Master Teachers in Computing: what have we achieved?

Smith, Neil; Allsop, Yasemin; Caldwell, Helen; Hill, David; Dimitriadi, Yota and Csizmadia, Andrew Paul (2015). Master Teachers in Computing: what have we achieved? In: Proceedings of the 10th Workshop in Primary and Secondary Computing Education (Gal-Ezer, Judith; Sentence, Sue and Vahrenhold, Jan eds.), ACM, pp. 21–24.




Recent changes to the teaching of Computing in all schools in England have been profound and wide-ranging, changing the subject from one focussed on the use of ICT products to one focussed on the understanding and creation of computing systems. This change in the curriculum has created a strong demand for professional development of in-service teachers, to develop their skills and expertise to deliver this new curriculum.

One approach to developing in-service teachers to deliver the new computing curriculum has been through the Computing At School Master Teacher programme, appointing and training experienced in-service teachers to deliver continual professional development (CPD) peer-to-peer. However, many potential Master Teachers require additional training before they can take up this role.

In this paper, we describe how we have trained two cohorts of Master Teachers in two successive years. Evaluation of the first cohort informed revisions to the second cohort's training. The diverse needs of the individual trainees, identified through semi-structured interviews and analysis of completed tasks, led to a variety of CPD being delivered, but almost all required training and practice with programming.

Before and during the programme, the trainers shared resources and had online meetings to discuss their work.This was useful in terms of establishing and maintaining consistency between different providers. The use of many teaching strategies that provided collaborative working and discussion opportunities were highly rated by the trainees.

The first cohort of teachers has already delivered a significant amount of CPD in their first year after training. The second cohort are well placed to start their CPD delivery, with a better appreciation of where they need to develop their own skills.

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