How Relevant are Staff Training Days?

There are many ideas and opinions on what and how teachers of both primary and secondary schools should be trained before they teach in schools. Staff Training days are argued as being necessary for teachers to stay current and up to date with the changing curriculums so they are well enough informed to teaching students and help ensure they pass their exams. What doesn’t seem to be questioned though is what actually happens on these training days? And actually how suited are teachers to their roles?

 

When a teacher is qualified and goes to find work teaching in a primary or secondary school they are then qualified to teach all subjects. It is common for primary school students to have one teacher than covers all subjects in their daily lessons. This may well allow students to develop a good and comfortable relationship with their teacher when they are still at a relatively young age, but how is this affecting the quality of teaching in schools? There is certainly more flexibility in secondary schools, where subjects have specific teachers that have experience and a vested interest and in that particular subject.

 

It seems to be that many teachers in primary schools find themselves teaching students of a very young and influential age a subject that they themselves had great difficulty with when they were young and actually only have a basic understanding of, which they have improved upon vaguely on staff training days. Would it not be more effective for schools to find teachers that have at least an interest in the subjects that they are teaching to students? As it is people can argue that teachers may unintentionally be disillusioning students in their study of some subjects through their own lack of knowledge or interest in the subjects they teach.

 

As it stands there are five days allowed within a teachers contract for staff training days, yet in recent years teachers have been allowed to take extra inset days where they believed it was necessary. As of May 2012 this has been stopped in Wales with the maximum being five days and at least one day must be dedicated to focusing on literacy and numeracy work. Parents clearly want teachers to be as well trained and up to date with current curriculums as possible, however these inset days do cause problems with working parents who find it difficult to find time off work and it comes back to the question of how effective or relevant are these training days for teachers?

 

Even with staff training days that are intended to help teachers become familiar and comfortable with new topics and modules, how can we expect teachers to give a good lasting impression of a subject to children in primary schools if they themselves have no feeling or love of the subject and hated it themselves when they were taught it at school? It is an ongoing problem that is usually overlooked, because there does not seem to be an immediate solution. However, with this knowledge at hand should more people be questioning the system of education with regards to the qualities and experience that teachers need to have?

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