Continuing Professional Development (CPD) is an integral part of being a teacher. Like doctors, educators never stop learning. They need to be up to date with the newest teaching methods and lesson ideas. As society is changing, teachers need to keep up with modern times. A top educator (see here the top traits of a great teacher) needs to adapt to their students’ needs and desires in order to provide the most effective lesson. That’s why professional development is so important. Whether it’s webinars, workshops, conferences, courses or training, teachers invest a lot of time and money into becoming the best educators that they can be.
In order to help these amazing and passionate people, I’ve put together a list of sites that offer professional development for teachers in the form of webinars, courses or valuable resources. Most of them are free but some are paid (moderate sums).
FutureLearn is a platform that hosts online courses from Top Universities around the world. They have a wide range of categories, from Business & Management, Health & Psychology to History or Tech & Coding. And, of course, Teaching. Over the years I’ve done quite a few courses on FutureLearn. Some have been enlightening some just O.K but from each course, I walked away with ideas and resources.
You can choose to take a short course which lasts between 2 weeks to 6 weeks. The courses are free, however, if you want to unlock certain features, like testing your understanding or some quizzes, then you have to pay. Also, if you want a diploma that certifies that you have finished the course, that is paid as well. Or you can choose an in-depth online program that will give you the chance to earn an academic or professional credential. These courses last for a few months and like with the short courses, in order to take the final assessment or get the accreditation, you need to pay.
There are also online degree courses, but these are a little bit more expensive, to be honest. Whether you choose the free option or you want to upgrade in order to get a diploma, the courses here are well worth it. The last one I did was Teaching English Online and I have to say that I learned a lot and also gained access to many useful resources.
Coursera is another useful professional development site for teachers. Like FutureLearn, they have many categories to choose from, but obviously, we will focus on teaching. There are quite a few interesting courses available right now with open enrollment so go ahead and take a look.
The last course I did on Coursera was Teaching EFL/ESL Reading: A Task-Based Approach offered by University of London UCL Institute of Education. They suggest 4 to 6 weeks of study in order to complete the course. It’s nice that you get to set your own pace. I put in around 5 to 6 hours weekly and finished the course after 4 weeks. I chose the free version but if you want a certificate at the end of the course you have to pay 43 euros.
There are also specialization courses that you can take like the TESOL Certificate. The course spans over 5 months and it is exclusively done online. It is a paid course but the good news is that you can apply for financial aid.
3. British Council
UK’s international organization has great educational opportunities both for students and teachers. Through the British Council, you can go to face to face workshops and training (some are free some are not) or do online courses. They also have a wealth of resources for teachers as well as interesting articles.
At the bottom of the site, you have a section called ‘Teach English’. There you have several options like Teacher training courses, Teacher resources, Teacher schemes and Apps for Teachers. They are all interesting, so make sure you browse through all.
I constantly keep an eye on BC as they regularly post updates that are useful for teachers. If you are lucky enough to live close to a BC branch then be on the lookout for the face to face workshops which are terrific.
TeachingEnglish has been created by the British Council and it’s rich in resources for teachers. I love this site because all the materials are of high quality and very useful. It is divided into categories: Teaching kids, Teaching teens, Teaching adults, Teacher Development and Training courses. Each category has a wealth of resources, articles, teaching tools, videos and so much more.
You will also find very interesting webinars here. This year’s webinar is Developing Cross-Cultural Awareness in the Monolingual Classroom held by Dr Susan Barduhn. Don’t worry if you’ve missed it as a recording is available. In fact, you will find a library of recordings of the past webinars and the best thing is that they’re completely free.
Another thing that I like about TeachingEnglish is the catalogue of Individual Modules. There are 81 short modules (the recommended study time is only 3 hours) with really interesting titles from different teaching areas. Although there are a few free modules, the majority are paid, but they are not a fortune- 12 pounds/module. You also get a certificate upon completing a module.
If you want to be up to date with the Cambridge exams and access many useful resources then CambridgeEnglish.org is the place. On the first page of the site, you have the following categories to choose from depending on your interests: Exams and tests, Learning English and Teaching English. There is also a blog section which has some interesting articles, and a News and Events section.
In Exams and Tests, you have a list of all the Cambridge Exams and information about each of them. Here you will also find past exam papers, you can book an exam, get information about what should be expected on the exam day and more. It is a very useful section especially if you prepare your students for Cambridge exams or you want to take an exam yourself.
Learning English is a section for students where they can test their level of English. They can prepare for a Cambridge exam by accessing free materials such as sample papers, worksheets, vocabulary lists, and exam guides. Parents will find educational games in English to play with their children.
The Teaching English section is dedicated to teachers and it’s full of great resources. If you want to pursue a higher qualification, you will find information about the CELTA and DELTA exams as well as the TKT modules. There are many free development resources and a lot of support for teaching qualifications for individuals as well as schools and ministries which I think is great. Be sure to check out the courses for teachers and the webinars.
Youtube is a great resource for teachers. From getting lesson plan ideas and fun games to finding good professional development materials. Just type in ‘webinars for teachers’ for example and you’ll get enough results to keep you busy for a while.
With the development of the internet, CPD for teachers has never been easier. However, constantly keep an eye and an ear out for physical workshops or teacher training courses as there is nothing better than connecting to other teaches face-to-face.
I hope that these sites are useful and by all means, if you have other sites that you use for your CPD, please share them in the comment section below.