Homework Help

Continuous Professional Development (CPD) for teachersEvery other profession prides...

user profile pic

sabinap | College Teacher | eNoter

Posted July 4, 2011 at 1:13 AM via web

dislike 1 like
Continuous Professional Development (CPD) for teachers

Every other profession prides itself on incorporating a serious application of continuous professional development (CPD) programmes in the course of growth in career. Be it an engineer or a plumber, a doctor or a beautician, every serious professional attends courses or qualifies on new knowledge and techniques coming into their respective domains. There is significant weightage given to  such career moves and professionals continue with the initiative of life long learning.

But what about the teaching professional? How many of us take serious note of new developments in our fields, both in domain knowledge (the content), in the new technology  and in pedagogy (the tools and skills). In most cases, most CPD courses are treated as only a formality with very little application. In other cases, teachers tend to stagnate without any motivation towards growing in their roles as educators.

If we want to be treated with the respect accorded to other professions and be seen as serious professional practioners, we need to shake out of our complacency and not sit content with the entry level qualifications we began with at the start of our careers.

How many of us can stand up and truthfully say that one has consciously sought opportunities to become more self aware and reflective on our practice as teachers. Let us discuss-----

10 Answers | Add Yours

user profile pic

literaturenerd | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

Posted July 4, 2011 at 2:35 AM (Answer #2)

dislike 0 like

I honestly enjoy working on my CPDs.  It seems very important to me given that we are trying to model specific behaviors for our students so that they see the importance of education- what better way than to continue our own? I am also pursuing a second Master's degree. My students know this, and I use it to my advantage. When they complain about homework or reading assignments I always ask them if they want to swap. This tends to make them think about the fact that I am in the "same boat" as they are.

I have also read them some of my papers. They are always surprised that they are so long and technical. Many have stated, "I want to be able to write like that".

So, in the end, our quest for knowledge should never become complacent, never lack interest, and never end. Modeling is important for our students. They need to see how important education is to us. What better way than to better ourselves so that we may help to better our students?

user profile pic

MaudlinStreet | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Senior Educator

Posted July 4, 2011 at 2:46 AM (Answer #3)

dislike 0 like

To some extent, I agree with your point. I myself am a fairly new teacher, having taught for only 6 years. However, I have attended classes/workshops every year and summer of my teaching career. These have ranged from inservices on student engagement to Advanced Placement training for English Language and English Literature, and AVID training. I am also currently working on a master's degree in English. At my site, teachers often take it upon themselves to research trends, thinkers, etc. in their various fields or in education in general, doing some "personal" professional development. Yet I know many teachers, veteran and novice, who are adverse to the idea of what I'll call "structured" professional development. I think there are several reasons for this:

  1. Ego- I've heard teachers say "I know how to do that/I know all about that-I don't need training". Some feel that any kind of workshop is beneath them, or that attending is conceding some kind of weakness.
  2. Quality- The AP and AVID training are hands down the best professional development I've attended. But I've sat through a whole lot of crap, to be honest. Frankly, there's some professional development I wouldn't wish on my worst enemy. Boring, presumptuous, condescending...it's hard to find good stuff out there.
  3. Time/Money- Teachers don't have a lot of free time, excluding summer I suppose. There are few who are willing to give up their Saturdays, and while some may jump at the chance to have a sub, most aren't eager to leave their students. Also, in general, teachers aren't upper middle class wage earners. Few of us are willing or able to spending our money on a class/workshop/conference, especially if we don't know the quality.

Just a bit more on point #3: My district pays for a good deal of pd, for which I am grateful. I would not be able to afford much of the training I've received on my own. I know I'm lucky. But it's my understanding, particularly with the annual budget cuts, that many districts do not. It's very difficult to convince someone to give their own time and money for pd that may or may not prove useful and enlightening for them. And I believe (although tell me if I'm wrong, so I stop spouting falsities) in other professions the company pays for pd for their employees.

user profile pic

sabinap | College Teacher | eNoter

Posted July 4, 2011 at 3:41 AM (Answer #4)

dislike 0 like

I honestly enjoy working on my CPDs.  It seems very important to me given that we are trying to model specific behaviors for our students so that they see the importance of education- what better way than to continue our own? I am also pursuing a second Master's degree. My students know this, and I use it to my advantage. When they complain about homework or reading assignments I always ask them if they want to swap. This tends to make them think about the fact that I am in the "same boat" as they are.

I have also read them some of my papers. They are always surprised that they are so long and technical. Many have stated, "I want to be able to write like that".

So, in the end, our quest for knowledge should never become complacent, never lack interest, and never end. Modeling is important for our students. They need to see how important education is to us. What better way than to better ourselves so that we may help to better our students?

Hi,

I couldn't agree with you more. I too love to learn and go actively seeking opportunities to "sharpen my professional saw, lest it go blunt" over time! Wish more of our fraternity thought that way because it is only when we consider ourselves to be professionals and bring rigour to our own professional practice that we will be given our due.   

