The Grey Area Challenge for Teachmeet or is it just for G&Ts?

Many of you reading this post will perhaps not even be aware what a Teachmeet is. I have been telling everyone I can about them however, there are still lots out there who have not heard of them yet.

So to start this post here it is….

I hope that animation gives you some idea of what a Teachmeet is, what happens, who takes part. When and where are perhaps the only two other questions to answer. These can take place anywhere and any time. They most often take place in the evenings in college’s, community halls, classrooms or anywhere that can host a gathering of teachers.

My first experience of TeachMeet came in the depths of winter last year. I received a tweet from a new twitter follower asking if I would go over the Forth Road Bridge to Fife to speak to a TeachMeet on enterprise in education. It gave a location (Carnegie College) and a time but not very much more detail. This was the first time I had heard of this phenomenon which is now sweeping the British education community. Mad as I am I tweeted back and agreed to meet my twitterati follower at the location and time stated. I must have been mad!!! I had not met this person before, not heard of the phenomenon and it was a dark, gloomy night (as a historian you only have to think of what happened to Alexander III when he left Edinburgh for Fife on a similar night in March 1286!)

Far from being robbed, kidnapped, killed or falling of a cliff; I arrived in Fife along with some eighty other teachers who crammed into a drama studio at the college. IT support was in place to broadcast all the presentations out to the world and wine was on hand for the hardy presenters who would present either 6-7 minute long presentations or 2 minute micro presentations.

The format seemed ideal. Short blasts of excellent teaching and learning practice with the opportunity to follow up the ones you like on twitter or web based hosting tools. How often have we sat for two hours at a CPD event and not followed up anything. The sheep dip model of CPD has this effect. The same could be said for TeachMeet however the short bursts and variety means there should be something for everyone. I was taken by this new CPD model and caught the buzz of energy in the room. I have since logged in remotely to a number of other gatherings and have been telling everyone who will listen about them.

My only concern is this:- TeachMeet is an effective and energising way to share emerging teaching and learning practice. However, how do we get all on board with this? IN effect we are targeting the Gifted and Talented teachers. We are targeting the keen, the good and willing. Just like in teaching students, there is a huge gray area that have no inclination to share, no inclination to gain from others and are not so keen on this forum. How do we capture them? Indeed, do we capture them?

It is a challenge going forward. However if TeachMeet can pull together such a positive CPD Model and energise this group of teachers I lay down the challenge- how do we capture the grey area group who are neither a cause for concern, nor at the cutting edge / highly effective. How do we move forward the group in the middle? It is a problem in our classrooms and a problem in our CPD. However, just like Teach Meet’s positive outlook, there will be a solution. As such it is an issue worth considering.


About neilsgleeeclub

Educator, writer, speaker and leader. Views are my own and not those of the organisations I work for or represent.
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3 Responses to The Grey Area Challenge for Teachmeet or is it just for G&Ts?

  1. R Nicolson says:

    I think the best thing we can do is tell colleagues about teachmeet and highlight how positive and worthwhile they are. The fact it’s not a ‘three line whip’ means only those who really want to be there do so.

  2. Absolutely Neil! What is needed in order to inspire the hearts and minds of the middle group? How do we capture them? Can this be done? Teachmeet is a way bringing usually like minded folk together and perhaps we just need to find the “teachmeet” solution for the middle group. Not asking a lot am I! Interesting thoughts Neil and thank you for sharing.
    Promoting the 22nd and keeping my fingers crossed for a splash of white to lighten the grey!

  3. I think you’ll find TeachMeet has swept well beyond the British edu community. 😉

    This may seem like splitting hairs but one of the key reasons for the Teachmeet format’s success is that it attracts people; it isn’t pushed at a target.

    Social software has played a key role in enabling a loosely connected group of individuals to take on the organisation and booking, avoiding traditional overheads, and enabling participants to get involved at no cost and with minimum hassle.

    It’s encouraging to see that, as word spreads, more an more people are getting involved in this form of CPD. Recently at #tmlothians11, for example, there were some Teachmeet veterans who brought along new probationers.

    What seems to happen is that people who get involved learn something, enjoy the experience and decide to return – and maybe eventually to run their own.

    Maybe the answer is in some way to reduce the “barrier to adoption” by making it as easy as possible for new people to:
    – be aware of upcoming TeachMeets in their area
    – put their name down easily, perhaps by email or text message?
    – be welcomed as lurkers, or get any support they might need to present?

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