What was your best ever INSET day?

(44 Posts)
Twinkle186 Fri 28-Aug-15 10:51:15

I am helping to plan and organise our INSET days for the next few years and am desperately trying to come up with ways to make them useful and interesting rather than the dull waste of valuable time (full of INSET bingo) that staff often complain about. We’re planning to have several sessions focussed on sharing excellent practice within the school so that departments can learn from each other and collaborate – we did one of these towards the end of last year and it was really well received.

The best INSET I’ve had was a day run by Paul Ginnis (Teacher’s Toolkit author). He demonstrated loads of practical lesson ideas (rather than hours of theoretical stuff) and, although my department already used a lot of his ideas, it was really interesting to see different ways of using them and it got the whole school thinking more about encouraging independent and active learning.

So, can you inspire me by telling me about your best INSET day?

PoemeElectronique Fri 28-Aug-15 11:13:43

Two INSET days have always stuck in my memory. Both were in FE but would have worked in any sector.
The first was a CP refresher/instruction day run by the local police. It was especially good because it built upon what we knew already, I.e. not teaching us to suck eggs.
The second was when the college engaged a local theatre company to do a E&D day, using little playlets to promote discussion. It didn't just focus on issues involving pupils/students but also staff-to-staff attitudes. It completely changed the atmosphere amongst staff for the better. The theatre company did this at no cost due to their outreach funding.

BrendaandEddie Fri 28-Aug-15 11:16:32

Sadly, I can't think of a single one that has ever been good. The irony of inset days is that most of them would fail an OFSTED lesson inspection, as they are so boring!
the other thing that annoys me about them is the lack of differentiation- those of us who have been teaching for over 20 years do not need the same kind of training, generally, someone who is in the second year so often there at a waste of time for one group or the other

Twinkle186 Fri 28-Aug-15 11:49:10

Those sound interesting Poeme, thanks. I particularly agree with the idea of building on what you already know.

Brenda that's exactly why I've volunteered to do this. The two examples I gave in the OP are the only examples of useful INSET I've ever seen and they were both within the last year. The stupid thing is, there is so much going on in departments across the school that is fantastic and we never get a chance to share so that's something I want to be a priority - that and some department planning time to actually put some of these things into practice!

Anyone else got examples of practical and useful INSET (or am I dreaming and such a thing doesn't really exist?)

BlowOnMySackbutt Fri 28-Aug-15 12:26:28

Oh, please be careful of those 'sharing good practice' INSETS. They can be really divisive if not handled carefully.

Dancingqueen17 Fri 28-Aug-15 12:34:21

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Mendeleyev Fri 28-Aug-15 12:34:55

And you can't do them too often either as they all get a bit samey. If you have some money to spend, then Leah Lirkman is good. I enjoyed her inset and used quite a few ideas from that.

BrendaandEddie Fri 28-Aug-15 12:41:17

yes you end up HATING the person who shares.
OUrs recently just divvied it all up into departments - there is the notion that all INSET is in the Hall together, when in reality not many depts have the same needs

Twinkle186 Fri 28-Aug-15 12:48:01

Thanks all. The sharing one we did recently was divided up into sessions where each department presented 2-3 of their best ideas and staff had to sign up to visit one or two departments, so none of the individuals presenting how great they are their own ideas, just a group effort. The feedback from staff was really positive and lots of people emailed me afterwards to say it made a nice change and was really useful. I agree though, we don't want to do it too often.

I've had a couple of ideas for speakers and I'll definitely look up Jackie Cox and Leah Lirkman, thanks grin.

As I said, I'm just so sick of feeling like I'm wasting my time when we could be doing something useful! Time split up in departments is going to be high up my list of things to include.

Any more thoughts on what would make a useful day (even if you haven't experienced it)?

BrendaandEddie Fri 28-Aug-15 12:56:19

yes - a round robin of sharing probably better

you still hate the person though grin

Department time is WAY better

Scarydinosaurs Fri 28-Aug-15 13:06:40

Not inset, but in a staff meeting each department got given a board and displayed their best examples of AfL/homework setting/group work on there. Was really good.

MiaowTheCat Fri 28-Aug-15 13:23:13

They'd remembered to switch the school heating system on and not just left us freezing until the kids came back two days later.
They brought chocolate.

FithColumnist Fri 28-Aug-15 13:54:30

The time it got cancelled due to flooding and we all got to stay at home rather sticks in my mind as the Best INSET Ever.

Twinkle186 Fri 28-Aug-15 14:41:49

Fith I think you win! grin

IguanaTail Fri 28-Aug-15 16:31:39

I enjoyed the Paul Ginnis inset too.
Did he do the murder mystery and timeline one with you Twinkle

He's very expensive though.

RoosterCogburn Fri 28-Aug-15 16:52:46

Ros Wilson, writing course. She's a bit of a drama queen and the whole day was illustrated with over the top stories but the content was brilliant and she was easy to listen to.
Best of all, I came away with loads of new ideas that were actually doable and improved my teaching.

superram Fri 28-Aug-15 16:58:21

I am not sure there needs to be huge amounts of input. Decide on a focus directly related to school priority (one!!!). Short amount of input-send depts away to work on it. 10 mins at end to show what done (stops slackers doing whatever). Inset is pointless without time to actually do anything with the input.

BrendaandEddie Fri 28-Aug-15 16:59:34

i HATE insets where everyone is in the hall doing something and SLT either arent there or stand at the side chatting

Bin85 Fri 28-Aug-15 17:08:10

One on accelerated learning by outside speaker
Also those where we visited other schools ( primary) and looked round/ watched classes etc , great for new ideas on display , classroom organization etc

noblegiraffe Fri 28-Aug-15 17:18:47

Any that is spent in departments so that I can discuss maths and things relevant to maths instead of sitting in the hall bored to tears listening to stuff that doesn't apply to maths like writing frames or facilitating group discussion.

Twinkle186 Fri 28-Aug-15 18:26:06

Iguana yes he did, it was brilliant. I think I heard he died this year though, not long after he came to us. Very sad.

Thanks for all of the suggestions. Super I agree completely. It's one thing we've always said, what's the point of having speakers etc if we never get time to actually use what we see?

I don't know how successful my attempts will be to make our INSET days more productive but I really appreciate all of the suggestions, thanks! flowers

GasStreetBasinbymoon Fri 28-Aug-15 19:06:44

My best INSET day was the one where I broke my ankle on the way into work and was lucky enough to miss all of it.
Must have all been hugely relevant to me as no-one (not even SMT) took the time to explain what I'd missed.

EndoplasmicReticulum Fri 28-Aug-15 20:58:30

Our department got a whole day to ourselves once. We got loads and loads of useful stuff done.

EndoplasmicReticulum Fri 28-Aug-15 21:00:16

Oh and I enjoyed the one where the firemen came and taught us how to use fire extinguishers. We got to put fires out. (this may not be relevant if you are in a department which is less likely to go on fire).

WombatStewForTea Sat 29-Aug-15 00:04:00

Had one with an ed psych who was amazing. Captivating and made you look at things from a different perspectives.
Anything arranged/led by slt is usually dull as! But then half the outsiders we've had in make me want to kill myself within half an hour.
I'd be much more productive left to my own devices grin

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