CPD and a cup of tea in the sunshine: go on, give it a go!

On Friday, we had a really fantastic CPD session. It was such a very simple idea, yet worked so effectively – well done, our DoS!

I really think all schools should incorporate this idea, or variations on it, if they can, from time to time (perhaps once or twice a term, depending on term length), so I thought I’d write about it here, for others to try.


Sets of questions relating to teaching, professional development and career paths (e.g. about recent good lessons, bad lessons, favourite activities, recently used activities, memorable students, courses you’ve done, courses you’d like to do, how you got into ELT etc etc – the possibilities are endless!)


As long as you have! – Whatever time allocation you have for workshops.


  • Put the kettle on. Allow teachers to get their tea/coffee and biscuits.
  • Put your teachers into small groups.
  • Let everybody sit around little tables (sunshine optional but much preferred!).
  • Give each group a set of questions and encourage them to discuss these together.
  • Change sets of questions periodically, change groupings periodically.
  • Repeat until questions/time have run out!

Yes, it’s that simple. 🙂


CPD in the garden! 🙂 Photo taken from en.wikipedia.org via google search for images licensed for commercial reuse with modification.


  • Time to talk: never underestimate the value of time set aside for talking: though you could argue talking about classes etc happens in the staffroom, generally that is amidst lesson planning, admin and the usual 101 things to do. It was really nice to be able to just…talk! And learn from each other. The combined experience and knowledge in a team of staff is huge and varied, so time focused exclusively on tapping that was time well spent.
  • Increased motivation: we all felt rather up-lifted by the end! The atmosphere after the session was relaxed and happy, with us all feeling enthusiastic despite it being Friday and therefore the end of a long week – a real morale booster.
  • New ideas: talking to people about things they’ve done is a great way to collect some new things to try and to think about things you might not have thought about otherwise.
  • Reflection: Having to discuss your answers to the questions encourages you to reflect on them, and reflecting on your teaching/learning/development etc is always beneficial.

To all the DoS’s out there: It’s  well worth giving it a go! And a really good use of 1.5hrs of INSET training time.


12 thoughts on “CPD and a cup of tea in the sunshine: go on, give it a go!

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