FOBISIA CPD leaders' conference

Last weekend I attended the FOBISIA CPD leaders' conference in Penang, Malaysia. Added to the novelty of traveling to such exotic places for training conferences (in my previous life an annual trip to Manchester or Birmingham on the train for CPD resulted in sharp intakes of breath!) I picked up some useful things, which I record here for posterity.
The conference was held at the Prince of Wales Island International School (POWIIS) and kicked off with an address from the Principal. He made a few points which resonated with me:
  1. When looking through applications, a long list of CPD courses attended is never something that leaps out at him.
  2. CPD should focus on building teachers' strengths - to often it is used to try to address their weaknesses.
  3. The best sort of CPD centres around people and connections, not keynote speakers.
  4. Recruiting staff is like following a recipe - you look for the right ingredients, and sometimes can't find them. Nonetheless, the 'wrong' ingredients can sometimes interact in quite surprising and positive ways.
Jackie Houghton picked up the reins to put the weekend in context and to remind us of Dylan Wiliam's much quoted exhortation:
At this point we left POWIIS's impressive auditorium and embarked on a series of workshop style sessions led by Dr Coleen Jackson. A lot was covered over the course of the next two days. Coleen worked admirably to keep us all on board and thinking, but I found it hard to ward off cynicism sometimes:
Perhaps there wasn't time, but uncritical discussion of:
  1. SOLO taxonomy
  2. Lesson grading
  3. Learning styles
  4. Bloom's taxonomy
...didn't help dissipate my cynicism. It did, however, prompt me to rediscover some excellent rebuttals of these canards:
  1. Why I changed my mind about the SOLO taxonomy by David Didau
  2. The delusional voodoo of lesson grading has got to stop by Tom Sherrington
  3. Never Forget: Learning Styles are Complete... by Andrew Old
  4. Bloom's Taxonomy by Greg Ashman
I also came away reminded that Dylan Wiliam had said this:
And rubbing shoulders with other people in the same line of work, making contacts and comparing notes was, as always, extremely valuable. A weekend well spent.

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