Professional development. Why?

Continuous professional development or CPD as it’s commonly known, is a common concept but how is it defined and why should we bother.

Leaving aside the rather arrogant attitude that we know all there is to know about, well anything, if we go back 15 years to the time before some of the more unsavory aspects of child protection came to light society was probably guilty of just that, and because we were forced to address the problem no teacher nowadays can claim they are unaware of these issues. The reason is of course the training courses we all need to attend and proceedures we need to adhere to. This is of course CPD but it is quite definitely not confined to this one issue, important as it is. New methods and ideas are emerging all the time and if we don’t embrace or at least consider them then we are doing ourselves and our students a disservice. After all It isn’t only about qualifications, there are plenty of courses, seminars and workshops available where teachers can exchange good practice and learn how others do things. Add to that the plethora of information available on the internet, being careful about this though as it is not all good, and the excellent material produced by professional bodies such as the Incorporated Society of Musicians and the Musicians Union then we have a huge resource which we should not ignore.

As teachers we are obliged to give our students the best chance of success and much of our work is still trial end error. If something isn’t working for a particular student then we try to think of another way of doing things, will another way work better? We all have a pool of different tools and strategies to call upon and the bigger this pool of knowledge the more chance we have of success. So the more we read and hear about other methods the better and even if we don’t adopt some of them the fact that we are aware of them shows that we are open to new ideas.

Qualifications are of course important and we should always be looking to develop our skills. Qualifications give us the confidence to go out and obtain work and also instil a similar confidence in those we strive to work for, but we should always be looking for gaps in our education that need to be filled in order to make us more complete individuals. In a fast changing world we all need to be aware of the new challenges.

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