Pedagoo Crieff

Written by Dollar Academy teachers Vicky Mason and Dean Campbell, who recently attended Pedagoo Crieff.

Why on earth would you choose to get up at the crack of dawn on a cold Saturday morning, travel across country (and sometimes get lost) only to listen to other teachers talk about teaching? This is what a trip to Pedagoo Crieff entailed and it certainly proved to be a worthwhile outing.

Pedagoo defines itself as, ‘a growing community of teachers collaboratively supporting, encouraging and sharing innovative and effective approaches to teaching and learning. We aim to improve outcomes for our young people through positively and professionally sharing our practice.’

During the day at Crieff there was the opportunity to attend 4 different conversations with the emphasis very much on joining the conversations as an active participant rather than simply a passive observer. This was interspersed with a teach-meet and a chance to meet and chat over lunch, which is also a great way to put faces to Twitter handles.

Keri Reid and Emma Hepburn from Muthill Primary School worked together to develop pupils’ reading skills having been concerned that pupils’ perception of themselves as readers was often different from their skill set. The idea they termed ‘posh paired reading’, allowed pupils from primary 1 to primary 4 to work together to develop skills while giving some choice over the material to read. They have found that it has helped to encourage P1 to see themselves as readers, develop reading fluency in P2 and create a novel platform for P3/4 to practice their skills and knowledge of coaching and reciprocal teaching. Teachers commented that they enjoyed the time that they set aside to think about their practice, and to read and direct their own professional development.

With an interest in the current issues facing women aspiring to be leaders in education today, it was fascinating to attend two conversations about the WomenEd movement in Scotland. We discussed the many issues surrounding support for women in education and also what we felt was needed in Scotland at the moment to enable more women to take the step into leadership roles. The atmosphere in the room was always honest and open and although there were some difficult statistics to face up to, it was clear that there are a number of people, both women and men, engaging with the issues and actively involved in the attempt to create a more diverse environment in educational leadership.

A discussion about teacher professionalism and engaging with our professional learning cycle ended the day’s sessions. A number of fascinating points were raised by Charlaine Simpson from the GTCS and we pulled apart our personal definitions of professionalism and how we measure the impact of our professional learning on both us as teachers and those learners in our classrooms.

Last, and by no means least, David Cameron gave a tour de force of education issues which brought a lot of nodding, but even more laughter from the audience. One of his key messages was that teachers who attend Saturday meetings show just how dedicated a profession we have in Scotland, and that events like Pedagoo are a welcome addition to the calendar.

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