It is increasingly recognized that opportunities for continuing professional development (CPD) are needed to support teaching as lifelong learning, and that if these incorporate a nurturing bottom-up approach, this is more likely to lead to teacher empowerment. However, top-down approaches, including formal courses and workshops on predetermined topics that may not relate to teachers’ needs and interests, are still common in many national contexts, including the focus of this study, the Republic of Macedonia. Drawing on qualitative data elicited through a survey of Macedonian English language teachers, we explore teachers’ cognitions regarding CPD and consider the extent to which these are aligned with government policy. Findings suggest that excessive top-down CPD can be demotivating, even in a context where some teachers may conceptualize CPD as essentially a top-down process. Recommendations are made for awareness-raising among teachers as to the benefits of bottom-up CPD and the inclusion of bottom-up strategies in teacher education.