Ideas for teacher CPD during lockdown

Written by: Fiona Aubrey-Smith | Published:
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Teachers might also find MESHGuides useful available at - MESHguides are ...

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One consequence of the Covid-19 closures for many teachers has been a reduction or at least a side-lining of their CPD. Fiona Aubrey-Smith urges schools and teachers not to neglect their CPD and instead to take their professional learning online...

This article shares ideas and activities that you might like to use to help maintain your CPD and professional learning during the coronavirus lockdown. Why not think about some of the research, evidence and theories listed below over the coming weeks. You could tackle this alone, work with a colleague or indeed remotely as a team…

Visible Learning

Professor John Hattie's Visible Learning is a study of "what works best" in teaching and learning. All the influences and interventions on learning outcomes that you can think of have been ranked using meta-analyses of research so that you can see exactly what impact the varying strategies might have on your learners.

If you are already familiar with Visible Learning, make sure you keep up-to-date with the latest published material – it is regularly updated and expanded upon and the headlines change. Being aware of these rankings enables us to make evidence-based decisions about how to teach in our own contexts.

Professional reflections

  • Have a look at the latest Hattie rankings (2017) – what surprises you?
  • Dig into the detail behind each influence by using Visible Learning MetaX data online:
  • Review the Visible Learning rankings, focusing on the top 10 influences. Of those that you are already using, how might you improve or expand your practice? Of those that you are not using, what might you be able to introduce and how?
  • Review the Visible Learning rankings, focusing on the bottom 10 influences. Do you rely on any of these approaches? Is this justified in your context? What can you change and how can you change it?

In the current landscape you might also like to think about the teaching and learning interventions on the Hattie rankings that are applicable to remote education and consider how these match your current practice. For example, you might study the evidence on:

Remote learning and the EEF

Most recently, the Education Endownment Foundation, published a review of the evidence on remote learning and identified five key aspects that make remote learning effective (EEF, 2020b; see also Headteacher Update, 2020). It found:

  • Teaching quality is more important than how lessons are delivered.
  • Ensuring access to technology is key, particularly for disadvantaged pupils.
  • Peer interactions can provide motivation and improve learning outcomes.
  • Supporting pupils to work independently can improve learning outcomes.
  • Different approaches to remote learning suit different types of content and pupils.

Why new review this research with colleagues and look at what you are already doing well when it comes to remote learning and what areas you might be able to improve based on this evidence and in your context?

Collective Teacher Efficacy

This is where, as a team, we all deeply and genuinely believe in each other and consequently work together with greater precision and effectiveness. Professor John Hattie argues that Collective Teacher Efficacy ( is the single most significant influence on children’s learning outcomes. By acknowledging this we become more attuned to ways that we can support each other and work together more purposefully.

Professional reflections

  • Try watching the YouTube video from Dr Peter DeWitt on Collective Teacher Efficacy (2019).
  • Try reading The Power of Collective Efficacy (Donohoo, Hattie & Eells, 2018). You could also follow on Twitter @Jenni_Donohoo and @PeterMDeWitt.
  • Then think about and discuss: What single action can each of us take to increase our collective teacher efficacy?
  • In the current landscape you might like to think about how teaching and leadership staff can support each other more effectively when working either remotely or at a social distance. What behaviour shifts does this force us to address in how we work together? Which of these changes, once we are used to them, have led to new positives and new possibilities?

Further ideas to consider

Other ideas to consider or papers to use as inspiration for your CPD reading and discussions with colleagues include:


Why not use the ideas above below) to run a remote CPD workshop? You might pick one of these topics to review each day or week. Try writing just a short summary along with key points or professional reflections to consider and circulate to your colleagues. Perhaps you could encourage them to do the same – and by the time you are all back at school again, what a collective resource you will have made!

  • Fiona Aubrey-Smith is a former school leader and now Doctoral researcher and consultant. She sits on several educational charity boards and facilitates a number of national networks. Read her previous articles for Headteacher Update at

Further information

This material is protected by MA Education Limited copyright.
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Teachers might also find MESHGuides useful available at - MESHguides are summaries of research for teachers written with the intention of keeping them up to date in order to support evidence-informed practice. The reason I would recommend MESHGuides is that they are written by volunteers, so there is no commercial gain from them and the resources are freely available for use anywhere in the world. In fact there is an international dimension to many of the MESHGuides and they bring together practice from different countries which helps to expand teachers perspectives on education in other parts of the world, particularly in circumstances such as those we are facing during the current Covid-19 outbreak and pandemic. I would be happy to talk through this voluntary resource, which I am pleased to include in my professional profile. We also encourage teachers to work with us to create MESHGuides for specific areas of interest that could be of value to a wider audience. Steve Hall
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