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Learning and Teaching are two sides of the same coin

Samantha is a Secondary drama teacher and is currently in a long term role in East London. Samantha has set herself a CPD goal. Read her latest blog to find out what it is. 

Career professional development: Learning and Teaching are two sides of the same coin

Teaching drama and keeping up with my personal professional development for my career can actually involve watching the latest block buster, what a brilliant subject I teach. Now as much as this is perfectly true I also feel that it is natural to feel the pressure of improving teaching techniques as well as subject knowledge.

For example I teach a student in year nine who is deaf; he has an interpreter in my lesson and generally all works very well. However, I feel as though I want to be able to communicate with him directly and understand him better. He is a wonderful actor and loves devising drama pieces within the lesson. He is lucky to have an amazing interpreter who will stand up and be his voice and perform with him.

Due to having this wonderful young man in my lesson I would like to make a CPD goal that I can communicate with him more effectively and learn some basics of British sign language. This started me thinking on how and why we choose to develop our professionalisms. I was drawn to this one for a personal reason, something I passionately wanted to do in order to change myself and my teaching. I feel positive about looking into this professional development.  I have come to the conclusion is how CPD should be looked at.

CPD should be something we want to do, not feel that we have to do. I don’t want to sit in a classroom listening to how I can use numbers in a drama lesson or how to produce a better excel spread sheet; these things do not interest me. It is the same effort of relating to our students that we use daily, if we want to know we will. So I am now planning all CPD based around what desires I have in life and how I can link these to my teaching. For example I would like to develop movie editing skills to be able to edit short films that I have written the scripts for. This is something I can then pass on to my students and will also benefit me.

My other example is that I have recently been taking part in Shakespeare workshops and in a circular nature the workshops benefit my teaching of Shakespeare plays. The teaching in return then helps me to learn Shakespeare plays that I can then perform in the workshop sessions. I love Shakespeare and have a renewed passion for it since developing my skills in within this topic. This I am passing onto my students to the point where they want to stay into break times to continue watching Othello, Romeo and Juliet or King Lear of which they are each studying depending on their year group.
“Wise men ne’er sit and wail their loss, but cheerily seek how to redress their harms.” - Shakespeare

My CPD goal for myself is to enjoy my development and to enjoy what new skills I can seek and learn, much the way we encourage our students too. Of course there will be an IT course or a new teaching unit that I will have to endure and will probably benefit from, but the majority will be for me because this is exactly why I started teaching in the first place, I love my subject.

The next time I go to the cinema, watch a theatre show, write a script or film a friends monologue I will be thinking how can this help my teaching and vice versa. I find I learn through teaching, it helps me process the information so I have begun to film scenes of Othello with an acting group of mine. When my class then go to perform the same scene I will be able to explain how each words should be said, were they may stumble and hopefully be able to put myself in their shoes.

My Career professional development plan is to be selective and decisive on what I want to learn, and to enjoy learning it, as learning and teaching are two sides of the same coin.

“The difficulty lies not so much in developing new ideas as in escaping from old ones.” -John Maynard Keynes

Liked Samantha's blog? Click here to read more of her blogs.

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Tags: Samantha, Bromley, Secondary, CPD, learning, development, career, teaching

Category: Australian Teachers

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