Nord Anglia Education
Nord Anglia
05 April, 2024

How are our teachers making the most of professional learning?

How are our teachers making the most of professional learning?  - How are our teachers making the most of professional learning

At Nord Anglia Education, we have the world’s best teachers. To really understand how training and development make a difference to their day-to-day practice, we sat down with a handful of our educators to discuss why professional learning is so important and how they’re engaging with it at Nord Anglia. For this week’s update, hear from Pepa Pin at Eton School Mexico and Adam Seymour at La Côte International School Aubonne.


Pepa Pin: Upper Elementary Principal, Eton School, Mexico

Can you tell us about yourself and your role?

I’m Pepa Pin, the upper elementary principal at Eton School Mexico. I've been in this position for over 15 years and have more than 30 years’ experience as an educator.

What does good professional learning look like to you?

Professional learning is the highway to achieving the vision of a school. Its the roadmap that takes you to your goals and the meeting point between your ideal work in a classroom and the practice teachers actually implement. Professional development is all about making joyful learning happen for children and for adults.

In our school, it looks like a long tradition of learning that has been given a structure and very clear shape through Nord Anglia University. We have always believed in lifelong learning, and we want to model to our students that learning is something that should happen every day throughout your life. The amazing opportunity of Nord Anglia University is that we have an array of courses we can pick to bring into our school channel. Thats been a game changer for us. 

How has professional learning influenced your professional practice?

Let me count the ways! As a leader, I was offered the opportunity to join the Aspiring Principal Leadership Programme, and that was a year of the most challenging, thrilling, amazing learning in my life. It gave me a connection to professionals from many, many areas of the world, which gives you perspective, depth and the energy to try new things from the best practice that’s shared.

What’s the best advice you’ve been given that’s impacted how you approach your learning and development?

The advice that I’ve cherished in my heart throughout my professional career was given to me by a mentor at Eton School, and that is:nothing without joy’.

Learning has to be joyful for children, for teachers, for leaders, for everybody. So how do we find the balance between what needs to be done and what can be joyful? That thought guides me in all areas.

How do you collaborate with your colleagues to help foster a culture of professional learning?

Collaboration is essential. Sometimes in positions of leadership, you might feel a little bit isolated. We have a very strong leadership team here and — by collaborating with leaders from other schools we’ve learned how to connect our goals to the process of professional development and learning. 

What trends within the education space are you keeping an eye on?

One of the things I find the most exciting is artificial intelligence. I think we have to approach it with a lot of curiosity and a lot of critical thinking on where we draw the line. But how do we truly take advantage of this enormous universe thats now open for everybody through artificial intelligence?




Adam Seymour – Assistant Head Teacher: Head of Upper Secondary, La Côte International School Aubonne

Can you tell us about yourself and what great professional learning looks like?

I’m Adam Seymour, and this will be my sixth year at Nord Anglia. I arrived as Head of Humanities then became Assistant Head - Teaching and Learning for three years, and now this is my second year running the IGCSE programme

I've always been a great believer that teachers are more than capable of sharing their best practice. I'm a really big believer in promoting that and illuminating that within a school. We've done a lot of symposiums and carousels, making sure that when we have INSET or training days where we’re sharing best practice and ideas among colleagues. I try to get teachers to share expertise, to share best practice, and to share their passions. That mutual respect is already there, so you've already got the attention of colleagues and what you've got to share has a greater resonance.

How do you prioritise your own learning and development?

It's challenging because, obviously, in schools time is probably the central concern. We make sure continuing professional development (CPD) is planned into our INSET days. And we have other things going on: a few years ago, we did 15-minute CPD every Monday to share ideas, and we used to have a pedagogical book club. It's imperative in any school, and I think it's important that not everything is top-down and that some things are from the grassroots as well.

What’s the best advice you’ve been given that’s really impacted how you approach your learning and development?

I think that the best piece of advice we had was from a guy called Ross McGill, known as Teacher Toolkit. He came to do a workshop about what makes great teaching, and he said just follow the research. People come out with interesting and exciting publications and there’s also a lot of hot air out there, but just follow the empirical research and the hard evidence and that will lead you to success.

What’s something in education that really excites you?

We do a lot of work with Rosenshine's Principles of Instruction. I know it came out in the 1970s, but it's still extremely relevant in terms of teaching and psychology and that still excites me. And AI is obviously massive right now. As a school, we experiment around with it and we all share different ideas. It blows my mind. Going back to that central issue of time, if you can save time for a teacherso they’ve got that little bit more energy, a bit more pizzazzthe impact on those children is exponential, in my opinion. If you can give time back to the teachers, whether it's through AI, whether it's through some other mode of technology, or through increasing verbal feedback, for example, I'm all for that. And so that's something we're looking into quite a bit.