Neil Ballantyne's blog

EnglishAgenda: a web resource for continuing professional developmentEllen Darling gave us an interesting overview of the continuing professional development materials available on the British Council's EnglishAgenda website. She talked about resources for managers and teachers, including podcasts about ELT innovations, webinars on subjects such as How to become a materials writer and Developing coaching and mentoring skills, as well as seminar recordings covering a variety of themes by presenters, such as David Crystal and Michael Swan.
In the second half of her talk she presented some useful ideas on how to approach professional development, quoting Sir Dominic Cadbury, who said 'There's no such thing as a career path. It's crazy paving, and you have to lay it yourself."
She raised the point that teachers and professionals need to identify development needs by looking at their own teaching, or by using existing teaching competency profiles in order to give their development a clear direction. She stressed how important it was for teachers to build up personal learning networks either online or within their staffroom in order to get input from others on their questions and ideas. She finished with an example of a teacher using the EnglishAgenda website to search for continuing development materials about 'special needs' and demonstrating how they might create an action plan, involving classroom practice and reflection.
She concluded by recommending that teachers think of where they would like to be in their careerin 5 years' time and use that to help them identify the smaller steps they need to take  to get there. A very informative and useful session. Link to presentation:
https://www.dropbox.com/s/bqmxswlkjlk9xgj/IATEFLHARROGATEfinal.pptx