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Sharing of CPD practices was made an essential aspect of the Think Tank process in order to give it a concrete and tangible dimension. This also enabled the members to understand and explore various nuances of the CPD phenomenon in India.

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Continuity between six-monthly meetings was ensured by starting with stocktaking of the previous work and ending with plans for future actions. Instead of becoming isolated, one-off events, the face-to-face meetings became important milestones in the two-year journey.

This kind of modus operandi is not usual for committees or groups working in teacher education in India, and in this respect alone the role of the Think Tank is quite special in teacher education initiatives in our context. Some of the other features which may justify calling it a unique experiment include the following:

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The composition of the Think Tank is somewhat unusual, since it deviates from the stereotypical idea of a ‘Think Tank’ as a body of vastly experienced highly positioned academicians with established expertise in the field. The Think Tank consisted of a cross-section of important stakeholders, including practising teachers with several years of work experience and field workers from NGO education projects.

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The work of the Think Tank was a combination of practical and theoretical inputs, concerns and orientations; it included theorising and conceptualising, as well as experimenting and practising.

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The Think Tank worked all along as an open and flexible group with constantly evolving agendas and work plans, negotiating its course through the constant flow of learning, insights, information and ideas emerging out of its work.

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An important feature of the Think Tank was the evolution of the members themselves in the course of the work. There were remarkable changes in perceptions, perspectives, concerns and understanding of most members over the period. For example, many members came to the Think Tank with different narrow views of CPD, related to the ‘constituencies’ they represented and symbolised by the elephant-and-blind-men metaphor (see Figure 2). In due course they came to acknowledge the validity of many other views of CPD and the restrictiveness of their own, and also began to approach CPD as a much broader and more complex notion. A member initially convinced of the role of a ‘top-down’ central government scheme as the only deciding factor in triggering CPD became aware of the crucial role also played by the ‘bottom-up’ initiatives of the teachers involved. Some officials from state education councils, who had earlier highly prioritised policy and curricular goals in CPD, came to realise and accept teachers’ personal priorities as equally important.

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The Think Tank managed to collect a great deal of significant data on experiments and innovative practices in CPD in India.

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The Think Tank greatly contributed to revealing the diversity and complexity of the whole area of CPD. A number of issues were taken up and analysed in detail; many new issues or new aspects of issues were unpicked, and all this was accomplished against the backdrop of multiple perspectives and approaches of different stakeholders.

|  CPD policy ‘Think Tank’

Innovations in the CPD of English language teachers  
Innovations in the CPD of English language teachers  

The publication, edited by David Hayes offers global perspectives on the Continuing Professional Development (CPD) of English language teach...