Key considerations when designing a Continuing Professional Development (CPD) process for teachers, by Patrick Creed (Bridge Mills Galway Language Centre)

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What is CPD?patrick-creedy

CPD stands for Continuing Professional Development. It refers to the process of tracking and documenting the skills, knowledge and experience that a teacher gains both formally and informally as they work, beyond any initial training. It’s a record of what a teacher experiences, learns and then applies in the classroom.

Jeremy Harmer describes CPD as ‘holding up mirrors to our practice’ (Harmer, 2007)

 

Questions for reflection:

  • What does CPD mean for you?
  • And your organisation?
  • Who organises CPD in your organisation?
  • How can you contribute to/guide the process?

 

Why is CPD important?

The British Council summarises the importance of CPD:

“CPD is also an important part of belonging to an organisation. It helps teachers build professional relationships, sharing and learning from each other, and helps managers get the best of their teachers (British Council, 2012)

We can also see this philosophy of involvement reflected in the Eaquals indicators of excellence, for example ‘There is a rich programme of in-house training, with input from outside trainers and involvement of the institution’s own staff.’

A CPD process should meet the needs of a teacher at each stage of their careers helping the teacher achieve their own personal goals as well as the goals of the organisation. Any CPD process should be:

 

  • Continuous at all stages of the teachers professional lives
  • Meet the individual needs of the teacher
  • Meet the needs of the organisation
  • Be an essential component of any teachers working life

 

It can always be helpful to start with the following questions when considering CPD in your own context:

  • How have you benefited from CPD in your present/past organisation(s)?
  • What are you present goals?
  • Are they linked to the goals of your institution in any way?
  • Have you had your CPD achievements moderated / officially recognised?

What do teachers think about CPD?

 

A survey of teachers in our school (Bridge Mills Galway Language Centre, Galway) revealed a number of different answers to the questions of what teachers think of CPD! The answers reveal a lot of about CPD and teachers views of CPD. Responses included:

 

  • I want to learn more
  • I get bored – I need a challenge
  • I want to work elsewhere
  • I want to go overseas
  • I want to do further study (e.g. H. Dip)
  • I want a pay rise
  • You the boss want me to!

CPD should be a collaborative process between school and teacher where the benefits are outlined to the teacher and not a process that is imposed upon a teacher.

Questions:

  • What are the challenges for staff in such a scheme?
  • What are the areas of conflict with such a scheme?
  • Are public CPD frameworks important? (e.g. the European Profiling Grid (EPG), or the Teacher Development Framework) Why?
  • Do you know about the EAQUALS proposed scheme for institutional recognition of individual achievement in CPD? What are your views?’

In the next blog I want to look at

How can we develop CPD in our schools?

How can we evaluate/accredit past Academic Achievements?