page.
Michael Fullan suggests that ‘educational change depends on what teachers do and think. It’s as simple and complex as that.’ Other factors – curriculum, resources, inspection, school structures, leadership – all affect this. However, the complexity of children’s learning requires teachers – and other adults – who in the Cambridge Primary Review’s words ‘work towards a pedagogy of repertoire rather than recipe and of principle rather than prescription.’ In other words, one essential element of school improvement is teachers who think through and understand their practice, and are prepared to develop their own ideas, rather than just follow the recipe.
Good CPD draws on the evidence of research and practice, introducing new ideas and perspectives to encourage a deeper understanding of pedagogy, to help groups and individuals explore how this can inform and enrich their teaching.
Thinking through Pedagogy courses are designed to encourage discussion and the sharing of good practice, recognising the need for teachers to think through and reflect on the complexity of children’s learning and the tensions of often-conflicting demands on teachers.
The courses are designed as a set of linked sessions, exploring an overall theme in depth, posing and exploring important, often contested, questions. They are usually based in a school, drawing on research and participants’ experience, linking theoretical and practical elements; and are, therefore, very different from courses which offer simple one-size-fits-all solutions and designed to make a difference to how teachers think and teach.
Alternative models, depending on the location of schools and their specific needs, are available, such as:
- six after-school sessions, similar to a Master’s level module, but without the need to write a dissertation; or
- at least two full-, or three half-days, with space for reflection and reading between these.
Courses are organised on pre-set dates in areas within easy reach of Oxford and can be set up in response to specific requests. Courses run have been on the themes of:
- Encouraging high-quality classroom talk;
- Developing the attributes of successful learners;
- Creating appropriate environments for learning; and
- Thinking through values.
Schools or groups may wish to design a programme, in consultation with Dr Tony Eaude, from thinkingthroughcourses (pdf, 187K) .
New Perspectives … has run similar programmes in Oxfordshire for those in their first year of teaching, on the theme of ‘Developing your philosophy and practice.’ Any groups of schools or local authorities interested in such continuing professional development opportunities in their area are invited to contact Dr Tony Eaude.
Courses can be tailored according to the experience of the participants, for instance students in initial teacher education, newly qualified teachers, teachers with at least two years’ experience or support staff. While suitable for individual schools, great benefit is gained where participants are drawn from a range of backgrounds.
If you wish to discuss how such opportunities can be of most use to you, or to book, then please contact firstname.lastname@example.org