Understanding continuing professional development: the need for theory to impact on policy and practice

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This article reflects on my 2005 article in this journal, entitled ‘Models of Continuing Professional Development: a framework for analysis’. Having been invited to reflect on the original article as part of Professional Development in Education’s 40th anniversary celebrations, I have taken the opportunity not only to reflect on the structure and content of the original framework, but also to position it within the current state of literature in the area of teacher professional learning. In so doing, this article proposes an updated framework for analysis, focusing more explicitly on the purpose of particular models than the categorisations of the models themselves. It then goes on to expand on this by considering how various aspects of continuing professional development policies might be analysed according to what they reveal about underlying perspectives on professionalism. The article concludes with some thoughts on how theory about teacher professional learning might better help us to understand policy and impact positively on practice.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)688-697
Number of pages10
JournalProfessional Development in Education
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2014


  • teacher professional learning; continuing professional development;
  • continuing professional development
  • CPD


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