The iTDi Principles


The iTDi Principles 

At iTDi, we share a dream of providing quality professional development for all teachers that is meaningful, accessible and affordable. We also share a vision of a vibrant global community of teachers, helping one another to become better teachers. Each of us brings different skills and talents to help make this dream and vision a reality in the International Teacher Development Institute (iTDi).

From our beginning two years ago, two principles have defined our vision:

Anything I can do, we can do better.

Whatever the problem, community is the answer.

Community has certainly been our answer. As we’ve worked to make iTDi a reality, our community has grown and helped us gain a better understanding of what these two principles mean in practice. As we open our doors to the world, it seems appropriate to share with you what we have come to believe about education and professional development and we now call the iTDi Principles.

1. Every teacher matters
The iTDi community is full of teachers studying side by side from all around the world. They come from every conceivable teaching context, with a full range of resources, support, and compensation. We’re all on a similar journey of development and we all have something of value to share with others. All teachers deserve equal respect.

2. We can always become better teachers
It doesn’t matter what your first language is or what qualifications you currently have. In other words, it doesn’t matter where you come from; it matters where you want to go. There is always something new that we can learn.

3. We learn better together
Teachers are perfectly capable of directing their own professional development. We have also learned, though, that there is real power in learning together. It can be more effective, it provides just the right amount of pressure to get more things done, and it can be entirely more enjoyable than working alone. When we succeed at learning together, we become even better with our successes.

4. Every teacher deserves access to professional development
Teachers who want to become better teachers should have the opportunity to do so. Teachers can’t always afford the time or money to travel to conferences or to enroll in degree or certificate courses. Professional development must be of the highest quality, accessible from remote locations, and affordable to all.

5. We are all learners
Although members of the iTDi faculty have years of experience in various areas of expertise, we are also ongoing learners. We expect to learn from the teachers who join our courses. You have unique insights and experiences to share, and your contribution to our community is invaluable. Every voice matters. We are all on the same journey as teachers and learners.

6. We can all be leaders
We fully believe all teachers have the potential to become leaders for other teachers in their communities. We’ve seen this happen again and again, as teachers become not only leaders within their own local communities, but within the international education community as well. Leadership is possible for anyone willing to make the effort.

7. Community works
Being a member of a safe, caring community helps us grow as teachers and as people. The relationships we foster within our community provide us with powerful growth opportunities as we mentor and nurture each other.

8. Education leads to change
As we grow both professionally and personally within our community, and as we become better teachers, we change. We change not only ourselves and the way we teach but we can also have a positive impact on those around us: our students, our colleagues, our schools, and our local communities.

9. Education matters
The best way to change the world for the better is to provide quality education for all learners. The best way to do this is to give all teachers the opportunity to become the best teachers they can be. If we do this, we really can change the world.

10. Together, we can change the future
We strengthen our teaching profession by making sure that all teachers have the opportunity to participate in professional development. At iTDi, we believe that the best way to do this is to work together in a community built on an atmosphere of mutual respect, caring, and trust; to take responsibility for our own professional development and to make this community the first step in making positive change for learners everywhere.

All of us share this vision and affirm these principles. It is no longer just a dream. It is iTDi. We invite you to join us, work side by side with us, and help us continue to shape iTDi into all that it can be. We truly are better when we work together.

If you would like to work with us, click here to sign up as a new member of the iTDi Community. As a member, you can connect with other teachers, post in community forums,  and try a couple of free lessons. When you are ready to go further by investing in a lesson from our Teacher Development or English For Teachers courses, we’ll be there to work with you and show you how we put these principles into practice.

For teachers by teachers, iTDi

Scott, Chuck, Barb and Steven

Scott Thornbury
Scott Thornbury
Academic Director

Chuck Sandy
Chuck Sandy
Community Director

Barbara Hoskins Sakamoto
Barbara Sakamoto
EFT Program Director

Steven Herder
TD Program Director

PS: “Don’t be fooled by my name on the post. In this case, it simply means I uploaded it. It was a real pleasure working with Scott, Chuck, and Barb on this post. Chuck sent around the original draft of these principles, and we finally found the right words for this set of shared principles which we all deeply believe. Working in this collaborative manner is one of the things I love about iTDi.” – Steven 

Published by

Steven Herder

Steven has been teaching within the Japanese EFL context since 1989. Having over 20 years teaching experience at the elementary and secondary school level, he is currently an associate professor in the International Studies department at Doshisha Women’s College of Liberal Arts. He is also extremely active in professional development within the ELT community. He co-founded MASH Collaboration in 2007, an online community devoted to professional development through collaboration. He is an avid user of Skype and can often be heard saying, “Collaboration creates just the right amount of tension to get lots done.” He also spends time editing numerous articles, academic volumes and proceedings, and leading teacher training seminars for various companies throughout Japan. Steven works from the perspective that, “being a teacher means a never-ending commitment to learning”.

