Review of STEM CPL by Future Learn

School CPL can be a difficult to deliver. How do you run an event that encompasses the interests of up to 100 people, who have different views on how to improve. Well, you can’t! CPL should be a point where teachers are aware of how they need to improve and should go about independently doing so. So, this is exactly what I did.

Over the past 6 weeks, I have been engaging with a new form of teacher CPL. Assessment for Learning in STEM, via Future learn. The course was brought to my attention when reading a BBC news article on the Future learning achieving 1 million subscribers. So, I had a browse through and came across this online course. With an open mind and a want to improve in the classroom. I thought I would subscribe and participate in the program to see what I could take away and the answer is, a lot!

I am currently in my first qualified year of teaching and have spent the previous two years getting to grips with administration, responsibility, teaching as a concept, the list could go on, but I still feel as if there is loads still to learn. Yet, a shift from NQT to QT means that training and funding to support CPD drops off a cliff. Therefore when opportunities for free, easy to access CPL come along we should never let them pass us by. Yet, if I felt after 2 years that the opportunities to improve where few and far between, I wonder how someone who has been in the profession for 20 years feels? Funding, training and CPL must be a distant and disillusioned concept. So, why will this course support those who feel as if improvement is no longer accessible?

The course is free and encourages to teachers to analyse text, videos, make their own resources, critique the work of other teachers and generally become part of a discussion where your perspectives and opinions are valued. The module provides access to a CPL event that would have cost hundreds of pounds to send one person and also provide access to tutors who where in a geographically different part of the country. Has this module of education supported my development?

The six week duration provide ample amounts of time to think, reflect and improve on AFL in the class, something a 1 day training event does not. I developed my in depth questioning, practiced hinge questions (which I had never heard of) and began to understand what underpins a good hinge question. Seeing the opinions of others teachers reinforce the challenges and difficulties I had encountered reassured the direction I was taking. My practice in the classroom has changed noticeably, I am critically aware of how to use information provided by the students as well as how to remove any misconceptions or confusion they have quickly and efficiently. It is now easy to see who knows what and to what degree.

My request, make more of these and target teachers who feel disillusioned with CPL. These types of course have a lot to offer and definitely offer a new and much better platform continued improvements in the classroom. I have 1 week to go to finish the course and will definitely be signing up if there are more to follow.