I am now entering the third year of my Masters in Education through Wales MEP and feel it is worth reflecting on why i'm glad i'm still studying on it.
Having started the MEP at the same time as my NQT year there was a clear split between colleagues who had completed their PGCE and their motivation towards further study. Approximately half were keen to embrace the challenge and the rest were keen to stop studying and simply focus upon their role as a teacher. I would argue that after studying for two years there is no good reason for not embracing the masters if you are able to. That said after my first year in teaching I wrote a post on the lessons learnt in my first year of teaching reflecting that, "the MEP is hard work (really hard)" and it is, there is no getting away from it. It really has been important to prioritise the time spent working on the Masters completing assignments and learning activities. However as stated then the professional development gained from it is good and that brings me on to the first reason why i'm glad i'm still studying.
High Quality CPD
In regular discussions with educational colleagues through professional networks such as #primaryrocks and ATL (other educational chats and unions are available) a lack of high quality CPD is often mentioned. Throughout the Masters I have completed assignments and therefore studied, researched, discussed and evaluated data in schools, barriers to learning, poverty, behaviour, SEN (special educational needs) and the LNF (literacy and numeracy framework. A breadth of issues across education that has led to a greater understanding of my role and a definite improvement in my confidence in approaching these issues within my classroom and the wider school environment.
The MEP has also led to greater opportunity to collaborate with educational professionals across all four key stages. Students on the masters have a greater understanding of where learners are coming from and where they are going as they transition along the path of lifelong learning. Working with a wide range of education professionals has allowed me as an individual to both share ideas and discuss experiences from working in education and therefore learn from others experiences bringing new ideas into my classroom and helping others bring ideas into theirs. The staff in my school have always been keen to read the assignments I have written and share the experience I have gained through the MEP.
The MEP is built around the idea of reflective practice and although I have always argued that reflective practice is an ongoing process that takes place in the mind actually having the time and being required to complete reflective practice through writing it down has led to reflection at a much greater level. One way I have continued my reflective practice is through writing a blog and I find this both a good way of keeping track of achievements and learning points from my educational career both reflecting in action and on action a skill learnt through completing the MEP.
Ultimately the MEP has involved gaining a greater understanding of pedagogical theory through reflecting upon my own classroom practice and bringing about interventions that have had a significant impact on raising standards within my class and the wider school environment. I am very happy that I chose to study for my masters and am looking forward to the new challenges that await as I complete the course this year.