19 thoughts on “The iTDi Principles”

  1. Hello everyone!

    I think that you have smartly synthesize our thoughts. In the place where I work and I may generalize to other contexts in my country, we’ll need to work on rpinciples 3, 4 and 7. There aren’t may opportunities for professional development nor sharing sessions where we as teachers who are immersed in the teaching reality, could offer one another some advice to help our students in every aspect of life. Specially, topics relating to the learner’s persona. Money or time may be a barrier but there are ways to share without spending money. Technology may be an assest in this case. Yet again, this is viable only if the community works as one. I may say it sounds as an utopia on most occasions.

  2. I wish to join this group of learned Professionals of iTDi , be a part of this learning process by maintaining the sanctity & professional decorum.

    Thanking you !

    Peace & Much Respect ,

    Anita Tiwari

    English Teacher & a Learner

  3. Interested. 30+ years as a teacher, consultant, school administrator and ESL instructor at a post secondary institute.

  4. Pingback: iTDi: A Online CoP
  5. Hello everyone!
    I’ve been an EFL teacher , trainer and lately a coach (over 40 ys on the road already!) but have never taken an online course. Joining this iTDI online course will be my main professional challenge this semester. Still feeling very insecure about my technological skills and speed rate when doing work using a computer; however, willing to break those fears and expand. So excited about joining this community!
    Eneida Coaracy

  6. I am very pleased to have found iTDi because it was always difficult to access quality professional development while working as a private tutor.
    Many of the professional development courses were held at inopportune times, or the cost was prohibitive, or the prerequisite qualification requirements were a barrier (despite my having taught hundreds of students over 18 years!).
    I think all teachers should be working on their teaching methods and style to help them stay interested and to keep students engaged.
    On my pamphlets that I have handed out to students and parents since 1996, L.T.L. Tutoring’s Philosophy is that “Learners are teachers, and teachers are learners.”
    I hope to learn a lot from iTDi – and I hope to share my knowledge as well.

  7. I strongly agree with iTDi principles. I as a teacher started working without any help or support. I had no coursebooks or clear guidlines to help me design materials for my learners. I spent so many years working without any form of teacher develoment to an extend that my job became mechanical and without life. I stopped enjoing what I was doings for many years. Then everything changed when our ministry and British Council Tunisia worked in partnership to train us in Cambrige TKT. I learned new ideas, activities, theories that changed my mind about my job and how I can be an effective English teacher. I understood how important working with others, exchanging ideas,sharing materials and learning from each others experiences can help. So yes I strongly agree that a teacher can do better if helping and being helped.

  8. A long time ago I registered to create a course on wiziq, but I never actually did that. I never closed my account, though, and it was the best thing I ever did not do…thanks to WIZIQ I knew about iTDi, and about the Summer School. Knowing that there are tenths of teachers like me all over the world, and the way we are sharing information, knowledge, ideas, websites, activities, proves the principles of WE can do better, and community is the answer. I work as a teacher trainer in ICT, and I know for a fact that professional development is the key to the change in Education, because education is what matters…with education we will change the world, and in Mexico education has been compromised for decades. And we, TODAY’S teachers are the ones preparing the next generations so they can make this a better world.

    Thank you for this amazing opportunity to know iTDi,

    Queralt Comellas

  9. We can grow and be better teachers, that’s no doubt, as sharing and learning together with no string attatched is a god sent gift to humanity taken form as iTDi today. I have worked in quite a rew Institutes here in Venezuela for quite a few years and to tell you the truth all along there is a gross egoism in place as many teachers in a work place see the others as a competition in taking away their job or position. Being here makes it all so easy to do what we can do best – sharing. Thanks guys.

  10. This is so inspiring. I agree with all these principles. We can all be better teachers if we work together and share knowledge.

  11. Thank God there’s iTDi, so teachers can develop themselves by learning from others. I truly believe that if we work together, we can be better teacher. I’ve never joined any teachers community before, and so I’m really glad that now I am. I wish to learn so much from iTDi.

  12. I strongly believe in those principles but also have to point out that in my surroundings not many teachers are ready to share and not many teachers can afford attending seminars and workshops that cost. Also, for a while we had a teachers’ association, and its goal was to help teachers improve their teaching skills, develop, but in the end it stopped functioning due to the lack of money and support.

  13. Hello Everyone

    I do not know what to say. I am really impressed by the itdi principles. I am attending itdi summer school mooc on wiziq. This is my first time of attending online webinars. A new world of learning for me. I would definitely continue with it in future.


  14. Hi, everybody. I’m happy to join this new community. I totally agree with the iTDi Principles, especially with n. 5 (We are all learners). Although I have been teaching for more than 30 years, I have always thought that teachers are always learning!
    Even principle 7. (Community works) is relevant. Only caring and sharing knowledge is the best way to build and grow especially as people!

  15. I do believe that “no man is an island” and strongly support the principles set out by iTDi above. In particular, principle 2, ” We can always become better teachers” really motivates me as I do want to become the best teacher I can be.

    I do feel that teacher collaboration forums are an ideal way of becoming better teachers as we can share our ideas with and learn from other professionals that experience similar challenges to us.

    Thanks for setting up this valuable forum.

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