Last week we held our first ICT staff meeting of the year. This was a chance to have a good look at the class blogs. We asked staff to come with something they needed help with or something they wanted to share that had gone well for them. The intention of these meetings is for them to operate as a workshop, they provide the time and support to enable all staff to develop their skills and understanding in specific areas. Over this year we will be holding these staff surgeries regularly, focusing each session on an identified area.
For such sessions to be successful a coaching culture of support and encouragement needs to be present. Staff have to feel comfortable to come along and hold their hand up without fear of judgement, there has to be a shared understanding that not everyone will get it and if you don’t others will be there to help. It sounds easy but our profession hasn’t exactly encouraged such an approach in the past. For many. admitting a lack of understanding or ability would have been seen as failure rather than a cry for help. Building an environment where people feel comfortable in asking for support from their peers (and the pupils in some cases) is helping us to target support, use our experts and develop professionally from within.
The staff surgery is proving helpful in developing the ICT capabilities of staff but it is a model the could be used in any given area. As the landscape shifts and schools are being left to search out their own CPD more and more, it is important we make the most of our own internal strengths. Some of these may be lying dormant as we speak!