I must open this blog with an apology. In my last blog I promised that it was the first of a series of blogs about models-based practices but, as they say, something came up. I have lined up David Kirk, Ben Dyson and Peter Hastie to write a guest blog in this series but all are snowed under at present. It was my intention to write an introductory blog on MBP but then an email titled “Professional Development: Needs for a new professional role” hit my inbox. The contents were exciting and made me reconsider what I would write about this week. Why? Because the one voice that seemed to be missing from the discussion were those of teachers and I felt that I wanted to ‘blog’ about the ideas and see how school-based practitioners may feel about the suggestions. So here we go.

In a couple of weeks AIESEP (Association Internationale des Ecoles Supérieures d'Education Physique - International Association for Physical Education in Higher Education) will meet in Spain for its annual conference. One of the conference sessions will explore professional development through an interactive approach (i.e. AIESEP’s website) and will be chaired by Mary O’Sullivan with the help to two panel members: Tom Templin and Ruiz Ruan. What follows is an extract from Mary’s recent email:


“The session is an attempt to use the internet (using AIESEP Website) to stimulate discussion with folks before the conference posing questions, opinions/commentary on the topic in the next several weeks.  I with the panel should summarise these points into some coherent fashion and put it back out of the AIESEP website and invite further commentary.

Let me start by suggesting that there is a new model of professional development required.  Governments in most countries have neither the priority for nor the money to invest in CPD in ways we might wish…and thus we need to develop a more coherent and sustainable model of CPD with teachers at the centre of this enterprise….

Teachers have both a right and a responsibility to engage in professional development…..”

Mary went on to offer a brief summary of AIESEP beliefs on and around CPD:

  • PE teachers have a right and responsibility to be engaged in effective CPD throughout their careers;
  • A key rationale for CPD is enhancing teacher and pupil learning
  • CPD is, fundamentally, about inspiring and sustaining teachers’ professional curiosity.
  • Meaningful CPD relies on shared commitment and collaboration between education stakeholders
  • Appropriate CPD can reduce teacher burn-out and attrition.


The reason for this blog is to ask teachers how they feel about these beliefs about and around CPD. While I would be delighted to hear from physical education teachers I would equally wish to hear from other colleagues in primary, secondary and higher education. Any comments are welcomed and would ask you to pass the link to the blog on and encourage your colleagues and PLN to respond to the question:

How do we create a notion of professional development suited to our modern teaching profession?

Here area selection  of the comments from those involved in a recent discussion:

What forum might be most appropriate for engaging teachers in shared conversations about policy and practices of CPD? – Connie Collier

 What are the repercussions/consequences to physical education and ultimately children if this does not happen? - Melissa Parker

Who facilitates or who gets to facilitate CPD?  Is it solely a position (professor, government hired person) or a disposition (do these people have certain dispositions/beliefs about CPD and if so what are they)? - Melissa Parker

What professional development practices are powerful and sustainable enough to address the issues the confronted by teachers and also impact student learning? – Phillip Ward

Are teachers who engage in meaningful CPD in the minority? – Phillip Ward

Professional learning is no longer centrally about attending courses occasionally throughout a career - although traditional courses can, of course, be useful. Instead, professional learning starts with the day-to-day and continuous diagnosis of children's learning needs, and the professional learning required to meet those needs. In other words, CPD becomes driven from the pedagogical encounter at the centre of teaching/coaching; a day-by-day, lesson-by-lesson process. – Kathy Armour

I think it is crucial  that we recognise the varied school contexts in which physical education is taught. As part of our considerations we need to ensure that those classroom teachers responsible for teaching PE are provided with professional learning opportunities. I feel this is a complex issue to deal with as the learning needs of this group a unique given they are likely to have experienced less PE curriculum/pedagogy learning in their ITE programme, and once they are in schools they are responsible for remaining current across multiple curriculum areas, and also broader PD initiatives. - Kirsten Petrie 

When Ashley presented his work at BERA this autumn I found his notion of action research as a form of professional development both challenging and worth investigating. If we accept Ashley’s premise that action research might be a viable alternative for the more traditional CPD, then I believe we need to determine how to assist pre-service and practicing teachers to experience and value action research in ways that will encourage and assist them in becoming lifelong learners of their own professional development To achieve this we need to develop pedagogy of teacher education that is inclusive of this pursuit and systematically addresses it. – Deborah Tannehill

There likely is a need to place greater emphasis on educating prospective teachers what CPD is, why it is important, what forms it might take. If they don't know what it really is they won't know what to look for. I know that attending one's annual state conference is but a small example, but how important it is to get future teachers going on that front to the point that it becomes habit to take time to attend, participate, and present at that level. - Hans van der Mars

Advocacy: What do we really know about how we might get school administrators to pay more/better attention to what's going on on gym? Yes, in the US they are pressured to direct all resources to Reading and Math because of federal legislation. But there is a substantial body of evidence now on the link between PA/PE and academic achievement that should help us in the fight for weekly curricular time. But how do we get that message out? Someone has to go and connect with these folks.  . - Hans van der Mars

Policy: Perhaps in European countries more headway has been made in terms of influencing policy at the government levels, because of the greater involvement/influence that national governments have in those countries). In the US, PE as a field, is only now slowly recognizing the importance of the role of policy development/change. Slowly there are now mandates being passed for recess, number of minutes of PA and number of minutes of PE in various states. It likely is no different for bringing about increased opportunities for subject matter-specific CPD. . - Hans van der Mars