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How do we get music teachers the CPD that they want?

What CPD do music teachers want? - Teacher and Musician

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about CPD for music teachers recently.  Planning for Musical Futures, Great Oaks Education and my own courses has pretty much made this a necessity.  The really tricky thing is to create training that passes the ‘SLT test’ and is also genuinely useful for music teachers.

What sort of CPD do music teachers want?

So, what do music teachers want from CPD?  As I mentioned in Monday’s blog post, there’s clearly a demand for music-specific CPD rather than a generic training event for all teachers in a school.  Liz Gleed was quick to affirm this point:

I particularly like that Liz’s CPD event is “facilitated” by the hub.  It turns out that the hub paid for the area’s music teachers to have time to develop curriculum ideas.  They also supported the events and attended them, which (presumably) gave a legitimacy to the events hosted at Liz’s school.

What does ‘music-specific’ CPD look like?

Perhaps an important question to start with is “what does music-specific CPD actually look (and sound) like?  Is it:

  • formal, lecture style training events delivered by experienced music teachers?
  • musical in nature?  (i.e. completing musical activities together ready for use in the classroom)
  • a networking event for music teachers?
  • a combination of the above?

Without a shadow of a doubt, the best that I’ve attended was a combination of the second and third points above.  Making music with other music teachers would give me useful activities that I could use in my classroom.  The opportunity to then discuss this with other music teachers (including the course leader) would allow me to find a framework in which to place the activities and get to the nitty-gritty of why they work.  It’s all very well and good to learn about something like classroom workshopping but treating it as a six week scheme of work is a wasted opportunity.

The need for music teachers to network

Martin Fautley made a compelling case for the need to network:

How are music teachers supposed to expose themselves to new ideas if they only have one or two people to discuss music education with?  It’s not unusual to hear of music teachers making use of social media to compensate for this but that can only really take care of the third point (networking events).  Online video can help but it’s hardly a replacement for participating in musical activities.  Katie Lawrence made this point well and highlighted that geography can make this even more problematic:  

If music teachers in London are struggling to network, then how on earth is someone on the Isle of Man supposed to do so?

Part of the answer

We’re certainly not going to be able to get a definitive answer in a 500 word blog post but I would venture that the sort of CPD that music teachers want includes all of the bullet points above.  Getting it to them is, however, another matter entirely.  Short of adopting VR technology for music CPD (in all honesty, I wouldn’t be surprised if we saw the Oculus Rift appear in a future CPD offering), there really isn’t anything that comes close to an event with fellow music educators.

On that note, I have to come back to the question that I asked on Monday:

So, I have a question for the head teachers and CPD leaders out there: How do we get music teachers out of school?