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Using Kennedy’s persistent challenges as a starting point for professional development design

Written by: Esther Gray
3 min read
Esther Gray, Vice Principal, The Ferrers School, UK Kennedy’s seminal paper ‘Parsing the practice of teaching’ (2015) tells us that teaching can be categorised into five persistent challenges that nearly all teachers face, regardless of their career stage. The categories include portraying the curriculum, enlisting student participation, exposing student thinking, containing student behaviour and doing all of this while accommodating personal need. She says that by focusing on challenges, rather than solutions, teachers are more likely to think about how their actions address a larger purpose, rather than focusing on how to mimic a set of actions. At The Ferrers School, we have started a new approach to professional development (PD) using the notion of Kennedy’s persistent challenges to maximise the time used for PD. Rather than prescribing whole-school, generic interventions to improve teaching and learning, we have given subject leaders and their teams time to explore the

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