CPDHomeT & L

Reflecting on the Teachmeet landscape & #SLTeachMeet

By May 25, 2013 11 Comments

Jim Roberson at #TMClevedon

As we approach another Teachmeet at #TMClevedon I’ve been reflecting about the Teachmeet landscape around the globe now and it is great to see how they’re developing more and more. Internal teachmeets which I first heard @jamieportman talk about a few years ago now are happening at lots of schools. Specialist TeachMeets happen such as TeachMeet English taking place in Leeds. Pedagoo events such as PedagooSunshine following the TeachMeet ethos but allowing further exploration of themes than a TeachMeet presentation does….


One specialist Teachmeet that I’ve been catching up on was the Ross Morrison McGill & Stephen Lockyer led #SLTeachMeet in London. Ross, spearheading the #TMLondon series of TeachMeets this past year working in rotation around the orbital and now with the spectacularly line up SLT TeachMeet organised this TeachMeet. Leading on from the now popular #SLTChat that takes place every Sunday night, this was another ‘sell out’ event with a great lineup of speakers. I wish I could have been there. Following the Twitter feed and then subsequently the recordings made me reflect upon a few things.

The presentations from @headguruteacher Tom Sherrington and @Heale2011 James Heale held similar themes. Tom talked about facilitating systems which enabled accountability for teams but allowed for those teams to develop under their own design, facilitated by the systems that SLT had created. Rather than stifling teams with procedure, move teams from ‘Out of the plantation, in to the rainforest’. Clearly working with systems in this way will facilitate teams to grow from ‘Good’ to ‘Outstanding‘. This was further echoed by James Heale who talked about what he has learnt in his first year as a Headteacher. Brave indeed! One quote from his talk which has been resonating with me for some time having read it a few times is to “tighten up to become good; loosen up to become outstanding” which is so very true. Empowering teachers and middle leaders with the support of a great leadership team and structures / frameworks that encourage managed risk taking and development is certainly indicative of the environment in which I work at the moment and would be the way I would want to work with as an SLT member.

In the meantime, here’s a meme I’ve created to help me remember!


Tighten up!


Back to the original part of this post though, reflecting upon where Teachmeets are at the moment…

Not in my nearly twenty years of teaching has there been a better time to support and develop teachers in the classroom. The best thing about all of it is that it’s free. Run by teachers, for teachers, for children. It couldn’t be better. Or could it?!


  • Great post/reflection. Love the poster.

  • Helen Rogerson says:

    I wonder if what is missing from the teachmeet model is the follow up? Are any of the things we share being used by others? What is the impact?

    I like the pedagoo model as combines blogging with face-to-face cpd, giving the potential for follow-up. However, how do we know that any of the things we share or do has a positive effect on the students we teach?

    • Hi Helen, thanks for responding. I am not sure I tend to agree with you. Sure, the pedagoo members do collate some blogging feedback – but that doesn’t happen for every workshop within the event. As a pedagoo member myself I wholeheartedly endorse the ethos behind the pedagoo events. What they do though is give attendees the opportunity to further drill down in to topics by being able to spend longer with the speakers and having the ability to ask questions and spend time with them. You do ask interesting questions though although what you’re wanting to do is measure the impact. For my mind, I guess, the impact is measured by what you see, hear and feel either through later conversations, comments on blogs, things you see in schools later on. Let me flip the question back to you – what things that you’ve seen at TMClevedon or any of your ASE meetings has had a positive effect on the students you teach? Maybe there’s a need to have a space to record these things, but…. who would use it? Who would fill it in? You have given me an idea though!!!

      • Helen Rogerson says:

        I can’t actually say that I have changed my practice much as a result of a teachmeet. Yet, I am still keen to attend, so there must be something to them!

        I have used the ‘thoughts and crosses’ idea from Dave Gale, But not well, i dont have the imagination To think of nine questions of whihc students would only do three. Indirectly I have altered the way that I write learning outcomes, but this is because of something a friend is doing as a result of something Lucie Golton shared at a science teachers teachmeet. That is two things from all the presentations I have seen.

        The biggest impact on my practice has been as a result of cpd that has been followed up, questions asked of my, decisions made, impact considered. My reaction to your question was of me thinking back to the research I have been exposed to around cpd. A lot of courses done have no impact in the classroom and only a few have impact beyond a few weeks, even fewer a longer impact on a wider audience than those at the course.

        However, having had discussions with others about the teachmeet model I find myself agreeing to the suggestions that teachmeets are not about measuring impact etc or even putting everything into practice, they are about the positive atmosphere and being engaged by people who are finding new ways of doing things. Giving the audience the opportunity to reflect on what they do and also share experiences with other attendees. The positive aspect of the teachmeet is the non-compulsory part. Your school’s slt don’t badger you about what happens afterwards because it was your own business to go in the first place.

        The aspect of teachmeets being about personal continuing development is a massive positive. I think that it can (and does) empower people to take their development into their own hands, which can only be a good thing.

  • Rebecca says:

    Great post Mark,

    I was at the SLTteachmeet and really enjoyed the speakers, the focus and commitment from headteachers, both long term and new was a real inspiration!

    I don’t think we need to worry about follow-up, or what may be missing, I think one of the great things about the teachmeet landscape is that you can follow it up in your own way if you wish.. Individuals can easily stay in contact if that is what they want to do.

  • Andy Colley says:

    Nice post Mark. For me, Teachmeets are an extension of the positivity and challenge I find on Twitter. If I’m going to present or share, it has to be damn good as I have too much respect for the audience to let it be otherwise. It makes me up my game.

    Getting together as a group also helps people realise the good that they do in their own classrooms. We’re often our own harshest critics, hey, focusing on the areas that need improving is what teachers do. It can be a real morale boost to realise that the things you do that you take for granted are valued & valuable.

    I agree with the points above about the effect not always being tangible. If someone makes an active decision to attend, then they are making conscious choices about wanting to improve. It doesn’t matter if they use an idea from any particular Teachmeet, surely it’s the first step on a path that will lead to better teaching & learning. Long may it continue.


    • I love that bit in the last paragraph re: making a conscious decision. It’s reflective of the participants mindset. Love it.

      I do worry still though. There was an Isle of Wight Teachmeet this week. I was impressed by two things: the fantastic lineup of speakers on the Teachmeet wiki and the brilliant sponsorship they’d received – an iPad mini among other great opportunities from some great edu-companies. Then I found out they presented… I know that names were picked at random, but for me that goes completely against the ethos of Teachmeet. Yes. Have a presence. Yes. Support and offer discussions if a teacher comes up to you in the break. Present your product and stop a teacher presenting. No. I really felt for some of the disappointed presenters who didn’t get to present while the sponsors did.

      I wonder what others think?


  • […] virtues of attending TeachMeets. I’ve certainly been guilty of writing a few such as this one or this one. Teachers often talk about how TeachMeets and Twitter are the best CPD you could ever have and to a […]

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