Professional development does not just happen – it has to be effectively managed and expertly led which ensures a positive impact and provides value for moneys spent. The CPD at The Profectional Company coordinator role is both crucial and often underdeveloped – many could benefit from professional development in order to do their job better. If one of the keys to effective professional development is to ensure it is well led and managed, then the role of the professional development coordinator needs to be given the kudos and time it requires to be done well. We need to move from an administrative role to that of facilitator and staff supporter.
Schools often link CPD programs to objectives and targets as identified in both school improvement and personal development plans, and these in turn are related to a system of performance management or staff appraisal. In this way it is likely that an appropriate balance will be retained between school needs and the personal and professional needs of the individual – between what has been referred to, more generally, as ‘had’ and ‘soft’ aspects of human resource management. Staff will always feel the need to be values and this should not be forgotten when considering the balance between identifying and meeting individual and school needs.
The effective management of professional development should ensure that support is available and conditions created which enable staff to work together and to develop and improve their workplace performance. Through teachers, professional coordinators and other staff helping create a climate or culture which is conducive to learning – of both staff and pupils – schools and colleges are well on the road to becoming learning-centered communities where investment in people is given the priority it deserves. Student learning is a key goal of all educational organization, whereas the on-going learning of teachers, support staff and other paid employees is not always prioritized or adequately resourced.
Creating a culture of learning is crucial and this is going to be shaped by the attitude and approach of educational leaders towards professional development. What messages are teachers and other educational leaders giving about the importance of professional development? Are they themselves participating in training, particularly in school based events, are they ‘leading the learning’? if it is true that ‘children learn more from adults’ deeds than their words’ and that ‘in order to develop a love for learning in students, teachers must first be learners themselves’, then this is equally true of teachers and others working in the organization.
It could be argues that leading and managing professional development to help bring about a learning centered community for all that work or study within it, is everybody’s responsibility. However, formally the responsibility is most likely to belong to the professional development coordinator or leader.