Continuous professional development, or CPD, is a term that seems to sounds so big. Some teachers think it is something beyond their reach, or at least something they haven’t got time to pursue.
Over the next seven days – the first week of March – I’m going to post a series of blogs introducing seven different forms CPD might take, with the aim of encouraging more ELT, and other, teachers to get active in their CPD, and to blow out of the water some of the fears and myths surrounding what it is and can be.
First of all, “continuous” does not have to mean non-stop and time-consuming! I see it as a reminder that we should/do not stop learning once we reach a certain age or stage in our career, but continue to learn throughout our lives or our careers through the wealth of experiences we gain. Regarding “professional” I think teachers collectively need to realise the scope of our profession and all or the factors that make for competence as a teacher – any of those factors, any aspect or your work, your profession, can be the focus or further learning and development. CPD activities can be any activity which enhances (i.e. develop) your skills, knowledge, understanding or any aspect or your teaching work.
I like to think or four stages that a CPD activity would tend to have:
Reflection — Plan — Act — Evaluate
But please don’t think that CPD has to be in any way formalised! Over the next week, starting below, I’ll be listing ideas of things you can do, which don’t cost lots or money, take up too much time, or require any particular expertise. If you just keep in mind this reflective framework, all of the ideas I list will be valuable for you and your CPD journey!
· Day 1 Way 1: Blogs
If you’re reading this, you are already doing CPD! And if you reflect and comment below, or post me a question, then you’re really letting engaged in my blog as part of your CPD. Reading articles and thinking about how these apply to your own teaching, or finding new activity ideas, or getting involved in debates on people’s blogs – all of that is helping you develop further insight and expertise – so CPD! A blog post might inspire you to think about/reflect a specific aspect of your teaching, to plan to try out something new (plan), try it out (act) and then evaluate it afterwards – and before you know it you’re learning and developing!
There are several pretty famous blogs you might like to read as a starting point, for example:
But don’t worry about only reading blogs by ‘big names’ – find those that you enjoy reading and that are most relevant for your own work. Some of the above are very general, and there are plenty of teachers/researchers/academics blogging about more specific ELT, such as Business English, teaching YLs, ESP, etc. which might be more helpful for your teaching situation and own background/training. A simple Google search will help you to find what you’re looking for. And once you’ve found a few that you like, make sure you “subscribe” to receive updates and links to all their new posts.
You could also start your own blog! You don’t have to be famous to start a blog! (As, I suppose, my blog proves! 😉 Use your blog as your platform to document your own teaching, to share your thoughts and ideas with the ELT world, and engage with your readers and their comments, to further your professional development. For me, the blog has been one of the most important ways for me to reflect on my teaching and engage in online CPD; reading new articles, commenting and joining discussions. I definitely recommend reading blogs and blogging!!
Most blog hosting websites are free, as long as you don’t want a personalised URL. For example, I’m using WordPress (wordpress.com / wordpress.org), but there are plenty of others such as weebly.com, blogger.com and plenty more! And if you are inspired to start your own blog, please post me the link in the comments below so I can have a read! Likewise, if you have any other comments, or indeed questions, about using Blogs and blogging as part of your CPD, please use the comments box below! I look forward to hearig from you, and being read by you tomorrow! 🙂