3.2.7 CPD

As stated above, teacher education should be ongoing, and last for a teacher’s entire career. Access to good-quality, regular CPD ensures that teachers are effective and motivated, and more up-to-date on subject knowledge, classroom skills and policy changes; the evidence shows clear benefits for increased learning (ILO, 2012: 75; OECD, 2014a: 97, 107). CPD should be aligned with other dimensions of an integrated, holistic teacher policy. Teacher career structures or paths, based on agreed standards defining the core competencies and behaviours a teacher should possess at different stages in their professional development (see Section 3.4 below), may include successfully completing CPD as a criterion for career and salary progression (see Section 3.6 below).

Teacher CPD should be well integrated with, and a continuation of, initial teacher education. Effective CPD should be school-based (to the extent that resources permit effective CPD in schools), practice-focused, integrated with teachers’ everyday work in the classroom and linked to systemic reforms aiming to improve education quality. While CPD can significantly improve student achievement, school systems need to think strategically about its content and delivery, and customize training to the specific needs of different teachers. In-person, on-site coaching is an effective way to deliver advice on classroom practice, and coaching should be the core of any good professional development programme. It should also be tailored to teacher needs, provided in schools and focused on teaching approaches (particularly learner-centred approaches) and skills that teachers can use in the classroom (Schwille et al., 2007; Sayed, 2009; UNESCO, 2014a: 245). Effective CPD should be sufficiently lengthy and ongoing to make an impact on a teacher’s practices – one-shot, short-term cascade training is not an effective form of CPD, particularly if the aim is to change teachers’ pedagogic practices.

Employers should provide a supportive environment for CPD, including ensuring that teachers are granted the necessary time and opportunities for professional development while in school (OECD, 2014a: 107–108). It is important that school-based CPD includes input from outside the teacher’s immediate environment and experience. This might take the form of training courses facilitated by expert teachers at the school or cluster level, distance education courses using paper or electronic materials, or short residential courses in teacher training colleges (ILO, 2012: 77–79). Mentoring by expert teachers, as well as peer mentoring, peer observation and team meetings for lesson preparation and support, are all valuable aspects of school-based CPD (see also Section 3.2.5).

Given their status as professionals, teachers have both the right and the obligation to engage in CPD to develop their professional competencies and keep abreast of developments in their field. This is particularly important in the teaching profession, where views of good practices evolve regularly as new evidence becomes available. The principle of teacher ownership of their own professional development is important if teachers are to be active professionals, with a strong degree of autonomy over their practice in the classroom.

CPD should be available to all teachers, regardless of their level of qualifications and geographical location, so that they teach as ‘reflective practitioners’. In particular, a teacher policy needs to identify creative ways to allow teachers deployed to rural and remote areas access to regular professional development opportunities. Offering attractive CPD options may be part of a package designed to incentivize teachers to accept remote postings for a defined period of time. One aspect of CPD for teachers in remote postings is likely to be the creation of teaching and learning aids using locally available materials. The CPD opportunities offered by new technologies and blended learning are of particular interest to teachers in remote postings, as discussed below.

CPD should be included in education budgets at the national, regional, local or school level, depending on the nature of the education system. A teacher policy should integrate dedicated financing for CPD to avoid education monies being used for other purposes, such as salary shortfalls. An annual CPD allocation per teacher, adjusted for purchasing power parity, including the cost of paying to supply teachers where necessary, may be a strategy to fincance CPD. Box 3.5 indicated a country example.

The provision of CPD should be included in education budgets at the national, regional, local or school level, depending on the nature of the education system.

It is advisable that a teacher policy should integrate dedicated financing for CPD to avoid education monies being used for other purposes such as salary shortfall. An annual CPD allocation per teacher, adjusted for purchasing power parity, may be a strategy to financing CPD and may include the cost of paying for supply teachers where necessary. Box 3.5 indicates a country example.


In 2010, after examining the available evidence, the Children, Schools and Families Committee of the UK House of Commons noted that the impact of professional development on teacher effectiveness is ‘often as much as an extra six months of pupil progress per year.’ The report found that ‘the specification of a minimum level of spending on professional development (as a percentage of the school’s overall budget) would support wider efforts to embed a culture of professional development within the schools workforce’ and recommended that ‘such ring-fencing of funds is put in place at the earliest opportunity.’

For more information: UK parliament, (2010, p47) https://publications.parliament. uk/pa/cm200910/cmselect/cmchilsch/275/275i.pdf

Teaching is a dynamic and constantly changing activity that evolves along with social needs and cultural, economic and technological environments, both global and local. Teachers also evolve throughout their careers: their confidence, teaching style and mastery of both subject matter and teaching techniques will be very different at different times in their professional lives. This is why ongoing professional development plans, integrated with appraisals and personalized professional support, can help teachers plan their professional development, based on their current strengths, weaknesses and needs, as well as on the needs of their school and the wider education system. Indeed, CPD should be systematically tied to appraisals and feedback, based on established standards (OECD, 2013c; see also Section 3.7 below). Education systems with existing school development plans should integrate individual professional development plans within them. In this case, a review of teachers’ individual plans can constitute one element of a school inspection. Supporting teachers in developing individual professional development plans can help them take ownership of and responsibility for their CPD. The plan then becomes the basis of an agreement between teacher and employer that lays out the conditions and responsibilities on both sides: how much time will be made available to the teacher for CPD, both in and outside the school? How will specific courses or other CPD opportunities be funded? What will the employer contribute to the teacher’s CPD? What will the teacher contribute?

Box 3.6 below presents one example of CPD from Japan.


‘Lesson study’ (from the Japanese term jugyokenkyu) is an example of team-based, teacher-led and ongoing CPD,which has existed in Japan for 200 years. The method has been highly successful in Japan and has also been adapted and implemented in other countries. Teachers meet to plan, discuss and improve their teaching practice. This may involve teachers collectively planning a lesson, then observing as a member of the group delivers the lesson to students. Following the lesson, the teachers discuss how the lesson went, how students reacted and what could be improved. The lesson may then be delivered again to a different group of students, incorporating the improvements.

The lesson study includes all the key characteristics of a successful CPD activity: it is based in the classroom and usually linked to school-wide efforts, as all teachers in the school are encouraged to participate. It is participatory, teacher-led, and focuses on discussions about how to improve teaching. It is centred on what students are being taught and how they are learning and is an ongoing process with constant feedback.

Source: International Labour Organization, 2012, p.76 (adapted with permission).

3.2.6 Training in inclusion and equity

3.2.8 Teacher education and Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs)