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With teachers, however, experience has conditioned us to introduce CPD by stealth! Rather than introducing them to the term CPD as an abstract concept at the beginning of a project, the British Council integrates a number of additional CPD activities into the face-to-face training by setting reading tasks for homework and discussion in groups, conducting small action research projects, lesson planning competitions and introducing reflective tasks and activities. Once teachers have actively participated in such activities, it becomes easier for them to try them out back at their schools or at home and between phases of face-to-face training, and so the concept of CPD is slowly made more explicit. Subsequently, it is easier for academic project managers to evaluate which forms of CPD are more feasible or effective, and this can feed into plans for sustainable CPD initiatives. Notably, when the British Council attempted to establish a system for CPD, including a mentoring strand, at the beginning of one project, stakeholders at all levels were alarmed by the pace and scale of the change required, and rejected it. A short training programme was demanded instead. Awareness raising with teachers can happen through discussions that focus on finding purpose and meaning in work, understanding what motivates teachers intrinsically and providing them with tools such as learning journals where they can reflect on their experiences. It is better to introduce CPD in practice first and then build the top-down support system once the concept and benefit are clear. Monitoring and evaluation Though seemingly simple, gaining acceptance and finding the route to implementation in a challenging operating context where non-training forms of CPD in particular are not always recognised as contributing to quality in the classroom, and are therefore not mandated or facilitated, requires the perseverance of internal and external stakeholders, the documentation of lessons learned and the sharing and dissemination of those lessons. Documenting the impact that CPD innovations can have is an essential way of raising awareness of their importance. In all cases, the monitoring and evaluation of the innovations has been crucial in ensuring acceptance, a shared understanding among stakeholders and the generation of data that can provide mid-course corrections, where appropriate. Demonstrating a link between CPD and learning outcomes is complex: the relationship is not mono-causal. It depends – among other things – on the quality of the CPD activity, the duration, the ability of the teacher to understand the content and process of the task and to work independently, their levels of language and motivation, the quality of the technical inputs, the access to those inputs and their relevance to needs and context. The British Council uses a set of performance indicators aligned to competences and project outcomes to assess progress of teacher educators and teachers throughout a project. Monitoring of the contextual constraints is also crucial; implementation may have been hampered not because of the lack of knowledge or ability of an individual, but, for example, because the government did not allow a teacher educator access to a school to provide the teachers with support, or the principal did not release the teacher for training or sanction their leave to attend a conference, or because the other teachers at a school may have mocked a motivated teacher for trying to start a teachers’ club or initiate a system of peer observations.

Continuing professional development in action |

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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...

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...