Are you getting the most out of staff training sessions?
We want to make sure that when you organise staff training, it goes as well as possible. So here are 7 tips to make INSET days a success. These are tips that will work for your school, college or organisation whoever the trainer is – you, a colleague, a Pivotal trainer or another external trainer.
It is no exaggeration to say that if you follow the steps in this email, it will significantly improve the experience for the staff and the impact of the training. Having run and observed in countless training sessions in all sorts of settings during our 12 years as a training company and countless cumulative years as teachers, we know what works – and what doesn’t. Here are 7 important steps you can take to prepare for your next INSET day.
1. Get the space right. If the environment is uncomfortable – too hot, too cold, too crowded, too dark – it puts staff in a poor state of mind to engage in training. Make sure the room is light, a comfortable temperature and that everyone has enough space to move. Cabaret style seating with tables well spaced often works best.
2. Feed them. A few biscuits go a long way! Some sweets, chocolates or cakes on the tables are worth much more than they cost. Staff will feel as if you have gone the extra mile and given them more than they expected.
3. Keep them moving. Check that whoever is providing the training is planning to use a variety of training activities. Long gone are the dayswhen staff should have to sit through 125 powerpoint slides and stare at handouts of the same slides. Keep them engaged, maintain pace and get them moving around the room. Give them lunch, a good training day carries the discussion throught coffee and lunch breaks. If delegates are split up and sent to fend for themselves the conversations are broken up and the focus of the day disrupted.
4. Make time for individuals. Put on some drinks after the session so that staff can speak to the trainer informally after the session. A good trainer will never run off and should always maketime to talk to delegates individually
5. Maintain focus. Refuse to allow other staff to hijack the session ‘just for a few notices’. A good trainer will have planned to use every moment of the day. This is not the right moment to start announcing a round of observations/christmas parties (or on one famous occasion redundancies!)
6. Beware of off-the-shelf packages. Training should be tailored to your objectives, your staff and your setting. External trainers should ask lots of questions about where you are as a school and what your priorities are. Examples and activities need to be specific and relevant to your staff. Staff will sniff out an off-the-shelf package straight away – don’t give them a reason to think that the training is not targeted at them or relevant for their role. (All Pivotal training will be tailored to your needs and your staff. Even our DIY training pack is customisable for your staff.)
7. Make sure senior staff are present. Managers and senior staff should be present in training sessions. You have to demonstrate that the training is important and that everyone is on board. Absence of key figures will undermine the message and jeopardise the success of the training.
Remember outstanding training must model outstanding teaching. Plan it like you would plan an outstanding lesson.