New Years’s resolutions: continuous professional development

The beginning of a new year usually gets us thinking about the plans that we want to make, improvements that we wish to promote and changes that we would like to witness in our personal lives. It is therefore the perfect opportunity to devise actions to ensure growth in the professional realm too. In this first post of mine, I would like to invite you to reflect upon your New Year’s resolutions with a special focus on professional development.

As English teachers, we need to constantly look for ways to learn more about the language itself, enhance our repertoire of teaching techniques, deepen our understanding of the theories behind the acquisition of a foreign language and expand our professional network. However, we all know how difficult it can be to find the time to engage in new activities since our schedule is usually crazy! Our tendency is to postpone the investment in ourselves until later – sometimes when it is already too late. As a consequence, the need to organize our lives to create opportunities for professional development becomes greater. And the arrival of a new year might be the perfect moment to sit down and plan how exactly we will make it happen.

There are several courses for English teachers in the market. Some will focus on language, others will prepare us for exams and some revolve around methodology and specific teaching skills. It is important to look at our professional history and career objectives in order to select the most appropriate course for us. After having chosen what knowledge and experience will add more value to our practice, we should then look at the alternatives and decide where we want to enrol. Another important criterion to be taken into account is the kind of investment that we are willing to make – both in terms of time and money. Some courses are reasonably priced whereas others will demand higher investments. The same thing happens to time – there are fairly short courses but there are longer ones too. Overall, the most important thing is to choose the kind of commitment that you are willing to make quite carefully before embarking on these waters. We don’t want to realize that we have bitten more than we can chew in the middle of a training programme.

But professional development is not limited to taking courses. There are many other strategies, techniques and initiatives that can help us become more effective practitioners. We can create learning communities, get involved with new projects, write journals or embrace new challenges. What really matters is that we keep pushing ourselves towards further learning in order to provide our students with better education. Accepting to contribute to this great blog is one of my own New Year’s resolution – a different challenge that I believe – and hope – will push me forward and allow me to contribute to my community. What are your plans?

Vinicius Nobre

Vinicius Nobre (Vinnie) is the Academic Manager at Associação Cultura Inglesa São Paulo. He is also a CELTA and ICELT tutor, a Pearson Longman author and former president of BRAZ-TESOL. Email:

  • Cintia Zaitune
    Posted at 17:24h, 09 janeiro Responder


    Interesting thoughts to begin the year! I myself haven’t got any plans yet, but after reading this I will. I like what you said about strategies and initiatives. Thanks for sharing! It’s great to have you here! Cheers!

    • Vinicius Nobre
      Vinicius Nobre
      Posted at 23:38h, 12 janeiro Responder

      Thank YOU for your kind words and support, Cintia! Looking forward to seeing you again soon. Happy 2014!

  • Julio Dutra
    Posted at 19:06h, 09 janeiro Responder


    Very nice thoughts of yours. When coming to Professional development there comes a time that many people think they already know enough and in reality there is a lot more to deepen in terms of teaching and also language awareness.

    Everything we need is just one step ahead!

    I was very inspired by you thoughts.


    Julio Dutra

    • Vinicius Nobre
      Vinicius Nobre
      Posted at 23:39h, 12 janeiro Responder

      Dear Julio, thank you so much for your comment. I’m really glad to know that you enjoyed the post. Happy 2014!

  • Carolina Ichiyama
    Posted at 19:42h, 09 janeiro Responder

    It’s 2014 and you keep on inspiring us! How great! I love this idea of improving what is already good, as we can always get better and it moves us forward 🙂
    For me, 2014 will be a moment of embracing a new challenge. Fingers crossed!

    • Vinicius Nobre
      Vinicius Nobre
      Posted at 23:40h, 12 janeiro Responder

      Carol dear, thank you very much for your comment!! I wish you the very best in the new challenges that you are about to embrace. May 2014 be a fantastic year!!!

  • Samuel Júnior
    Posted at 23:44h, 09 janeiro Responder

    Hey Vinnie,

    It was very nice to read this post of yours. It sure is quite important to spend some time not only focusing on our personal lives, but also thinking about our professional ones.

    Thanks for inspiring me too and may 2014 provide us with such great development in our lives (personal and professional ones).

    All the very best,

    Samuel Júnior

    • Vinicius Nobre
      Vinicius Nobre
      Posted at 23:42h, 12 janeiro Responder

      Thank you, Samuel!! I’m really glad you enjoyed the post and took the time to write. I wish you a year fills with success, happiness and, of course, professional development. 😉

  • Tati Casoria
    Posted at 02:01h, 10 janeiro Responder

    Always nice to be encouraged to keep up with our work and find new materials, sharing with pals and taking courses.
    You know you are an inspiration for me! Always will be


  • Vinicius Nobre
    Vinicius Nobre
    Posted at 23:43h, 12 janeiro Responder

    Dear Tati,
    You’re always very kind and supportive. Thank you so much for always giving me so much hope through your enthusiasm and commitment. Wishing you a great new year!!!!

  • Vinicius Nobre
    Vinicius Nobre
    Posted at 23:44h, 12 janeiro Responder

    Dear Tati,
    You’re always so kind and supportive. Thank you so much for always giving me so much hope through your enthusiasm and commitment. Wishing you a great new year!!!!

  • Catarina Bonança Lopes
    Posted at 11:17h, 13 janeiro Responder

    Vinnie, always inspiring!!! Loved your text! You make me want to be a better professional! Thank you! This is definitely part of my resolutions!

    • Vinicius Nobre
      Vinicius Nobre
      Posted at 23:03h, 13 janeiro Responder

      Cata!!! Lovely to see you here. Thank you so much for your kind comments! Miss you. xxx

  • Hugo
    Posted at 14:35h, 13 janeiro Responder

    Great resolution Vinnie. I believe continuous learning is increasingly important to the success of any organization. At the individual level, for those of us who invest the time and effort to learn more about our own profession, we sharpen and upgrade our skills — and even acquire new ones which can result in making us more competitive, more relevant, and better prepared to do our jobs. Thanks for sharing.

  • Vinicius Nobre
    Vinicius Nobre
    Posted at 23:04h, 13 janeiro Responder

    Thanks for your post, Hugo!! I couldn’t agree with you more. Happy 2014!

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