Good Hope Studies Centre Manager Desirée McCall on why CPD is replacing INSETT in the ELT staffroom.
CPD is the latest staffroom acronym being rigorously exchanged between those in teaching and teaching management. The reason CPD has become so popular today is that it is a more holistic approach to teacher development than the INSETT (In-Service Training) programmes of yesterday.
Where INSETT programmes have traditionally been mostly top down and institution driven, Continuous Professional Development is more varied and flexible, takes both teaching and learning needs into consideration and encourages teachers to take responsibility for their own professional growth.
Teacher development is no longer an insipid school lunch prepared by the DOS but rather his/her invitation to dine at at a fine restaurant buffet where – through the Internet, magazines, peers and conferences – you have access to the top TEFL chefs.
Like a dietitian’s prescription of basic essentials for premium growth and good health, underlying any good CPD programme are four basic areas of development for teachers to flourish. To be balanced, worthwhile and effective, a CPD programme requires all four essentials to be planned for by management to ensure teacher development meets the institution’s needs, the teachers’ needs and the needs of the learners.
Whether the school designs some of its own questionnaires and surveys or uses handy online tools, this is the best place to start to set CPD goals.
Interviews with management (and students) help to map out a view for teachers of where they’ve been and where they are going.
Feedback from both formal and peer observations is crucial for reflection on teaching practice.
Action research can give teachers insight into an aspect of their teaching of their choice.
Journaling is a handy self-reflection tool for those with the discipline to keep one.
Several universities and language institutions offer courses for TEFL teachers to improve their qualifications.
In-house courses should also present teachers with opportunities to increase their knowledge about language teaching/learning and then to turn the theory into skills.
Exploring one of the many specialised areas of TEFL, like EAP or Young Learners, requires research coupled with classroom time.
Reading text books, journals and magazines exposes teachers to current ideas and debates.
Old hands are important for mentoring new teachers, whether through a ‘buddy’ system or formal training sessions, or informally in the staffroom where they advise and guide.
Sharing lessons that have been developed by adapting course books or using authentic materials further fuels staff development.
Peer observation provides an occasion to share teaching insights with those who know the challenges of being at the chalk (or rather interactive whiteboard) face.
Face-to-face or on-line groups and forums are places where you can learn and share with other teachers.
Certain parts of the world offer access to conferences and training days.
Or, teachers can join the growing community of webinar (web-based seminar) participants who join in training programmes from anywhere in the world.
Finally, there should also be the opportunity to join in-house workshops and learning groups.
Teaching is a rewarding yet often draining profession where teachers can suffer from a lack of motivation and even burn-out. A well-designed CPD programme that takes the four CPD essentials into account will nourish teachers and keep them energised, growing and motivated.
Desirée McCall is Centre Manager for Good Hope Studies. The English language school is located in Cape Town, South Africa and offers teacher training courses as well English for business or internships and volunteering opportunities.
More articles from Good Hope Studies:
Good accommodation advice is crucial to positive student feedback,
Sending groups to language schools requires strategic planning,
10 things to do in Cape Town for English language students,
Why chose Cape Town as a language travel destination