Andreas Schleicher, Director for Education and Skills at the OECD recently wrote “As important as it is for teachers to remain connected with their students, the crisis will amplify the need for teachers to remain connected among themselves”. Reading groups can provide an opportunity to do so. They allow teachers to stay connected to their colleagues while they either work from home or in school but with only few other colleagues around. They allow you to explore a topic of mutual interest together, reflect on the underlying research and discuss how you could use it in your own teaching, whether it is on or offline. Reading groups can be a great way to stay in touch with your colleagues and to support each other in your professional development.
Research shows that effective teacher CPD tends to be sustained over a longer period of time (at least two terms), with regular meetings (fortnightly to monthly) and consist of sessions that are tailored to teachers’ needs, involve peer learning and explicitly discuss the translation of research to the classroom, allowing teachers time to implement what they have learned and come back to discuss it with colleagues (Cordingley et al., 2015).
Reading groups meet many of these criteria of effective CPD. Journal clubs are a specific approach to reading groups that focus on reading journal articles, and we are currently developing and piloting approaches around these.
Below we have created some thematic collections of open-access Impact articles that you could use for your group and compiled some general tips on how to set up reading groups as well as specific suggestions for online meetings. If you do not have a reading group yet, the general guide is a good starting point as it describes some steps involved in starting a new group (e.g. deciding who to invite and what theme to cover). If you already have a reading group that you would like to move online, the guidance for online reading groups contains some practical tips around programmes you could use, facilitation of online discussions and some handy tech tips.