How Investing In Continuing Professional Development Contributes To A High-Quality Teacher Workforce

How Investing In Continuing Professional Development Contributes To A High-Quality Teacher Workforce

Teaching is complex and organic, as it involves constant creation, imagination, innovation.

A teacher’s role is further complicated when keeping pace with flux of changing approaches to learning and designing for the 21st century. The teacher must not only plan for the classroom, but understand learners, use inclusive practices, design for dialogic spaces and promote the 21st century skills like critical thinking, leadership, managing change, analytical thinking, and digital thinking. This makes teaching exciting as well as challenging.

To be prepared for the challenges, appropriate and sustained capacity building of teachers is a must. As such, teacher training and upskilling should be an ongoing PD, where the teacher is encouraged to embark on a sustained journey of self-development involving input and guidance towards learning new knowledge, skills, ways of practice. This is needed now more than ever, in order to keep in step and relevant with the shifting contours of the teaching profession in these current disruptive times.

Looking back at my years as a school teacher, teaching felt like an isolated activity where the school day was spent in class teaching, assessing and planning for the next day. As a result, no school time was left for meaningful professional sharing amongst teachers. Some days were allocated as training time, however the training was generic and fragmented, probably done to comply with external regulatory requirements applicable to the school.

No doubt such one-off professional training and workshops for teachers are a valuable part of the process, but they are just the beginning. The next step ought to involve school leaders, teachers and PD providers to collectively workout the kind of learning activities required to foster a learning culture wherein teachers are prepared for real-time complexities of the classroom and beyond.

Certain practical steps which schools as well as individual teachers may consider to begin on their CPD journey follow:

At the School Level

  1. A school calendar which makes room for on-going professional learning helps. Some examples are: weekly early release days for reflecting on one’s practice, mentoring, peer observation and space for sharing best practices.
  2. Enabling a Community of Practice (COP) where collaboration, and support is provided to the teacher. Here, learning takes place through formal and informal collaborations, involving an apprenticeship model. Many COPs leverage their reach using virtual collaboration tools and social media platforms.
  3. Encouraging and supporting teachers to participate and present at local as well as global conferences. Such exposure to best practices will not only bring about cross fertilization of ideas, but also open minds which is essential to enable teachers to be reflective practitioners.

At an Individual Level

Continuously developing oneself is a shared responsibility. As such, CPD must not just be implemented top down but must also be proactively pursued by the individual. CPD should become a habit. To initiate the process, teachers may:

  1. Partake CPD by joining online communities, interacting with like-minded practitioners, academics, and other specialists in the education field. Numerous special interest groups exist on Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Facebook etc. Typically, members of such groups share resources, syllabi, content, ideas for lesson plans.

Several such groups are closed groups where practitioners can share and seek expertise in a safe environment in which mistakes are seen as learning points to be built upon.

  1. Consider a Structured Approach for their PD. Often, a structured PD experience can be spark sustained interest in PD. A host of free online PDs are offered comprising of thematic courseware. I personally benefited from British Council’s FutureLearn, Becoming a Better Teacher: Exploring Professional Development.

The Network Effects of joining and actively participating in a community of practice can accelerate teacher learning, reflections, and insights. The long-term benefits include expansion of one’s skills and expertise. COPs also provide a network for inter-professional collaboration, which helps foster one’s professional identity. A culture that acknowledges and supports important adult learning elements such as peer-to-peer collaboration, regular feedback, self-reflection, goal-setting, formal mentoring, etc.

About the Author
Nilanjana, is a learning design professional, having worked on the implementation of innovative educational & training delivery solutions in a variety of settings. She started her professional career as a school teacher teaching Chemistry and running summer science camps. Her interest in education innovation prompted her to transition from classroom teaching to learning design which took her to Australia where she read the Masters in Learning Sciences & Technology from the University of Sydney. While in Sydney, she gained valuable experience while working at OpenLearning and Pallas advanced Learning Systems, both of which are upcoming edtech startups in Australia. Currently, she is pursuing passion of creating effective learning experiences which are research informed and practically relevant. When not working, she likes to read, travel, cook and getting close to nature. You can tweet her @NilanjanaSaxena

Like what we do?

The Latest EdTech News To Your Inbox

Follow us:



Latest EdTech News To Your Inbox

About ETR Community

EdTechReview (ETR) is a community of and for everyone involved in education technology to connect and collaborate both online and offline to discover, learn, utilize and share about the best ways technology can improve learning, teaching, and leading in the 21st century.

EdTechReview spreads awareness on education technology and its role in 21st century education through best research and practices of using technology in education, and by facilitating events, training, professional development, and consultation in its adoption and implementation.


-> Read More

Join the EdTech Community

Subscribe and Join the 100,000+ members who trust us...

I find every news, reviews very informative and interesting. This site is indeed a great site for both teachers and learners. Thanks to EdTech for creating such an enriching site on education. Hats off!!
- Regin Brown, Educationist and Blogger, United Kingdom

My group likes this site because it's so up-to-date and has tons of relevant articles.
- Angela Giuliano, Teacher, New Mexico

Your write ups and articles ignites the minds making them receptive to the whole new wealth of EdTech.
- Jagat Rana, Parent, India

EdTechReview has some great resources for teachers who need to get some ideas about technology in the classroom.
- Loretta Wideman,Teacher, East Africa

EdTechReview keeps educators up to date with trending tech savvy terms relative to the discipline.
- Dr. Ingrid Rizzolo,Education Professional, Curriculum and Instruction Designer, New York City Area

-> Read More

Go to Our Client List

Adobe Avaya Bettasia Bonio Campus Management CK12 CKS Evernote IBM Intel IQPC Kidzania McGraw Hill Moodle Moot USC Rossier CMR University The British School Canadian International School Pathways Ridge Valley

Subscribe to our Newsletters...