Professional Development: Exploring Beliefs

The idea for this post came while I was preparing a short series of workshop sessions for teachers and academic managers. The theme for the series was Continuing Professional Development (CPD), which is one of my favorite areas to discuss and work on. I realized, however, that the definition of PD, the beliefs and values describing it vary from organization to organization, from school to school, culture to culture.

The list of PD beliefs below was put together in the process of thinking, discussing the ideas and reflecting on my own beliefs about PD. I was also trying to see multiple perspectives and imagined what newer teachers might see as PD, and what might change if we are looking at it from the experienced teacher’s point of view. If we take PD more ‘globally’ then the management’s ideas need to be brought into consideration as well.

Questions to the readers:

Would you add any more ideas (maybe I have missed something important)?

Would you delete any specific points (and if so, why)?

Do you see any issues with the list as it is now?

** I am also sharing some suggested activities below**

PD is always about Reflection

PD is always about Reflection

  1. PD activities are carried out because there are consequences for not doing so.
  2. PD is about fixing some teaching mistakes, developing weaker areas.
  3. PD is about becoming the best teacher one can be.
  4. PD needs to be fun/pleasant.
  5. PD feels like punishment and extra work.
  6. PD is sometimes extra work one is not paid for.
  7. PD is about noticing one’s strengths and building on them.
  8. PD is about finding and developing one’s unique teaching style (or a voice!).
  9. PD is a synonym (or is very close) to Personal Development.
  10. PD is a synonym (or is very close) to Training.
  11. PD is an endless process.
  12. PD is a way not to be bored with the everyday job.
  13. PD is a synonym (or is very close) to Evaluation.
  14. PD is a contribution/investment into a teacher’s personal brand.
  15. PD can (and has to!) always be measured.
  16. PD is about being a role model to colleagues.
  17. PD is about validating existing practices.
  18. PD is a chance to ask yourself why you do what you do.
  19. PD is something that attracts new teachers to our organization.
  20. PD is something that teachers need to be paid for.
  21. PD is something that teachers must pay for themselves.
  22. PD is a gift from the school to the teachers.
  23. Quality PD is carried out by a DoS.
  24. Quality PD can be collaborative, e.g. through peer coaching/special interest groups, etc.
  25. Quality PD is teachers’ own initiative.
  26. PD makes our organization stand out.
  27. PD is something that existing students/customers usually notice, appreciate and respect.
  28. PD is something our teachers feel proud about.
  29. PD is a selling point for an organization/school to attract new customers.
  30. Saying ‘yes’ to a project/assignment you have never done before is already PD.
  31. ________ [add your idea here]
PD is about putting things into perspective

PD is about putting things into perspective

As I said, the list is only a basis for discussion, a ‘raw’ material for several activities I am thinking about, such as:

A Categorizing: Whose belief about PD might this be?

  • Newer teachers’
  • Experienced teachers’
  • Academic manager(s)’
  • School owner/CEO’s

B Which beliefs about PD do you share now? (had in the past?)

C Which of the points in the list made you think? Which ones would you like to explore in more depth?

Question to the readers: what else can be done with the list above? What suggestions can you offer?

My current thought is to bring the (results of the) discussion from the teachers to the academic management of the school (ideally, they will be present during the workshop and listen to what the teachers had to share) and use these beliefs to continue the discussion of what potential changes the current CPD program in the school might need.

I am looking forward to trying out some of the ideas next week (might post on how it went!)

posted by Zhenya

2 thoughts on “Professional Development: Exploring Beliefs

  1. Hi Zhenya,

    Great list. I might get the teachers to highlight their ideas about ideal PD, and management to highlight theirs. Find the common ground for that organization and approach it that way.

    Just a thought based on resistance to ‘training’ in my old job.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hey Marc,
      Thank you for the comment and for the idea! I have not thought about the ‘ideal PD’ question – adding it to my session notes. The common ground/set of articulated beliefs is definitely a part of the goal for the event. Let’s see how it goes 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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