This sounds like a repetitive and obvious question for anyone in education, yet it leads to an array of answers from teachers, tutors and people involved in training and coaching in education.
A holistic definition from www.cpduk.co.uk and OUP states that CPD is:
“The learning activities professionals engage in to develop and enhance their abilities.”
What strikes me in this general definition is the word ‘enhance’… When I think back to the hours of CPD I have had over my (almost) twenty years in education, I can stare through a pinhole at the amount of ‘enhancement’ to my practice organised CPD has achieved.
Instead, the best CPD I recall is the reading, conversations, activities and meetings I have attended through CHOICE; that is, through self-directed development. Now, this approach has been a little risky and has led to my time being committed through ‘hope’ rather than certainty of CPD epiphany, but in the main, this approach has helped me to become a great teacher.
However, the scene is changing in education: CPD is becoming more discrete, deliberate and self-directed for teachers and tutors travelling through their careers. Instructional Coaching, personal development goals and a plethora of reading and interactive learning opportunities online are making CPD more interesting and focused to truly ‘enhance’ educators’ practice.
As professional roles within education diversify, identifying and finding quality CPD without the organised element of training in schools, becomes a crucial element to success, yet one that is often misty and ‘talking head’ heavy.
So, how can tutors and other educators embarking on an individual route through education, find CPD that is right for them? Well, asking yourself questions like those below can offer some insight about whether something that is labelled ‘CPD’, truly will ‘develop and enhance’ your practice:
- Are you learning a relevant new skill or approach through training?
- Is the training you are receiving sharpening and refreshing your existing knowledge?
- Is this training helping you to keep up-to-date and performing in line with latest education regulations and developments?
- Do you feel your expertise and repertoire has swelled with key learning you can put into practice straight away?
Since I have grown my CPD training experience in education to independent educators, I am discovering tutors who often ‘don’t know what they don’t know’; without the community of school to support being ‘in the know’, often improving how and what we teach as tutors can play second fiddle to learning how to run a business, manage a family and keep the lights on through uncertain income streams.
The community of Qualified Tutor offers an array of accessible CPD avenues that answer many of the questions above. I have been working within the community since it began and have been astonished at its growth over the past couple of years. Now I am part of the beating heart of Julia’s movement, I can see that it is shaping an exciting and more robust CPD offering for tutors this academic year!
The range of CPD opportunities Qualified Tutor offer are growing month on month. We strive to offer the following range of development opportunities, all rubber stamped with QT’s industry-leading accreditation mark and partnerships with Chartered College of Teaching.
- Online self-paced courses**
- Live group training**
- 1:1 Training and Coaching**
- Love Tutoring Festivals, Wellbeing events and Think Tanks*
- Self-directed study*
- Reflective practice*
- Community and collaborative working* / **
Each of the opportunities above offers either a Structured, Informal or Reflective approach to learning; ideally, educators should have a broad diet of all of them to ‘enhance and develop’ practice. Furthermore, educators really should consider if their professional development will move forward with more passive* or active** forms of CPD within this mix.
Hopefully, the ideas and approaches above will go some way to help you reflect on what your CPD diet looks like and how you can shape it over the coming academic year.
Whatever your reasons for pursuing CPD, you can reach out to colleagues and also ask yourself the questions
‘Can the CPD I am following be sustained?’
‘Are there opportunities to be collaborative, to extend myself?’
‘Is this specific enough to lead to measurable success in my practice?’
CPD results should fill you with fervour, motivation and willingness to apply key improvements instantly.
If you are interested in a conversation about how you can better your delivery of teaching and learning as a tutor or what other aspects of CPD independent educators can engage in, get in touch!