Continuing professional development (CPD) is the engagement of professionals in learning activities to develop their skills and abilities. CPD entails various modes of learning, for instance, e-learning programs, events, conferences, and training workshops, among others. Currently, there are 1000 plus and counting, institutes as well as professional bodies across the UK. Read below for an extensive guide into the world of continuing professional development for teaching staff.
CPD Further Explained
Continuing professional development is the mode of tracking and documenting the knowledge, skills that you acquire formally and informally during your teaching career, past any initial training. CPD helps the teaching staff to manage their own development on an ongoing basis. It is commonly used to refer to a physical portfolio documenting one’s development as a professional.
CPD should not be confused with training, since training is considered more formal and does not have a broad application as development does. Development grants the teaching staff the tools to do a wide range of things, and it relates to competence and capability.
CPD is effective under different circumstance; for example;
- It is designed individually for each professional.
- It is part of a planned process.
- It is tutored by people who possess the necessary knowledge, skills, and experience.
- When there is a crystal-clear perspective on the improvement needed.
Types of Continuing Professional Development
CPD is divided into formal and informal.
Formal CPD. It involves active and structured learning usually conducted outside the institution one works for. They include different activities such as;
- Online and offline training programmes
- Learning-focused conferences
Informal CPD. It is usually considered to be self-directed learning, where the professional individually decides to pursue development professionally and personally. It usually consists of;
- Reading peer-reviewed journals and materials that are written by industry experts.
- Studying for professional exams.
What are the Elements of Continuing Professional Development?
The CPD process needs to;
- Entail both formal and informal learning
- Be self-motivated and self-directed
- Assist one to set and accomplish their development objectives and goals
- Focus on reflective learning
- Be a documented process.
Benefits of Continuing Professional Development for Teachers
CPD is usually listed as a requirement for membership by professional bodies. Besides documenting your learning and developing your teaching knowledge and skills, CPD can also benefit in you the following ways;
- Keeps one updated with the changing trends. The teaching industry is faced with new changing trends now and then. Your current knowledge and skills will be irrelevant if not up to date. CPD helps the teaching staff to stay relevant and up to date.
- Peaks your interest in your profession. Placing focus on CPD opens one to brand new knowledge and skills that piques their interest. Their interest elevates focus and efficiency in the profession.
- It keeps one professionally competent. Self-improvement of individual teaching staff can improve due to a broad range of factors. However, not everyone in that profession will improve at a common rate. Therefore, these professionals can ensure their competency just like their colleagues who are also undertaking continuing professional development.
- CPD powers your knowledge and skills to allow you to deliver more professional services.
- Allows staff access to experts in the same field. Through self-development, one can gain immense knowledge via opportunities to interact with experts in the profession. CPD promotes networking, which, in turn, leads to better opportunities.
- Provides professionals with scenarios and examples for an interview or CV, and underlines the importance of professional development of teachers.
- Improves one’s learning abilities.
- Enhances independent learning.
Continuing Professional Development is also beneficial to the teaching staff employers in various ways. These include;
- Elevates employment retention.
- Supports a learning culture in the workplace.
- It sets a high standard across the workplace for staff development.
- Improves the organization’s reputation among prospective clients and employees.
What Are the Challenges Facing CPD?
- Continued Professional Development is not strongly defined, and the procedures and policies of organizations mostly reflect that. The lack of a clear definition is the main barrier to CPD’s wider acceptance and implementation. In most organizations, employees have divided opinions as to the activity that should be considered as CPD. This then leads to uncertainty over its main purpose.
- Minimum or non-participation of the staff in CPD activities. There is a notable lack of interest and participation of professionals in CPD activities for reasons such as inaccessibility of resources and IT. This could also be because the whole concept of CPD has not been understood by these professional.
- The perception of CPD among these professionals. The majority of teaching staff often view CPD as a top-down process usually run by the school management. In some cases, it is noted that school headteachers and college principals tend to dominate the decision-making process within the institution. As a result, the benefits of CPD are considered in terms of management goals and not individual progress. This has introduced the need for CPD to be about individual progress, not managerial.
- An ambiguous relationship between CPD and other development programmes. In most cases, CPD is considered a compliance tool and not a development tool. Some teaching staff members are more interested in the immediate financial benefits that a program allows them, unlike CPD.
Tips for Improving Continuing Professional Development
Banking on CPD is a long-term investment that benefits both the individual professional and the learning institution. Both parties need to play a key role to improve continuing professional development. Below are some of the tips that individuals and employers can use to improve on CPD.
- One ought to be clear on what he/she wants and why, when securing a CPD.
- The professional should be able to secure adequate funding independently.
- Positivity is a key element of the professionals aims to achieve the desired outcomes.
- The employers should ensure there is secured time for staff to undertake the CPD.
- The institution should offer the teaching staff professional guidance and support to select the most suitable CPD for their professional and personal development.
- There should be a variety of various CPD forms highlighting opportunities appropriate for teaching staff at all levels.
Continuing Professional Development is one of the ways of personal and professional growth. It helps to teach staff scale higher heights in and outside their learning institutions. The most important way to ensure its success is changing people’s mindsets and encouraging them to make that decision out of self-drive. If conducted appropriately, CPD is even more beneficial to the organization as a whole.