General Teaching Council for Wales chief executive Gary Brace has said that for teachers to be "at the top of their game" they must be "lifelong learners".
Writing for Wales Online, Mr Brace said that a focus on training and continuing professional development is key in order for teachers to be able to raise their status as professionals and head off the kind of criticisms levelled at them in recent weeks.
The expert highlighted Liberal Democrat education minister David Laws' suggestion last week that many teachers are failing to encourage their pupils to succeed.
"There is still much work to be done to give the profession the status it needs in order to deflect constant criticism [it receives]," Mr Brace observed.
Mr Brace said that lifelong learning enables those in teaching jobs to pick up new ideas and techniques as they emerge and share good practice with their peers, from whom they are often isolated on a day-to-day basis.
"Teachers need to be challenged and refreshed constantly in order to avoid the risk of going stale or losing motivation," he said.
In order to improve, Mr Brace said teachers need the support of their school, which may include time off and funding to aid their learning, and the chance to get involved in professional learning communities (PLCs).
PLCs see professionals coming together to focus on specific areas of teaching in which they can improve. The Welsh government has identified three key priority areas for PLCs: literacy, numeracy and tackling disadvantage.
Mr Brace also called for the full implementation of the Chartered Teacher programme, which gives teachers professional recognition for their achievements.
"[This would] help provide … a focus for practitioners as they progress through their careers and would give them the recognition they deserve, irrespective of whether they seek promotion within the school leadership structure," he explained.
Posted by Charlotte Michaels