Enabling teachers in India to buy their own CPD ticket relies both on institutional and government engagement, as well as the individuals’ own awareness. Effective CPD has to involve buy-in from local institutions and their administrators, and government bodies at national, state and local level, because these organisations have the power to implement and support CPD in a consistent and systematic way. However, it is very complex because of the lack of any connection seen between professional development and reward, be that financial or in status. This means that teachers are unlikely to be given time to devote to their professional development and, even if they do undertake self-orientated CPD activities, they are unlikely to receive any recognition for their efforts. However, as teachers gain more autonomy and awareness, there is a growing understanding of the intrinsic value of CPD and its link to personal development. Many teachers who have been exposed to CPD opportunities through British Council projects have reported strong fulfilment and personal satisfaction from undertaking activities such as journal writing, smallscale classroom research, trying out new approaches and seeing the impact of that in their learners. It is the teacher who decides to undertake the CPD journey. Policies, research material and a supportive environment only support an individual’s choice. The central stakeholder in all CPD is, therefore, always going to be the teacher. In a country where teacher motivation levels are extremely low, and where the concept of critical reflection is weak, this is a significant challenge. Understanding the barriers Successfully implementing CPD in India in the longer term requires a strong understanding of external and internal barriers. Any commitment to change has to acknowledge, embrace and be continuously solutions-focused. Pre-service training at the moment is very theory-based and teachers come out ill-equipped to handle day-to-day classroom reality and receive no encouragement to personally invest in their own development. Add to this the scale involved and the lack of time and incentives for teachers to take it up, and CPD can seem like an insurmountable mountain. As if that wasn’t enough, internal barriers include a constantly changing environment, in terms of policy changes and government interventions; the overall notion of good practice not being sufficiently understood, or understandably varying across the diverse contexts within India; and the need to constantly maintain a strong understanding of policy, which changes very fast. School teachers within the government system are often not qualified. Over the last decade, as English has been introduced at lower and lower levels within the system, more and more teachers have been required to start teaching English, a subject they may not have been trained to teach and, more importantly, a language they may not know or speak. This means teachers must have the language ability as well as the subject matter knowledge and pedagogical knowledge and decision-making ability to teach English effectively. The language ability of all teachers, at all school levels, and English teachers in particular, needs to develop dramatically in order to ensure that the quality of learning can improve in the classroom. We believe strongly that this long-term goal and vision can, for the most part, be achieved through adopting CPD. This complex backdrop means that it is essential to work
| Continuing professional development in action
Published on Aug 29, 2014
Published on Aug 29, 2014
The publication, edited by David Hayes offers global perspectives on the Continuing Professional Development (CPD) of English language teach...