Planning Teacher CPD – Key Principles

This post is linked to yesterday’s webinar on key principles in planning effective CPD for teachers. A recording of the webinar will be available soon on the TeachingEnglish website, but here is the final summary slide with the 10 principles that I presented:

(Borg 2023)

These are 10 (rather than the 10) key issues to consider when CPD for teachers is being planned and implemented. Some approaches to CPD lend themselves more easily to these principles, but, generally, attention to these issues can enhance the value for teachers of organized CPD – both smaller-scale (such as school level) or on larger programmes seeking systemic change in an education system.

The list could be extended. For example, a principle about the importance of evaluating the impact of CPD could be added.

Another issue relates to teacher autonomy – though the principle here is not that teachers should always be given the freedom to take part in CPD and to make decisions about what and how they learn. These are desirable features of CPD but in many contexts (and especially where large-scale educational reform is being targeted) giving teachers too much choice will not generate positive results. The principle, then, might be that decisions about how much choice teachers have in their CPD should reflect the goals of the programme, the educational culture and teachers’ readiness to exercise autonomy.

Teacher motivation is another vital component in CPD, but it is not explicitly addressed in the above list of 10 principles. While attention to these principles (such as making CPD an active and relevant experience for teachers) will enhance their motivation to participate, the issue is probably important enough to merit a principle of its own – for example, ‘teacher motivation to engage in CPD is a key element in its effectiveness’. I must stress, though, that teacher motivation alone is insufficient for CPD to lead to positive changes in teaching and learning – effective opportunities for teachers to develop are also required, as suggested by the original 10 principles.

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4 Responses to Planning Teacher CPD – Key Principles

  1. Ana García Stone says:

    Thank you for a fantastic webinar. These ten principles are deceptively simple but once you consider each one, you realise how much depth there is. I wonder if there is a case to be made for distinguishing between CPD and training here. For example, a large programme which seeks systemic change is coming from above, usually educational authorities and perhaps shoudl be considered training rather than CPD, which is more about the individual than the system.

    I also wondered how it might be possible to measure the impact of CPD. Can learner outcomes be directly linked to CPD undertaken by the teacher? Also, I always think of CPD as taking place over time so when do you measure its possible impact?

    Anyway, lots of issues to consider and discuss so thought-provoking. Thank you!


    • Simon Borg says:

      Many thanks Ana and glad you enjoyed the webinar. Yes, we could have a spent the whole session on any one principle really as there’s a lot to unpack for each.

      I include training in CPD because it is an activity that contributes to the development of teachers’ competences. I agree that there are clear differences in approach, purpose and rationale between CPD which has a training orientation and approaches which have a stronger focus on teacher-led ongoing growth. But it is also possible for the latter to be applied at scale – i.e. not all top-down systemic CPD programmes follow a training model.

      Evaluation is another issue that could be discussed at length. This article – – has some answers, including about links between CPD and student learning.

      Thanks again Ana.

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