I’m currently working on a presentation that I am giving at my school whole staff meeting on Monday afternoon but I have been keeping an eye on the twitter feed #FEILTE – which is the festival of education in Learning and Teaching Excellence – hosted by the Irish Teaching council. They have had their education minister addressing the event and the Irish rugby coach amongst many other dignitaries. They have their own app and the whole event is being livestreamed. There has been a lot of investment in this – an attempt to make a teaching and learning conference that is as professional as possible.
Having been involved in organizing a similar event in my own school a few months ago – I am feeling jealous. I am very jealous of the obvious drive, support and money that seems to have been spent on the #FEILTE event. It looks great. There seems to be a real buzz.
I loved the #EduFestNI event that we were able to put on this year but it is just a drop in the bucket.
There is little or no appropriate investment in CPD/ Teacher Professional Learning in Northern Ireland. A nice shiny document called ‘Learning Leaders’ came out in March 2016. But as yet there is no impact in schools. In fact, the action plan for year one is focusing on some key areas of how to support high quality teaching but when you look at WHO is involved as the lead partner in the first instance . . . . guess what no-one is actually talking to teachers or even the people who often lead the professional development within individual schools. The lead partners are the GTCNI, DE, ETI and the EA – but when are you going to actually talk to the teachers? What mechanism is there in place for this?
And what exactly is the GTCNI doing? Their website has not changed in any substantive way in over 2 years. They collect our money and what exactly is it doing with it? How is the GTCNI supporting and developing teachers? I welcome any development in the support of teachers but it seems that instead of putting a proper strategy together and proper support – including personnel and finances – it is still hard to see HOW this is going to move forward.
Come on GTCNI. Come on Department of Education – take a lead here and start INVESTING in your workforce and inspire the teachers of Northern Ireland so that they can be making a BIG difference in every classroom across our province.