I like your method of sharing with your students. I am sure it must create a learning rich environment for all concerned.

user profile pic

larrygates | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted July 4, 2011 at 4:20 AM (Answer #5)

dislike 0 like

Post # 3 raises a number of valid and interesting points. I think we all know there are teachers for whom teaching is a job to be finished by the end of the day; then there are teachers for whom it is a passion, who pour heart and soul into their efforts, and constantly strive to improve themselves. Having said that, there are some CPD's that are less than productive. I personally tend to be rather cynical of motivational types who no longer teach, but boast of their accomplishments in the classroom and offer to teach them to me--for a price. Still, most CPD's are quite worthwhile, and the passionate teacher will benefit from them. I like to think that I am one of those. I take technology courses and history courses every summer not because I need them but because I want to be a better teacher. Still, many teachers are happy with the bare minimum--and their results show it.

user profile pic

sabinap | College Teacher | eNoter

Posted July 4, 2011 at 4:46 AM (Answer #6)

dislike 0 like

To some extent, I agree with your point. I myself am a fairly new teacher, having taught for only 6 years. However, I have attended classes/workshops every year and summer of my teaching career. These have ranged from inservices on student engagement to Advanced Placement training for English Language and English Literature, and AVID training. I am also currently working on a master's degree in English. At my site, teachers often take it upon themselves to research trends, thinkers, etc. in their various fields or in education in general, doing some "personal" professional development. Yet I know many teachers, veteran and novice, who are adverse to the idea of what I'll call "structured" professional development. I think there are several reasons for this:

  1. Ego- I've heard teachers say "I know how to do that/I know all about that-I don't need training". Some feel that any kind of workshop is beneath them, or that attending is conceding some kind of weakness.
  2. Quality- The AP and AVID training are hands down the best professional development I've attended. But I've sat through a whole lot of crap, to be honest. Frankly, there's some professional development I wouldn't wish on my worst enemy. Boring, presumptuous, condescending...it's hard to find good stuff out there.
  3. Time/Money- Teachers don't have a lot of free time, excluding summer I suppose. There are few who are willing to give up their Saturdays, and while some may jump at the chance to have a sub, most aren't eager to leave their students. Also, in general, teachers aren't upper middle class wage earners. Few of us are willing or able to spending our money on a class/workshop/conference, especially if we don't know the quality.

Just a bit more on point #3: My district pays for a good deal of pd, for which I am grateful. I would not be able to afford much of the training I've received on my own. I know I'm lucky. But it's my understanding, particularly with the annual budget cuts, that many districts do not. It's very difficult to convince someone to give their own time and money for pd that may or may not prove useful and enlightening for them. And I believe (although tell me if I'm wrong, so I stop spouting falsities) in other professions the company pays for pd for their employees.

Ego: instrumental in us getting flak as a community as many of us labour under the fallacy of complete mastery of our subjects. Even if that were the case with regard to the cognitive domain, what about the affective and skills domains? Surely such a master in a subject would need to control such unbridled arrogance about their own superiority and learn to include humility in their attitude? 

Quality: been disillusioned too. But there is a vicious cycle that is in play. Since we as a community do not set store by CPD programmes there has been little  inputs into R&D or quality control to deliver to requirement or stipulated outcomes. It becomes a case of getting what we deserve. Unless we set benchmarks and evaluate, things are unlikely to change. This has to begin at the individual level and then grow.

Economics of it all: we are caught in a bind. Unless we quantify the value we bring, we'll continue to be under appreciated and under paid as professionals. There is no parity with other professions in terms of qualifications and remuneration.

Show me a skilled professional who doesnot command a price. Why is it that we are treated as unskilled or semi- skilled in our jobs? Is it enough for us to just teach and leave it at that or is it important for us to ensure that the students have learnt? Do we have the skills to facilitate that? 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

/

 

user profile pic

pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted July 4, 2011 at 5:04 AM (Answer #7)

dislike 0 like

I agree with Post 5.  If we had CPDs that were actually useful, I would take them more seriously.  But the purveyors of CPDs don't actually have to prove their classes are useful.  They just have to convince a school district that they are and all of a sudden there we are taking the class.  No wonder they're often useless.

I wish we could have time to go and watch other teachers teach.  I think that it is only through actually being in a classroom that we can learn about new pedagogical techniques.

user profile pic

accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted July 4, 2011 at 10:12 PM (Answer #8)

dislike 0 like

I don't want to blow my own trumpet here, but I do believe that I have consciously done my best to engage in CPD to improve my performance as a teacher. However, interestingly I have found that I have largely had to do this in my own time and using my own effort, as the CPD in the colleges and schools where I have worked have not actually been what I would call CPD and are just done to tick a box rather than to seriously improve teacher knowledge.

I do think there is a serious need to share and disseminate knowledge emerging from cutting edge research regarding issues such as how we best learn and how to motivate students and innovative teaching practice. In my experience I don't think that colleges and schools seriously share this desire.

user profile pic

Lori Steinbach | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted July 4, 2011 at 11:29 PM (Answer #9)

dislike 0 like

If teachers are what we hope to create--lifelong learners--we should be anxious to continue our own educations. What happens too often, as others have already said, is that coursework and classes which meet licensing requirements don't really apply to anything that really matters in terms of great teaching. Wish it were easier to find inspiring and useful learning opportunities, but they do exist.

Lori Steinbach

user profile pic

litteacher8 | Middle School Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

Posted July 5, 2011 at 3:16 AM (Answer #10)

dislike 0 like
One of the biggest problems comes from required professional deelopment in districts. I know what teachers think of these workshops. They are a big joke. There is usually good reason for this. They can be a phenomenal waste of time. Often they are taught by senior semi-retired professional development teachers whom others see as out-of-touch lazy former teachers with cushy jobs who wouldn't survive a day in the classroom. Many teachers resented them more if they kept their coaching and consulting gigs after so many of their colleagues were laid off. Maybe if teachers had more flexibility in choosing their PD and budgets to go outside the disrict, things would be better. Yet this is one phenomenal waste of time and money.
user profile pic

mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted July 5, 2011 at 10:08 AM (Answer #11)

dislike 0 like

Join to answer this question

Join a community of thousands of dedicated teachers and students.

Join eNotes