Tips for Teachers: 2. Professional Development

May 2, 2023 | Blogs

Tips for Teachers: 2. Professional Development

May 2, 2023 | Blogs

This is the second blog in our ‘Tips for Teachers’ series. Each blog focuses on an area where the author, Bretta Townend-Jowitt, shares her wealth of experience as a teacher, senior leader and headteacher.

Bretta has worked in education for over 30 years and now works as an education consultant, trainer, leadership coach and mentor. She is passionate about staff wellbeing and workload and has contributed to a number of educational books on the topic.

‘Every teacher needs to improve, not because they are not good enough, but because they can be even better.’ Dylan Wiliam 

It is obvious to most that everyone working in schools require continuous development to respond to changes in education; whether it be curriculum, local and national policy, pupil needs, new research and evidence, and many other reasons including personal development needs. 

There are different types of professional development and not all are effective, no one size fits all people or purposes. It is important that opportunities for professional development are purposeful, of the highest quality and have an impact on your practice and pupil outcomes. 

The array of professional development opportunities include: 


Where experts provide advice and guidance to support and act as a role model and sounding board. A good mentor can help a mentee become more effective, learn new or hone existing skills.  


A professionally guided process that inspires the coachee to maximise their personal and / or professional potential. The process of coaching often unlocks previously untapped sources of imagination, productivity and leadership.  


Most likely be in the form of reading and can be utilised for developing knowledge around key subjects and topics.  


Learn from your own practice, develop personal goals and objectives and recognise success. 

Workshops / Conferences

These are probably one of the most common forms of professional development as stand-alone events. They can be criticised for not providing the means for sustaining changes in practice but can be beneficial by gaining insight from experts. 

Online Courses

Now more readily available and often free or low-cost options that can be valuable, as with conferences, to gain insight from experts. Many are recorded and available on demand after the event. 

Academic Writing

This provides the opportunity to explore research, critique and test ideas and share results with others, often leading to further enquiry. 

Collaborative Working

Often involves working alongside a peer, sometimes someone who is more expert which can be developmental. 

Observing Others

Either live or recorded can be incredibly developmental. It provides opportunities to talk about teaching and learning, share methods and ideas, find inspiration and motivation, but most importantly learn from and with peers. 

Whatever the professional development encountered or utilised it is important for you as an individual to have ownership and drive it yourself.  

‘When teachers themselves make the decision about what they wish to prioritise for their own professional development, they are more likely to make it work’. Dylan Wiliam

Have you read the first blog in this series?

Click here to read it.

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