There is much talk in the TEFL world of CPD. At any job interview, this may well be a topic that comes up: either because the interviewer will ask you about your experience of it, or you may want to ask your prospective employers what they offer. But what does CPD mean?
CPD stands for Continuing Professional Development. It’s not unique to TEFL or TESOL, but within our context, it can encompass anything a teacher does to develop their skills, knowledge and experience.
Within any good English Language School, there should be opportunities to develop skills and knowledge through INSET sessions (IN-Service Training). These may take place weekly, monthly, or on an ad-hoc basis, depending on your school. The key thing to establish during a job interview is that they actually DO happen. They’re often led by the academic managers or teacher trainers, but a great way to engage in your own CPD is to lead one yourself. Why not find a topic that interests you and offer to prepare and deliver a session on it?
Another way to develop professionally is to undertake some form of Action Research. This is commonly seen as a 4-stage cycle of planning, acting, observing and reflecting. You find a topic that interests you, or that you have identified a need for, conduct some background research into the subject, consider your own existing teaching techniques in this area, and then try out any of the new techniques as proposed by the research. You then reflect on how well these worked, and whether you would use these again. This Action Research is a strong element of the Trinity DipTESOL programme.
Many teachers attend conferences, and some of the most important ones in TEFL are: the English UK teachers’ conference, IATEFL and ETp Live! These are a great way to meet many other teachers, trainers, academic managers, researchers and writers, and to send you away with new perspectives.
One final element of CPD is to undertake further training. The Trinity Diploma course is one the best ways to develop your knowledge and understanding, and to enhance your skills. It’s highly valued by language schools in the UK and overseas. It’s also a requirement for any teacher wanting to progress into Teacher Training or EFL Management.
The key thing is not to rest on your laurels. The TEFL world is constantly changing and developing, and if you don’t keep up with those developments, or keep your enthusiasm high, you will soon fall behind in this profession.