Frameworks of continuing professional development

CPD is a planned, continuous and lifelong process whereby teachers try to develop their personal and professional qualities, and to improve their knowledge, skills and practice, leading to their empowerment, the improvement of their agency and the development of their organisation and their pupils.

(Padwad, Amol; Dixit, Krishna (2011) Continuing Professional Development: An Annotated Bibliography. British Council)

British Council CPD Framework

The British Council Frameworks of Continuing Professional Development for teachers and teacher educators are the organising principles for our approach to teacher education and development: Teaching for Success

The frameworks represent our global understanding of, and expertise in, teaching and teacher development. Our services and resources for the teaching of English language and other school subjects are all mapped to our CPD Frameworks and provide clear pathways for the development of teaching professionals.

Our CPD frameworks provide access to:

  • self-assessment for teachers and teacher educators of their knowledge and skills
  • English language level assessment
  • benchmarking of teaching professionals’ English language skills
  • analysis of needs for our clients and partners
  • our large portfolio of modular training and development materials
  • assessment of impact of professional development.

CPD framework for teachers

Our CPD Framework for teachers has the following features: 

  • Three elements of teacher competence: professional practices, language proficiency and formal qualifications.
  • Twelve professional practices represent the knowledge and skills a teacher needs – each professional practice is described in detail by a list of elements.

Teachers knowledge and skills in each professional practice is shown through four stages of development:

  • Awareness – the teacher has heard of the professional practice
  • Understanding – the teacher knows what the professional practice means and why it is important
  • Engagement – the teacher demonstrates competency in this professional practice at work.
  • Integration – the teacher demonstrates a high level of competency in this professional practice and it consistently informs what she or he does at work.

Further information on the framework can be accessed from the download section below.

CPD framework for teacher educators

The teacher educator framework comprises three indicators of professional competence and four stages of development.

The indicators of professional competence are:

  • ten professional practices
  • seven enabling skills
  • five self-awareness features

The framework outlines four stages of development for Teacher Educators as listed below: 

  • Foundation – the individual has the foundation of teaching skills and knowledge on which to build his or her role as a teacher educator.
  • Engagement – the individual has developed his/her skills and knowledge as a teacher educator through practical experience and professional learning.
  • Integration – the individual has achieved a high level of competence as a teacher educator.
  • Specialisation – the individuals act as a point of reference for other teacher educators and as a source of expert opinion.

Further information on the framework can be accessed from the download section below.

Why are the Frameworks of CPD useful?

For teachers and teacher educators, the CPD frameworks:

  • indicate the stages that teaching professionals go through in relation to core professional practices
  • provide a clear starting point for professional development and pathways for progress
  • make it easier to identify which areas of practice teaching professionals need to focus on for development
  • make it easier to identify and choose suitable CPD activities and resources
  • reflect the fact that professional development is not a linear process – individuals develop different skills and knowledge at different points during their career.

For Ministries of Education, state government and other institutions, the CPD frameworks:

  • provide an organisational structure for developing pre- and in-service programmes of teacher education and development
  • help to identify specific needs and abilities and the activities individuals and institutions can do to address or develop these
  • are a tool to raise standards or English language teaching
  • are flexible and can be adapted to the needs of the local context, for example by allowing emphasis on particular professional practices over others.

How do teaching professionals progress?

Teachers and teacher educators can progress by actively engaging in their own development in five important ways:

  1. Identifying their strengths and areas of development in relation to the areas of competence outlined on the frameworks.
  2. Setting goals for their professional development and planning activities to meet those goals.
  3. Identifying suitable resources and colleagues that can assist them with their development.
  4. Learning to access and use suitable resources and ideas both within their classroom teaching and personal development.
  5. Engaging with other teachers through communities of practice.

What activities can a teacher or teacher educator’s development include?

  • Keeping a reflective CPD diary or journal and an action plan for development.
  • Carrying out small-scale classroom-based research.
  • Participating in a face-to-face, online or blended workshop or course.
  • Participating in seminars and conferences.
  • Reading professional magazines, journals and books.
  • Experimenting with new resources and ideas in the classroom.
  • Observing and working with their peers.