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Teacher training day with a difference 20 May 2008

AS pupils break up for the TT half-term next week, the Island’s secondary teachers will be gathering for a training day with a difference.

More than 400 teachers will gather in subject groups at three schools and enjoy input from 18 trainers/presenters visiting the Island from the UK.

They include a former Teacher of the Year award winner, a member of the Royal Shakespeare Company outreach team, the North West regional director of the Personal Finance Education Group, the head of national services at the National Autism Society, an English lecturer from Hull University, a number of advanced skills teachers and many other presenters well-known at UK national level.

English teachers will attend a workshop on the Language of Shakespeare, based on four plays they have selected. History teachers have a workshop on Learning to Learn in History from one of the most gifted and entertaining presenters at the Annual School History Project Conference. Maths teachers have requested advanced training in a leading graph-drawing package to help pupils understanding graphic equations.

RE teachers will have training by Will Ord, one of the leading figures in the area of RE and Philosophy for Children. Modern language teachers will have a workshop led by Paul Keogh MBE, a teacher in a large comprehensive school in Yorkshire who is a previous winner of the UK Teacher of the Year Award.

The outcome should be more motivated teachers leading more motivating learning, said Co-ordinating Adviser for 11-19 Education Paul Craine.

He explained:

'Most training for teachers is school-based and generic across subjects. It may be about areas such as classroom management, assessment or pupil tracking. When there is subject-based INSET, it is usually because there are examination changes and only a few representatives from each school attend.
'29 May will be different. Each subject will have training from a subject specialist and every teacher of that subject will be present. It is vital that subject teachers keep up to date in developments in their subject but the event on 29 May has a deeper thread running through it. In April 2006, the Department launched its “Freedom to Flourish: A Curriculum for Learning and Achievement” curriculum policy. In July 2007 we held a showcase at the Villa Marina to show how this curriculum had impacted on schools, encouraging them to deliver an inspiring and motivational curriculum. Next week, presenters in each subject will be seeking to inspire teachers and help them explore ways to inspire learning at the classroom and pupil level. It promises to be a really great day.

Mr Craine said:

'The day will also provide an opportunity for networking. There are never enough opportunities for teachers from all five secondary schools to meet together in subject groups. Subject leaders meet regularly but when language teachers from Ramsey Grammar School meet with their counterparts at Castle Rushen they inevitably have a lot to talk about. We have subject conference sites on the Department’s intranet but face-to-face contact always triggers informal conversations that lead to exchanges of resources and ideas.

He added:

'The off-Island presenters have all taken great interest in the education system in the Isle of Man. Some of them have been before but others have been surprised to discover the many differences between the Isle of Man and England. The absence of compulsory SATs in the Isle of Man has been a focus of conversation and the freedom given to schools to make the curriculum motivational has been widely welcomed.'

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