One of the hallmarks of being identified as a professional is to continue to learn throughout a career. The professionals broadly defined, now cover over 20 per cent of the work force – more if the managers are included – and most are employed in large companies or the public sector. They range from the well-established and the powerful to those who are still trying to establish their professional status. The strongest are those of over 80 professions regulated by law, public authority and royal charter, where membership become the phrase widely used for on-going education and training for the professions, whilst ‘workforce development’ is the more general term. If teaching is seen as a profession – and a case for this has long been argues – an important characteristic of a professional is the commitment he/she shows towards improving one’s self and aim towards personal and professional development. The prime responsibility for securing individual and professional development opportunities must be available for all individuals to help them become better practitioners in their chosen field.
But what do we mean by the term CPD in Hong Kong and is it different from personal development or staff development or in-service education and training? On a generic note, continuing professional development includes formal as well as informal learning that helps individuals to become experts in their chosen field. Professional development is a subset of personal development and if and when possible they should be complementary to each other. The former is mainly about occupational role development, whereas personal development is about the development of the person, often the ‘whole’ person, and it almost always involves changes in self-awareness.
Continuing professional development is an on-going process building upon initial teacher training and induction, including CPD programs. At different times and at different stages one or other may be given priority, but the totality can be referred to as continuing professional development. Development – as noted earlier – is about improvement, both individual and school improvement.
Continuing professional development embraces those education, training and support activities https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Professional_development engaged in by teachers following their initial certification aims to build their professional knowledge; enhance their professional skills; help them gain professional values; and enable them to educate their pupils more effectively.
It is clear that long gone are the days when initial training and induction were seen as a total or final preparation for a career in teaching; nowadays they have to be seen as merely providing a platform on which further or continuing professional development will be built. Nevertheless, the initial period in teaching is crucial as the experience of the first year is most formative. There is therefore a need to set high expectations and standard when there is the greatest receptiveness and willingness to learn and develop.