Can’t think what I’ve been doing since this session happened at the ELTC, to create such a delay to publishing a write-up of it! Anyone would think I’ve been a tad busy…!
On the 24th October this year (apparently – just as well I write the date at the top of the notes when I make them!) I attended this session and learnt all about “the PDS team”. It has nothing to do with animals! In this context, “PDS” stands for Peer Development Scheme. This scheme was born at the ELTC about 2.5 years ago. What makes it special is that it is not management-led or “formalised” in any way – it is recorded anonymously and your line manager only knows if you tell them about it. It currently consists of three members of teaching staff, with between them a wealth of experience, who are there to offer support in any way needed to any of the teaching team.
What kind of support can they offer us?
- They can help us find out more about courses, for example if we start teaching on a programme we have no previous experience of.
- They can help us find materials suitable for a particular purpose.
- They are happy to have a look and discuss SRDS lesson plans
- They can help with proposals for M.A.s or PhD’s.
- They can pop in and observe a lesson with a class you are worried about for whatever reason
- If you get nervous about observation, they can wander in and out for brief periods, ad hoc, to help you get used to it
- They can teach your class for a lesson so that you can observe another class (or even that same class to see how your students respond to another teacher!)
- They can team teach with you
- They can talk through a lesson idea that you’ve had
- They can help you to get the help you need, if you need help but you aren’t sure who to ask
- If you want to use the approach to CPD that I talked about at IATEFL, using the British Council CPD framework or a relevant equivalent (e.g. BAALEAP), they would be an invaluable extra source of input and discussion throughout the process. (Ok, they didn’t say this one, but it is true nevertheless!)
As mentioned previously, it’s very informal. You can grab them in passing or email them and organise a meeting if you prefer that. It can be a one-off ten minute chat or a series of regular chats. At the ELTC, we are allocated three hours per week as professional development time, known as “Scholarship” (university-wide term) and making use of the PDS scheme counts towards that scholarship.
Along with scholarship circles, this is another example of the “bottom-up” type of teacher development that, if the sessions about teacher development that I attended at IATEFL are anything to go by, is becoming increasingly popular in ELT.
For anyone teaching at the ELTC, maybe it can be one of your New Year’s Resolutions to make use of this brilliant initiative as part of your CPD! 🙂