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Ideas for teacher CPD during lockdown

Updated: Jan 20, 2021

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:

  • Spaced learning (Weinstein et al, 2018).

  • Questioning (McHugh, 2019).

  • Modelling (Riches, 2019).

  • Cognitive load (Shibli & West, 2018).

  • Interleaving (Firth, 2018).

  • Metacognition and self-regulated learning (Quigley, Muijis & Stringer, 2018).

  • The uses of online learning (EEF, 2019).

  • Parental engagement (EEF, 2020a).

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:

  • Motivated to learn: A conversation with Daniel Pink: If schools truly want to engage students, they need to downgrade control and compliance – and upgrade autonomy (Azzam, 2014).

  • When teachers believe, students achieve (Donohoo & Katz, 2017).

  • The Innovative Pedagogy Framework (IPF): What kind of teacher are you? The (IPF) was developed for the NP3 (New Purposes, New Practices, New Pedagogy) project by Patricia Murphy. It provides definitions of the key features of five different theoretical models of pedagogy. NP3 is a collaboration between the Open University, Lancaster University and Manchester Metropolitan University, and led by Peter Twining (@PeterT).

  • Robert Marzano’s Model for Teaching Effectiveness (@robertjmarzano). See Resilient Educator (2017) for a useful overview. See also Robert Marzano's research website.

  • Attachment: What teachers need to know: Attachment theory is cited as an important part of a teacher’s understanding of how to manage and understand behaviour in the classroom. This ResearchEd article by Nick Rose (2019) is a useful read.

  • Embedding formative assessment – an engaging presentation from Professor Dylan Wiliam at a SSAT and Education Endownment Foundation event in 2017 (@dylanwiliam).

  • Everyone is a teacher of SEN – a ResearchEd article from Karen Wespieser about a change in the way we understand SEN discussions (2019).

  • Watch this short YouTube video from Professor Dylan Wiliam on hinge questions in your teaching (2016).


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!

Further information

  • Azzam: Motivated to learn: A conversation with Daniel Pink, Educational Leadership (72), September 2014:

  • DeWitt: Collective Teacher Efficacy, YouTube video, January 2019:

  • Donohoo, Hattie & Eells: The Power of Collective Efficacy, Educational Leadership, March 2018:

  • Donohoo & Katz: When teachers believe, students achieve, The Learning Professional (38), December 2017:

  • EEF: Digital technology, Teaching and Learning Toolkit evidence summary, Education Endowment Foundation, last updated January 2019:

  • EEF: Parental engagement, Teaching and Learning Toolkit evidence summary, Education Endowment Foundation, last updated April 2020a:

  • EEF: Best evidence on supporting students to learn remotely, April 2020b:

  • Firth: The application of spacing and interleaving approaches in the classroom, Impact, February 2018:

  • Hattie: Visible Learning: A synthesis of over 800 meta-analyses on achievement, 2009 (updated in 2011 and 2017). For a useful overview of this research, see

  • Hattie: Visible Learning – MetaX data online:

  • Hattie: Visible Learning: Collective Teacher Efficacy:

  • Hattie: Collective Teacher Efficacy, YouTube video, August 2018:

  • Headteacher Update: Research review outlines five keys to effective remote learning, April 2020:

  • Innovative Pedagogy Framework (IPF):

  • Marzano:

  • McHugh: Effective classroom questioning strategies, SecEd, January 2019:

  • Quigley, Muijis, Stringer: Metacognition and Self-regulated Learning: Seven recommendations for teaching self-regulated learning & metacognition, Education Endowment Foundation guidance report, April 2018:

  • Resilient Educator: Overview of Robert Marzano’s Model of Teaching Effectiveness, December 2017:

  • Riches: Effective teacher modelling, SecEd, April 2019:

  • Rose: Attachment: What teachers need to know, ResearchEd, February 2019:

  • Shibli & West: Cognitive Load Theory and its application in the classroom, Impact, February 2018:

  • Weinstein, Madan & Sumeracki:Teaching the science of learning, Cognitive Research: Principles and Implications, January 2018:

  • Wespieser: Everyone is a teacher of SEN, ResearchEd, February 2019:

  • Wiliam: Embedding formative assessment, SSAT/EEF, YouTube video:

  • Wiliam: Dylan Wiliam Hinge Questions, YouTube video: February 2016:

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