What motivates you? As professional people we recognise that we have a responsibility to maintain and develop our skills, knowledge and the quality of our professional practice.
But whose responsibility is it to do that?
Recently an acquaintance at a party questioned whether teaching can really be counted as a profession if continuous professional development (cpd) is not a regular requirement and linked to the registration status of teachers.
He described to me how, as a dentist he had to regularly submit evidence of cpd as a necessary requirement of registration status with his professional body The General Dental Council. He described how there was a similar requirement for nurses, lawyers and others. It was an interesting discussion and it made me reflect.
I was once a headteacher and I had three excellent senior teachers who wanted to become deputies. They asked me if they could they attend deputy headship cpd training. I happily agreed and suggested that, as the suggestion had come from them, I would fund 50% of the cost if they were happy to pay the rest. I remember I was a little dismayed when all three declined. I thought I was being generous. I was offering to part fund their training that would probably – possibly imminently – enable their promotion and departure.
As a teacher, I wanted to develop the professional expertise of my fellow professionals. As the employer-manager, I felt I had a responsibility to balance the needs of the school with the aspirations of those employed by it.
Not all cpd is good cpd of course – especially if it’s tokenistic and done as a ‘tick-box’ measure to satisfy the seemingly arbitrary demands of accountability – and some professional groups openly acknowledge that.
So to return to my original question – ‘What motivates you?’ It’s an interesting and challenging question to any professional – can we be trusted to do cpd without being incentivised or even regulated to do it? If we get cpd right, I wouldn’t have to worry about pissing-off my colleagues in future.
Alan Newland worked as a teacher, teacher-trainer and headteacher in London for over 20 years and then for the DfE and the GTC. He now lectures on teaching and runs the award-winning social media network newteacherstalk. You can follow him on Twitter at @newteacherstalk. His new book “Working in Teaching” (Crimson Publishing) was published in March 2014.