Teacher Development & Teachers’ Associations

I always say that one of the things I like the most about teaching is that I’m always learning. And I’m quite sure I’m not the only one… We teachers learn a lot not only from our students and from fellow teachers but also from what we read, from conferences we attend, and so on. And this all has got to do with teacher development.

Bell and Gilbert (apud Evans, 2002) state that “teacher development can be viewed as teachers learning, rather than as others getting teachers to change. In learning, the teachers were developing their beliefs and ideas, developing their classroom practice, and attending to their feelings associated with changing”. Thus, teacher development may take a number of different forms such as…

  • keeping journals
  • reflecting on classroom events, on your lesson plans, etc.
  • talking to fellow teachers
  • setting personal priorities and goals
  • attending other teachers’ classes and having other teachers attend your classes (you can read more about classroom observation in this post by Maria Beatriz Magalhães Silva Meneguetti)
  • recording our own classes (you can read more about it in this post by Elaine Hodgson)
  • attending staff meetings
  • reading books, journals, magazines, newsletters, etc.
  • doing action research
  • being part of a SIG or joining a teachers’ group (you can read more about it in this article by Paul Davis)
  • attending conferences, seminars, workshops, courses, etc.
  • taking language courses
  • getting a degree, a certificate, a diploma, an MA, a PhD…
  • writing articles
  • designing materials
  • presenting workshops, papers, etc.
  • having a critical friend (you can learn more about what a critical friend does here)
  • networking and social networking (you can read about Twitter for professional development in this post by Carla Arena)
  • becoming a member of a teachers’ association…

I do believe that teachers’ associations can help us a lot in our search for development. They provide teachers (members and non-members) with a great number of development opportunities. I myself have benefitted a lot from being a member of different teachers’ associations and from being part of APIRS. Moreover, you can be more than just a member – you can become part of a teachers’ association board of directors and help other teachers while developing yourself.

Here you have some information on some international and national teachers’ associations:


  • Brown, H. Douglas. 2007. Teaching by Principles: An Interactive Approach to Language Pedagogy: 3rd edition. White Plains: Pearson Education, Inc.
  • Davis, Paul. What is Teacher Development? Available on the Internet at <> Last accessed on June 01st, 2010.
  • Evans, Linda. What is teacher development? Oxford Review of Education, Vol. 28, No. 1, 2002. Available on the Internet <> Last accessed on June 01st, 2014.
  • Harmer, Jeremy. The Practice of English Language Teaching. Fourth Edition. Essex: Pearson Education Limited, 2007.
  • Ur, Penny. 1996. A Course in Language Teaching: Practice and Theory. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
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Michele Schwertner

Michele Schwertner has been an English teacher for over 25 years. She holds a B.A. in TEFL. She is currently teaching private lessons.

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