Professional Development Leads To Professional Growth – Learning can take place in formal or informal settings. Formal settings include conferences, courses, seminars, retreats and workshops. Informal opportunities for teacher professional development include independent research or investigation, peer learning initiatives or even just chatting with a colleague in the staff room.Professional development for teachers takes place on a number of different levels: district-wide, among teachers in a given school, or even on a classroom or individual basis.
What is Teacher professional development?
Teacher’s professional developments can be described as overall learning new courses and skills which would be beneficial for them as well as for students. In short it is one way teachers can improve their skills and, in turn, boost student outcomes. Professional development for teachers takes place on a number of different levels: district-wide, among teachers in a given school, or even on a classroom or individual basis.
Why is Teacher’s professional development necessary?
- It encourages the success of new teachers
Professional development can help new and experienced teachers develop the skills they need to feel confident in the classroom. Effective professional development helps teacher’s shape career-long learning.
- It promotes a growth mindset
Teacher professional development encourages teachers to be active participants in their own learning, and ensures that students and teachers alike are eager to learn. When you provide learning and support for your teachers, you communicate that the school community values the work they do and wants them to grow.
How to make Teachers professionally engaging and effective?
It’s obvious that good teachers are better at teaching students effectively. When teachers have access to continuous learning opportunities and professional development resources, they’re better equipped to become good teachers — especially if their students have learning needs or are performing below or above grade level.
- Make it easy and specific
Every teacher faces unique classroom challenges and comes to work each morning with a different set of skills.Give teachers a choice about what or how they learn. Give different options for workshops or courses they can take.
If you can’t offer different options, keep the topic simple. Go for depth instead of breadth, and make sure that teachers come away from the session with all the information they need to start using it in the classroom.
There are a number of ways to make teacher professional development more specific. To begin, use tools like Google Forms to collect information on what teachers want to learn more about, and feedback on the effectiveness of past sessions. Other options include:
- Divide teachers up into groups based on grade level or subject area.
- Make sure it’s a topic that feeds into your school’s overall educational goals.
- Pair teachers up to develop an interdisciplinary teaching activity.
Make teachers feel efficient
Most teachers will tell you they don’t enjoy being treated like students — they’re educated professionals who are there to develop an existing, unique and powerful skill set.
In this scenario, it’s unlikely that the session is going to have a meaningful impact or inspire change in the classroom. A lack of engagement is just as fatal for teachers as it is for students.
- Ask hands-on learners to demo relevant software
- Have teachers who prefer to work collaboratively brainstorm with colleagues for subject-specific ways to introduce technology into the classroom
- Give a teacher who’s already tried blended learning techniques an opportunity to share her successes and challenges
Embed it into the teaching process
At some level, professional development is always going to cost money for your school and district. But you can control one of the other major costs: your teachers’ time. Effective learning doesn’t take place in an afternoon, and often teachers and administrators struggle to fit teacher professional development opportunities around actually teaching.
- Deepen subject knowledge.
- Break it up.
- Start peer coaching activities.
Personalize teacher learning with a Professional Development Plan
A Professional Development Plan sets out individual learning goals for educators on a short-term or long term basis, and gives clear steps for achieving them.
Sit down with educators in your school and determine what factors should influence their individual plans:
- · What subject do they teach?
- What age range?
- Are they happy in their current position? Where do they want to move in the future?
- What do they need to learn to make that happen?
Start small, and slowly grow your efforts. When you provide accessible, engaging and supportive teacher professional development opportunities, everyone in your school succeeds.
The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires.― William Arthur Ward
By Ruchika pareek