Wednesday, February 1, 2017


Continuing Professional Development (CPD) is mandatory for teachers in order to stay up-to-date with current trends and innovations in your profession. Not everyone is able to enrol in development courses or start an MA due to time limitatons but also to money issues, but thanks to the Internet it is now possible to improve the quality of your work without spending too much (money and time). There are a lot of actions we can take to improve our CPD and I will comment on the ones I have found particularly useful recently.

1. Learn from your peers: this is probably the first step you should take; your workmates can provide very useful feedback if you allow them to attend your classes and  share with other colleagues their opinions about the classes observed. Constructive feedback will make everyone aware of what you are doing well in class and what the areas for improvement are. Many teachers may feel overwhelmed by having a colleague in class but if you realise how helpful it can be then they should be at ease with it. 

At the school you can also organise workshops and seminars. Every single teacher from the school can contribute with their ideas because I am sure everyone has a set of activities they know work well with students. Sharing is the key here, and therefore all teachers can benefit from these gatherings. Bearing in mind that these are activities for language learning, teachers from other departments (French, German, Italian...) can join these sessions too and share their experiences and also learn from the others.

Cambridge University Press conference
2. Attend conferences and seminars: publishing companies organise annual events for language teachers where they bring teacher trainers to discuss current trends in English Language Teaching. These events are usually free to attend, you only have to register online. Of course, they will present and make publicity of their materials but apart from that this is a great opportunity to meet up with other professionals from other schools, chat during coffee breaks about the talks and exchange opinions. I have recently attended two seminars, one organised by Pearson and the other by Cambridge University Press and both held in Valencia. The experience was fantastic and I am sure I will repeat next year.

3. Webinars: many publishing companies such as MacMillan, CUP, OUP or Pearson and teacher organisations like IATEFL or BELTA offer free online webinars on a variety of topics. You may find them on their website but also posted on youtube. You may follow them live or wait until the webinar is uploaded onto their website. The advantage of watching them live is to participate in the discussions that usually accompany such webinars. The British Council also offer these events on their website; all you have to do is register and enjoy them.

4. Blogs: there are plenty of ELT professionals willing to share their ideas online. They often suggest activities, tools or their own reflections on English language Teaching and Learning. Subscribe to these blogs and you will be sent the latest updates directly to your email account. Some of the blogs I am subscribed to include Shelley Terrell's, Joanna Malefaki's, David Petrie's, Sandy Millin's or Vicky Loras's; they are all very active in the online community.

Besides, starting your own blog will make you reflect on your job as an English Language Teacher and it will help you understand your areas for improvement. Share your ideas, share the activities you do with your students, share your insights, there are people who want to hear what you have to say. You won't regret it.

5. MOOCs: these Massive Online Open Courses are totally free (you may pay for the certificate of participation if you want to) and cover different aspects of teaching. They are usually organised by universities from all over the world, just find the one that suits your needs and get ready to engage in lively discussions. Futurelearn and EdX are the two main learning platforms offering MOOCs and both of them have very user-friendly websites.

I have recently finished a course on English language teaching and learning organised by the University of Southampton, and I am currently doing two more courses: Beginner's Guide to Writing in English by the University of Reading and Education Technologies organised by the UPV.

6. Twitter: this social network is perfect for ELT professionals. People share their thoughts and insights on language learning and teaching plus resources and activities ready to use in class. There are also weekly chats you can join and discuss that week's topic. Two chats I have found to be very interesting and engaging are #ELTchat and #eltchinwag. The first one takes place every Wednesday evening whereas the latter takes place every second Monday in the evening as well. Just a tip when using twitter: ignore the SPAMMERS!!

There is plenty of information available on the Internet and sometimes we may waste a bit too much time going through everything, so my piece of advice is to be selective and focus on one aspect at a time or you would be overwhelmed with so much info.

Share, read, comment, reflect, attend, post, retweet, watch, produce and you will be working towards a better professional development!


  1. Hey Mike!!
    I agree with everything you have mentioned here.You are spot on when you say that the MOOC you choose must be something you are interested in cause I struggled during my first attempt. I really enjoyed the 2nd MOOC I chose though. As for social media, apart from Twitter, I would add Facebook as well. Yeap , yeap. My Facebook is not something I only use with my friends and family. I actually use it more for professional purposes and to connect with other teachers from around the world :). I have also joined loads of groups and exchange ideas, ask questions and share my blog posts, of course :p etc.
    Thanks for the mention btw, and I really like your blog!!! I am gonna tweet it :D

  2. Thanks a lot Joanna, as I've already told you loads of times your blog is an inspiration for many other bloggers. I've almost finished the post for the #youngerteacherself challenge and I think I'll be able to post it tomorrow, just need to go through my old photos and find a suitable one ;-)


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