Teachers Professional Development

Updating teachers’ professional knowledge and skills


As there is a change in most of the educational systems in the world in terms of the implementation of new curricula and a new approach based on competencies, and as EFL is a rapidly changing field, teachers of English need to develop short and long-term career goals and expand their roles and responsibilities over time if they are to continue to find teaching rewarding. They need, in fact, regular opportunities to update their professional knowledge and skills. Such opportunities may be provided for in a number of ways:


·        Group meetings: teachers need to meet regularly and specific scheduled teaching points need to be discussed. Meetings need to be run so that maximum participation is assured and so that communication flows in the right direction, in a climate of cooperation and collaboration.


·        Observation: regular observation of teachers by other teachers can provide positive feedback on teaching as well as help identify areas that might need attention. Peer observation can also be used to enable teachers to share approaches and teaching strategies. Teachers can also use self-observation through audio or video recording their lessons and reviewing the recording to see what needs to be improved.


·        Shared planning: teachers often work in isolation and do not have the opportunity to benefit from the collective expertise of their colleagues. One way to avoid this is to build in opportunities for collaborative planning. During the process of planning, potential problems can often be identified and resolved.


·        Workshops and seminars: specialists from outside the school or staff from the school can offer workshops and seminars on topics of interest to the staff.


·        Reading group: teachers can put together groups and read and discuss articles or books of interest.


·        Writing about teaching: teachers can keep a reflective diary or journal and share this with colleagues.


·        Project work: teachers can be given the opportunity to develop projects such as a course demonstration, classroom materials, video and other teaching resources.


·        Action research: teachers can conduct small scale classroom research on their teaching and why not sharing his / her findings with colleagues. Meetings can be arranged in which teachers report on classroom innovations or other activities they wish to share with colleagues.


These opportunities and others that you have certainly eprerimented will undoubtedly help teachers improve in the basic teaching skills that are:

o   Language awarness

o   The teacher, the learner, the teaching/learning process

o   Planning, designing courses and assessing for effective teaching

o   Classroom management and teaching skills

o   Resources and materials for teaching

o   Professional development


As teachers are eager to develop their teaching skills, they will get ready to

o   identify their areas of strenghth and weakness

o   develop specialised knowledge and skills about many aspects of teaching

o   develop curiosity and interest in many different aspects of teaching

o   expand their knowledge about research, theory and issues in teaching

o   take on new roles and responsibilities such mentor teacher, teacher-researcher, materials writer ..

o   engage in self-reflection and evaluation


One may conclude that quality teaching cannot simply be assumed to happen. It results from active efforts on the part of  the teachers, administrators as well as inspectors to ensure that good teaching practices are being maintained. This involves the establishement of a shared commitment to quality teaching and the implementation of the appropriate measures to bring it about.


For this new school year, it is hoped that the recommendations given in this article will enable language teaching professionals to assess the currency of their own educational practices as well as reflect on the changes they have experienced.........




                                     Adapted from “Program Facors in Effective FLT/ SLT

                                                                        Jack C Richards