What motivates you?
Money? Responsibility? Learning new things?
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?
Is it our responsibility? Or is it the employers? And what about professional bodies?
Recently a friend of mine questioned whether teaching can really be counted as a profession if continuous professional development (cpd) is not a regular requirement linked to the registration status of teachers (as it is with many other professions).
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 from my staff.
As a fellow teacher, I wanted to develop the professional expertise of my fellow professionals. As their 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?
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 book “Working in Teaching” (Crimson Publishing) was published in March 2014.