Thursday, 4 April 2013

Developing as a Manager

This was the title of the first in a series of monthly CPD webinars hosted by the British Council.  You can read more about the programme here.

This webinar was presented by Loraine Kennedy and what follows is a summary of what she had to say.

What is CPD?

Loraine began with a couple of definitions:

'CPD is ...... the planned acquisition of knowledge, experience and skills, and the development of personal qualities necessary for the execution of professional and technical duties throughout one's working life.'

'CPD seeks to formalise what most professionals are already doing, enabling development to be structured in a way that meets both their own needs and the requirements of their employer.'
(Chartered Insurance Institute)

The emphasis here is on continuation.  CPD is not the same as training.  CPD can be done at work.  You don't have to attend training sessions in order to develop.

What is learning?

Learning is acquiring new knowledge, skills, behaviours, values, preferences or understanding, and may involve synthesising different types of information.

Sometimes, learning is seen in a negative way - that it is needed to overcome some shortfall in knowledge.  It really shouldn't be looked at like this.  Rather, learning should be seen as an adventure - a journey to improve ourselves.

Questions the learning manager will ask themselves
  • Why do I bother with CPD?
  • Am I as good as I could be at my job?
  • Do I portray the characteristics of a lifelong learner, or have I become set in my ways?
  • What do I need to learn?
  • How can I best develop?
  • Do I lead by example when it comes to learning?
We know that, generally, we learn more quickly when we are beginners.  Remember back to when you first learned a foreign language or how to play a musical instrument.  Learning becomes more laborious as we progress.  However, it's important to continue to develop.  After all, the only constant in life is change!

Why bother with CPD?
  • so that we know and understand ourselves better - to develop our self-awareness.
  • to develop our competence.  We need to know that we are doing our job to the best of our ability.  We need to become an expert at what we do.
  • for career development.  We need to be ready for any changes the future may throw at us.
What's to learn?

As an academic manager or DOS, we're in charge of a range of task types:
  • resources
  • curriculum
  • people
  • ourselves
  • environment
  • communications
  • procedures
  • money
  • quality
  • performance and development of staff
We need to fill the gaps between where we are now and where we want to be in the future.  What we need to learn involves skills, knowledge and behaviours.


This is what we need to do well.  Examples might include:
  • Use of technology
  1. Excel
  2. PowerPoint
  3. Publisher

  • Managing processes
  1. Chairing meetings
  2. Negotiation skills
Skills are often developed through attending training courses.


What we need to know or find out.  For example:
  • Know yourself
  • Know what others think of you - your strengths and areas for development
  • The theory behind management practice
  • Research
  • What the experts say
  • Published literature

Who you are and how you do things.  How people perceive you.
  • your actions and interactions
  • the way you say things
  • the way you do things
  • the way you write things
Learning is about developing all three - skills, knowledge and behaviours.

ELT Manager Competencies
  1. Analysis
  2. Customer service
  3. Delegation
  4. Developing people
  5. Empowerment
  6. Leadership
  7. Initiative
  8. Judgement
  9. Managing work
  10. Interpersonal skills
  11. Quality management
  12. Maximising performance
  13. Negotiation
  14. Oral communication
  15. Written communication
  16. Resilience
  17. Persuasiveness
  18. Planning and organising
  19. Energy and drive
Within each competency, there are:
  • skills you can develop
  • knowledge you can attain
  • behaviours you can learn and adopt
You could spend several weeks just looking at leadership, for example.

How to 'do' your CPD as a manager

1. Take courses
  • Certificate in ELT Management
  • Diploma in ELT Management (Module 3, DELTA)
  • MSc/Dip Educational Management in TESOL
  • Diploma in ELT Management, validated by Trinity College, London, administered by English UK
  • International Diploma in Language Teaching Management
2.  Read

Educational Management Books:
4.  Attend conferences and workshops
  • IATEFL (online if you can't attend in person)
  • English UK Management conference
5.  Do CPD online

There are numerous free webinars available online.

6.  Do your CPD 'on the job' - Action Learning
  • Focus on real problems and on implementing solutions.
  • Learning = programmed knowledge (what you think is right) + questioning insight.
  • Work with small groups to provide challenge and support.
  • The process:
  1. research - into what is obscure
  2. learning - about what is unknown
  3. action - to resolve a problem
  • Questioning and reflection help individuals and organisations change themselves in a rapidly changing world.
Experiential Learning


  • Learning is a process.  
  • Change is needed for learning to have occurred.  
  • Learning results in new knowledge.  
  • For learning to result in knowledge, information has to be reflected on and digested, used in action, and integrated into the person's way of seeing the world.
Reflective Practice

This is a form of experiential learning.

Reflective practice is 'the capacity to reflect on action, so as to engage in a process of continuous learning.'

Reflective practice involves 'paying critical attention to the practical values and theories which inform everyday actions by examining practice reflectively and reflexively.  This leads to developmental insight.'

Learning Interventions

These are all the different ways we can use 'on the job' learning to develop.  (This is not an exhaustive list!)

Performance management

  • objectives
  • best practice
  • QA
  • new projects
  • cross-team meetings
  • feedback mechanisms
  • discussion time
  • slogans, stories, humour
  • job sharing
  • job shadowing
  • team work
  • delegation/ownership
  • projects
  • outcome/impact - not process
  • PD objectives
  • observations
  • mentoring
  • reading
  • training needs analysis
  • in-service training
  • external training
  • external qualifications
  • conferences
  • webinars
  • online forums
Everything you do is a learning opportunity!!

  1. Find time to think, to reflect and to discuss.  Discussion is very important - if you keep something to yourself, you don't learn effectively.
  2. Reflect on the skills, knowledge and behaviours you need for your day-to-day work and for your career advancement.
  3. Develop your self-awareness - know what you're good at and what you can get better at.
  4. Set simple, achievable action points and targets.
  5. Take it one step at a time, and keep the steps small.
  6. Actively seek learning opportunities.
  7. Tap into what motivates you.
  8. Seek a mentor or coach, or a peer group - people to have learning conversations with.
  9. Seek honest, constructive feedback on your performance at work.
  10. Join a learning network or build your own.
  11. Keep aware of the world around you (through TED talks, for example).
  12. Review your CV regularly.
  13. Learning builds your competence and, thus, your confidence.
  14. CPD needn't cost anything!

1 comment:

  1. Thank you, Andrea, for the excellent and clear article! I love your approach!