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Why CPD matters

CPD can be looked at from two different, however, not opposing, perspectives: the one of management, a school owner, a director, a principal; and the one of a teacher. It is in the interest of both parties to have a solid, suitable and efficient CPD programme in place, which should be in the hands of a competent, qualified person, may it be a director of studies, principal, director of programmes or whatever the title they may carry, who will be able to combine and satisfy the interests of both the institution and of the teachers.
Looking at CPD from the perspective of a school owner, manager, principal or director of studies it can be said that a CPD programme is developed out of a sheer school need to enhance its overall quality in order to achieve a more favourable and firmer position on the market in the long run. This arises from the school belief in quality as a factor which gives it a competitive advantage on the market. Overall school quality needs to be firmly rooted in every single branch of the school activity: staff qualifications, administrative services, premises and equipment, administrative and management processes, teaching and learning materials, teaching itself, amount of teacher autonomy, respect for student, stimulating teaching programmes which take students to a certain level in the shortest possible time (if that is required), in the most suitable way using appropriate approaches and methods for the level, age and mentality of students.
What are the teacher needs in this context? These cover all the areas which enable and empower a teacher to perform better in a given teaching environment. For state schools teachers these needs may be a bit different from private language school ones. In a private language school context teachers may be more interested in exploring ways of prompting discussion, expressing opinion, deeper vocabulary analysis, classroom management, elicitation techniques, work on the pronunciation, error correction, assessment, standardisation, enhancing the use of language and making learning more efficient in an already well organised class, as well as other more subtle topics.
In a private language school context the quality of teaching is reflected in the overall success of the school. Therefore it is important that a quality CPD programme empowers teachers to perform better, to develop further both as linguists and as pedagogues, to teach and to entertain, to use technology confidently, to experiment under a good guide - in order to teach with enthusiasm and make learners enthusistic about learning foreign languages.

Irena Žiger, prof.                                                                                                                                                                                 Stručni savjetnik                                                                                                                                                                                          Škola stranih jezika - Žiger                                                                                                                                                                       Varaždin

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