Introducing the English Australia CPD framework

The new English Australia CPD Framework is here! This summary of the launch webinar on August 4, 2016 covers some key info, including the rationale for developing the Framework, how it was developed, and the steps involved in using the Framework.

Why a CPD framework?

There are already many good frameworks out there; however, many are quite broad in scope. English Australia wanted to create one for a more targeted ELICOS teaching context, and to continue raising the standard of teaching throughout this field in Australia.

What value is there in a framework like this?

  • The CPDF curates appropriate resources, housed in one place, which cater for all phases of development, from foundation to expert
  • It provides structured delivery of a variety of PD content, with a system for teachers to document and keep track of PD undertaken
  • It offers guidelines on the recommended amount of PD to be undertaken annually
  • It provides PD for casual/sessional teachers who may migrate between colleges, and offers documented evidence to show to prospective employers
  • It assists academic managers from smaller or less well-resourced institutions to develop an effective in-house PD program, but at the same time it allows for adaptation and customisation

How was the framework developed?

A CPD steering committee was put together, consisting of English Australia member college experts in teacher training and professional development:

  • Sarah Bissell, Griffith Language Institute, Griffith University
  • Jennifer Coster, Monash University English Language Centre
  • Dave Fox, Lexis TESOL Training Centres
  • Clare McGrath, Australian TESOL Training Centre (ATTC / Navitas)

The committee, along with the English Australia CEO and Professional Support and Development Officer, looked at CPD frameworks from other industries as diverse as engineering, logistics and accounting, drawing out ideas which contributed to a number of key elements in the framework, including points and weighting systems.

State-based member consultation sessions were then held in May and June 2016 and finally,  English Australia sought independent advice from a CPD framework expert (Fran Morris) who has also worked across a number of industries.

Framework assumptions

The framework is designed to work in conjunction with in-house PD programs, as English Australia knows there are some fantastic programs already running in colleges. It is hoped it will enhance and add to the pool of resources available to colleges and teachers as well as provide a structure for teachers to keep track of their PD where necessary. Other key aspects to note:

  • The framework uses the European Profiling Grid as a basis to define phases of teacher development
  • It’s designed to support qualified ELICOS teachers
  • It assumes teachers’ development may not be uniform across competencies, but develop at different rates

Content is currently based on English Australia resources and materials as well as selected items from other institutions such as the British Council. An important aspect of the implementation phase will be engaging with colleges, understanding how they’re using the framework and encouraging them to share ideas for activities and content. The framework will not remain static, but will be updated and evolve over time based on feedback from those using it.

How should the framework be used?

The framework includes a range of relevant teaching competencies, including methodology, assessment/feedback, lesson & course planning, time management, classroom interaction, intercultural competence, and digital media. The areas are explored through the 4 phases of competence, with varying resources and activities including webinars, readings and workshops.

Practically speaking, the framework can be approached through a 4-step process:

  1. Teachers’ professional development needs are determined
  2. Teachers match PD needs to resources from the EA CPD framework grid
  3. PD activities are undertaken and recorded after completion
  4. Teachers reflect, discuss, experiment and share

Determining PD needs was identified as a potentially challenging aspect, but a number of approaches are suggested, including self-assessment using the Cambridge English Teacher Development Tracker or undertaking a diagnostic assessment using the e-grid. Teachers can request an indication of their specific development areas from their managers, or use recent observation feedback to inform choices.

CPD points and ongoing actions

Weighting is given to different levels of input and involvement in PD activities and to duration, acknowledging differences between time spent attending or delivering a webinar, for example, and time required to prepare a session yourself. The three weighting categories are: passive, interactive and lead.

Suggested goals for annual CPD points are context-dependent, but the framework offers some general guidelines about how much PD should be undertaken per year. It  is important to note the final stage in the process, where teachers are encouraged to reflect, discuss, experiment and share their learning. Examples of how this could be done include:

  • Teacher/group of teachers attend a workshop or PD event, then:
    • Meet to discuss topics
    • Conduct peer observations on topic
    • Teachers lead workshop for colleagues
  • Teacher/group of teachers choose a webinar to attend:
    • Read articles/discuss topic before
    • Attend and join discussion on English Australia blog
    • Hold own discussion group on topic
    • Developmental observation by academic manager

Future possibilities

The framework grid will be continuously updated with input from users and colleges. Other possibilities for expanding on the framework include:

  • English Australia blog for webinar/workshop discussion (to encourage more active learning, participation, group learning)
  • Record template to be housed on English Australia portal for ease of use (auto-fill some sections, statements of attendance stored, secure) – this is done manually currently
  • Statements of Attendance issued for watching recorded webinars – EA moving to new data system to incorporate this feature
  • Other frameworks for development –management, student services etc.

More info is available at:, and the webinar recording from the launch is available to view on the English Australia YouTube channel. You can also contact or connect on Yammer to discuss this and other PD-related topics.