When I did my teacher training (GTP) nearly ten years ago now, I was surprised at how little we learnt about learning, or about children. Sure, we were thoroughly primed on devising sequences of lessons, on managing behaviour, and on providing effective and efficient feedback - I went off to my NQT year very well prepared to do teaching. But we never went beneath the surface of the techniques we were taught to understand why we were doing what we were doing, or why it worked for some children but not for others. And we certainly weren't taught to understand, interpret or manage our own responses and reactions.
Even though teachers who took the PGCE or BEd route felt the exact opposite (that they had too little practical input and too much theory) they still felt unskilled in understanding for themselves how children develop and experience the world, or in understanding their own responses to children and colleagues.
Training for my MA in Counselling Psychology gave many of the insights I'd been lacking when I was teaching full time. Insights into how and why we feel what we do, into why children think and feel the way they do, and into how children and adults interact.
When I went back into the classroom this helped me to understand both the children I taught and, just as importantly, myself. Since then, Rachel and I have set up Teaching with Heart so that we can help staff to experience something similar, mainly through private one-to-one sessions which focus on the individual's particular situation.
But as our work has progressed, we've noticed that certain common threads are emerging, which is why we are now offering inset training which addresses some of the gaps we've noticed in teacher training - gaps which we believe all staff could benefit from filling.
These are specifically focused around understanding children (from a developmental and psychologically-informed perspective), understanding ourselves (in psychological and physiological terms), and understanding the ways that relationships develop, grow and deteriorate.
At the moment we are offering three half-day insets:
Understanding the child's emotional world, and how this impacts on learning
Using current psychological theory to understand and support the children we teach
Looking after ourselves so that we can look after others
We're very excited to be offering these new training sessions, which can be tailored to each school's needs. We are also developing further training looking at basic counselling skills for teachers to use (and for teachers to teach children to use).
Click on the links above to find out more, or get in touch with us if you want to know more.