Next Step(s) in Professional Development [Workshop Materials]

“If you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you’ve always gotten.”

Below are some activities/questions that I used for a workshop for Korean English teachers that had just returned from 3 months in Canada as part of a six month training course.

There are some suggestions that I gave, as well as some sample development plans to evaluate, and some questions to consider/discuss. I offer the material here in the hope that it might be useful to someone. Of course, in the workshop itself I expanded on things and helped guide participants in certain directions.

The Developing Teacher” by Duncan Foord was quite helpful in thinking about issues related to professional development.
It was also interesting to note some of the similarities and differences between my thoughts and those of  Chris Ożóg who shared a cool and informative prezi with his soon to be former CELTA trainees here.


Mike’s Suggestions for Professional Development

  1. Take a break! 🙂 
  2. Be a mentor.
  3. Be a mentee.
  4. Observe and be observed (Observe yourself as well)
  5. Study something new. (Another language?)
  6. Teach something new.
  7. Experiment (and keep experimenting!)
  8. Use the internet effectively.  (Places like Twitter/Facebook/teacher development groups/cafés)
  9. Join conferences (think about presenting.)
  10. Reflect, reflect, reflect.
  11. Put yourself in new positions.

a)Small changes are more likely to stick.
b)SMART action plans are more likely to work.
c)Think about what you want to get out of professional development
d)Don’t let professional development get in the way of your professional life. (Or personal life)
e)Success feeds success.
f)Students and student learning are still the keys.

Teacher development plans

Teacher 1
I am going to work harder this fall! I am going to spend more time on lesson planning. I am going to make sure that all my lesson plans are perfect and that I am prepared for each class as much as possible.

Teacher 2
I am going to use PDP (Pre-during-Post) lessons for all my reading classes this fall. I am sure it is the best way. I will be sure to pre-teach vocabulary and then have plenty of “during” tasks each class.

Teacher 3
I am going to be sure to keep a reflective journal where I can keep track of my thoughts and experiences.

Teacher 4
I will use English 90% of the time that I talk in class. I will be sure to use English for instructions as well as for explaining vocabulary. I will sometimes use Korean to explain more difficult grammatical concepts but I will be sure to use English 90% of the time. I am also worried about TTT (teacher talking time) so I will make sure that students talk 80% of the time in class.  This way my students will get most of the practice.

Teacher 5
I feel like I am lacking in knowledge about the TESOL field. Because of this I will read 1 methodology book a month. I will start with “How to Teach Grammar” and then I will re-read “The Practice of Language Teaching” and continue with 1 book a month for the school year.

Teacher 6
I am worried about my English ability so I will be sure to read an English newspaper for at least 15 minutes every day. This will surely help me improve my English ability and my teaching too.

Teacher 7
I will be sure to use CCQs in all of my classes. I learned that they are the most important and useful way to check students’ understanding so I will be sure to use at least 10 CCQs per class.


  1. What is professional development?
  2. What is teacher development?
  3. How do we develop?
  4. Are we always developing?
  5. How are you a different teacher than this time last year?
  6. How do you want to be different next year?
  7. What do you want to develop? 


  1. Mark Kulek

    Thanks Mike.
    As for your suggestions: #1 is key. However it becomes more and more difficult, because of two little ones to feed and school. Work work work. #2 and #3 are tough working in a one man school. #4, writing a blog forces me to reflect. #5, I need to improve my Japanese. #6 and #7 go hand-in-hand. It keeps the creative juices going. I have some issues with #8. #9, totally agree. Actually, it should rank higher than 9. Super fun, too. #10 is the same as #4 for me. #11, I wish I could.
    Thanks again and Happy New Year,
    Mark in Gifu

  2. mikecorea

    Hey Mark! Thanks so much for the comments. I am so glad I decided to put this up. I was filing some documents and thought about for a while and finally decided to add it.

    Some scattered thoughts/additions/replies/excuses below:

    This list was intended for teachers finishing the end of a sometimes grueling 6 month course. I am glad that there seems to be a lot of crossover to your context.

    #1 is not my strength either. I guess maybe one way of thinking about it is to take smaller breaks or mental breaks or something rather than just simply not doing anything for a week.

    You wrote, “#2 and #3 are tough working in a one man school.” (2 = Be a mentor 3= Be a mentee) I suppose it would present some challenges working in a one man school! I do think that there are other ways to be a mentor and to be mentored. I guess I was thinking more along the lines of taking someone under your wing and showing them the ropes and a whole bunch of other metaphors like that. I guess I don’t think it has to be specific to your work environment. Just as a small example, i am constantly on the hunt for blogging mentors because it is all very new for me and my skill set doesn’t match up so well with it. Likewise there are a few things that I am feel comfortable with (like presenting) so i try to help out people with this. Just some thoughts of course!

    Very good point regarding the power of blogging and reflecting. You wrote that 10 and 4 are the same thing. Hmm. I guess for me it is possible to be observe without fully reflecting? I guess I am thinking of observing as sort just the starting point of reflecting. I hope this makes sense. I would also say that blogging doesn’t always have to mean reflecting.

    For 11 I didn’t (if i remember exactly) mean a totally new position but something along the line of experimenting with the roles that we have in our classes and schools. Actually, I don’t know what I meant….wait a minute… yes I do. It was something about sometimes we develop by things that we do…but also we develop by changes in our situation. Sort of developing not by something we do (like blogging) but just by what happens to us. Wow, I will stop here before my response is longer than this page itself!

    Thanks again for the comments and best of luck with everything.

    Those of you that are not Mark and are reading this. Here is his (excellent and reflective!) blog:

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    • mikecorea

      Hey wow. I am so glad that this small collection of ideas could be the inspiration for such a great post. Thanks for sharing and thanks for bringing the ideas (generic as they might seem at first) to life!

      • Vicky Loras

        Thank you for the inspiration, Mike! I think that these are so important for all teachers, regardless of their years in the profession, to have in mind. You’re awesome!

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  5. isabelavb

    Hey Mike! I’m preparing an opening plenary to welcome our teachers back tomorrow and will use your materials from this post (with approapriate citations, of course!)
    Thought you’d like to know that!
    Thanks for making my life easier. 🙂

  6. Pingback: Next Step(s) in Professional Development [Workshop Materials] | Teacher Education |
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