Blended and peer approaches to CPD

This talk with Phil Bird, Julie Day and Celine Castelino explores innovative teacher development in the English My Way programme.

About the talk

This presentation draws on our experience of the English My Way programme which has provided meaningful professional development to teachers with little previous training in community organisations across England. The talk demonstrates how a blend of expert, online and peer support allowed us to do this with limited resources. We evaluate the challenges faced, and suggest what lessons can be taken forward by other projects to consider how they plan and manage teaching learning programmes.

Our approach supported mainly inexperienced teachers working in isolation and at centres with limited resources to develop their practice in a network of centres spread across England. Our approach supported teachers both to plan sessions and courses and to better manage lessons themselves. Our talk explores how we addressed the resulting challenges and consider the lessons for future projects both in the UK and globally.

We evaluate our online approaches, considering how to successfully design interactive training modules, webinars, exemplar videos and supportive teachers’ notes. We consider the impact of our online forum and social media communication. We also consider how successfully the limited face-to-face training opportunities were structured to encourage peer support and mentoring relationships as well as promote the use of the online training, building up their 21st-century skills. We show how the use of online approaches helped teachers to take responsibility for their own professional development.

About the speakers:

Phil Bird is an ELT project co-ordinator, editor, writer, trainer and teacher. He has worked as a co-ordinator for the British Council’s English My Way and ESOL Nexus projects and teaches adults and teenagers in London. His website and blog can be found at

Celine Castelino, former Head of ESOL at the Basic Skills Agency, has over 25 years of experience in teaching and development in ESOL. Her work with the British Council includes being Consultant-adviser to the ESOL Nexus project, joint co-ordinator for the ESOL Nexus Offender Learning strand, and Content Editor for the English My Way project.

Julie Day has 30 years’ experience teaching and managing in ESOL/ EFL with learners of all ages in a large FE college, community and work based provision. With 13 years’ experience of line management including very large teams, Julie was responsible for curriculum, quality assurance and maintaining budgets. She led teams during Ofsted inspections judged outstanding.

As British Council Project Manager for English My Way she managed a team to deliver online learner resources plus teacher and volunteer professional development while ensuring the quality of the programme. She also coordinated ESOL Nexus Offender Learning resources. She is currently working as a consultant for Tinder Foundation on English My Way.

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