Professional Development: helping teachers and students learn
January 17, 2014.
What is professional development? In what areas is it
“It has been said that teachers who have been teaching
for twenty years may be divided into two categories:
those with twenty years’ experience and those with one
year’s experience repeated twenty times.”
(Ur 1996: 317)
In other words
Sheer time on the job does not ensure experience
Successful teachers are those who continue to develop
throughout their professional lives – the completion of
an initial qualification is just a beginning
It is difficult to mantain a sense of engagement when
using the same old lesson routines or reading texts
time after time
If we do not take steps towards development,
it is difficult to mantain the initial enthusiasm
Have you ever felt
as if you were doing the same thing again and again?
you have too many demands?
like not taking risks because you’re safe?
you have too many pressures?
Caused by such things as teaching too many contact
hours, having too much homework to mark, other
conditions at work, comutting, etc
The best route out of teacher burnout is to re-engage,
‘You can train me, you can educate me,
but you can’t develop me – I develop’
(Piai 2005:21, in Harmer, 2007)
Cambridge English: Proficiency (CPE)
Cambridge English: Advanced (CAE)
University of Michigan: Examination for the
Certificate of Proficiency in English (ECPE)
TKT (Teacher Knowledge Test)
CELTA (Certificate in English Language Teaching to
ICELT (In-service Certificate in English Language
DELTA (Diploma in English Language
Teaching to Adults)
CerTESOL (Certificate in Teaching English for
Speakers of Other Languages)
DipTESOL (Diploma in Teaching English for Speakers
of Other Languages)
What kind of teacher am I?
What am I trying to achieve for myself and my
What are my strengths and limitations as a language
How do my students and collegues view me?
Why do I teach the way I do?
How have I developed as a teacher since I started
What are the gaps in my knowledge?
Have you ever written down your thoughts about
lessons that you have taught or will teach?
If so, what were your impressions when rereading them?
Did you find them interesting? Useful as reminders?
Ways of reflecting:
- Keeping journals;
- Joining a teacher support group;
- Audio or video-recording a lesson;
- Case reports;
- Teaching portfolio;
- Critical Incidents;
- Action Research.
Does your institution hold regular staff meetings? If
so, are they only for decision-making or do they also
include reflecting and sharing? How do you feel about
Teach and teach or Teach and learn
Learn teaching = desire to move foward, to keep learning
from what happens. It involves feedback from others and
from ourserlves, reflection, attempts to do in different
way next time.
Have you ever been observed while teaching? If so,
who observed you? How did you feel? Did the person
give you any practical or expert advice?
Fellow teachers observe each other’s lesson. It helps:
- The observer learn new things and reflect on their own
- The observed have a chance to talk about their lesson
with an observer they trust
Training, develpment, assessment, data collection
It provides perhaps the most useful help a learning
teacher can get.
An outside eye, who can help us see our particular
habits, ways of working, ways of speaking, avoidances,
What books have had most influence on your
professional thinking or proved most useful for your
Books in general – language improvement
Do you know any national or international
organization for English teachers?
Have you attended at least one professional
conference? If so, how much do you feel the
experience contributed to you as a professional? How?
Have you ever considered writing a paper and
presenting in a conference?
They allow us to “hear about the latest developments in
the field, take part in investigative workshops and enter
into debates about current issues in theory and
practice. We can ‘network’ with other members of the
ELT community ...”
(Harmer, 2007: 423)
“Submitting a paper or a workshop for a teachers’
association meeting, whether regional, national or
international, is one of the most powerful catalysts for
reflecting upon our practice. When we try to work out
exactly what we want to say and the best way of doing
it, we are forcing ourselves to assess what we do. The
challenge of a future audience sharpens our
(Harmer, 2007: 422)
THE VIRTUAL COMMUNITY
Jeremy Harmer, Higor Cavalcante,
Luiz Otávio Barros, Willy Cardoso
BRELT, English Teachers, IATEFL,
Teachers of English, Facebook &
To sum it up – Professional
Getting a certificate, diploma or degree
Peer observations/formal observations
Lesson planning and reflection
Harmer, Jeremy. Essential English Knowledge. Essex: Pearson
Education Limited, 2012.
Harmer, Jeremy. The Practice of English Language Teaching. Essex:
Pearson Education Limited, 2007.
Richards, Jack.; Farrel, Thomas. Practice Teaching – A Reflective
Approach. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2001.
Richards, Jack; Farrel, Thomas. Professional Development for
Language Teachers: strategies for teacher learning.New York:
Cambridge University Press, 2005.
Scrivener, Jim. Learning Teaching. Oxford: Macmillan Education,
Ur, Penny. A Course in Language Teaching. Cambridge: Cambridge
University Press, 1991.