The teaching force is every school system’s most precious asset.
Moreover, the most critical investment districts, schools, school boards, administrators, and parents can make to enhance the schooling system is making sure that the teaching fraternity continues learning.
Teachers that increase their knowledge and skills by participating in high-quality professional learning contribute towards the nation’s goal of adequately educating our future working generations.
Professional development is a never-ending process that gets teachers taking individual and collective examinations and gain more extensive teaching experience by improving their practice.
Professional development is aimed at empowering individual teachers, and communities of educators in creating complex decisions that play a role in distinguishing and solving problems, bringing together theory, practice, and student outcomes.
Professional development opens the way for educators to accord students with learning opportunities that better prepare them to tackle the outside world successfully gaining their foot either in employment or business arenas, and become quality citizens.
What Are The Benefits Attributed To Professional Development?
Professional development helps in deepening and broadening content knowledge. It’s also mandated with creating a robust foundation in the methods and teaching of specific disciplines.
Professional development provides knowledge in teaching and learning processes. It ought to be cemented in and should also reflect the best available research findings. Its contents need to be aligned with the curriculum and standards educators use.
Professional development should cultivate measurable improvement in student achievement. It has to engage intellectually and should breakdown the complexity that is teaching.
Professional development should offer sufficient time, support, and resources teachers require in mastering new content, teaching methods, thus integrating the knowledge and skill acquired into the practice.
Professional development is a preserve of educators liaising with experts in this field to create tangible courses/curriculum. It ought to take numerous forms and should be site and/or district specific and job-embedded.
Professional and Career Development
Statistics provided by the Department of Education show that states, as well as districts, usually result in categorizing all teachers in a single criterion.
Unfortunately, this approach waters-down the efficiency and productivity of the workforce management.
Only by carefully managing individual talents and careers is it possible to organize the teaching workforce making them become more efficient and productive.
Currently, the professional and career development practice in place has failed time and again in distinguishing developmental ways for independent educators.
It fails miserably in identifying effective teachers to retain, advance, and assigning them to fields that they excel and will impact student learning. The practice also performs poorly in identifying underperforming educators.
New Educators Sourcing and Preparation
States, districts, and schools make a huge difference when they invest in getting educators thoroughly prepared before, and when they start teaching a classroom.
In return, the teachers improve their performance and stick to teaching thanks to the support they receive. The educators are enrolled in innovative programs designed to help them improve productivity.
These programs are centered around critical proficiencies that are critical in helping educators become more productive in the classroom.
The teacher preparation processes help them progressively fine-tune and build on their training. The teaching models come with course programs that offer rigorous clinical experiences.
Some of the programs put in place to foster teacher professional development include the following:
The New Teacher Project: TNTP is a project that targets teachers’ professional development. It’s designed to have more highly effective educators working/teaching in schools with high-needs.
The project scouts for, facilitates placements and continues training educators in the selected schools. The project has developed and implements an alternative certification path.
Urban Teacher Residency United: URT is an alliance of teacher residency schemes. It offers educators a 12-month residency program that brings together classroom traineeship with aligned sequences of master’s level scholarly work.
Mentor teachers are assigned to matching residents, and as the trainees progress with the course, they graduate from co-teaching to taking up the lead-teaching role.
Once they’re done with the residency, they graduate and serve in the school district for a minimum three years; they are accorded the chance of taking part in on-going induction programs.
What Needs To Change For Teacher Professional Development To Thrive?
The current teacher evaluation practice falls short. It fails to make substantial variations between high performing and low performing educators.
Policymakers are urging states and districts to adopt systems that help in making proper decisions derived from various forms of evidence.
Student learning evidence plays a role in identifying effective teachers to have them advance and pointing out the low performing teachers who require support.
Incorporating extremely thorough and careful teacher evaluation systems is a lengthy investment approach that pays back by producing a more profound workforce.
The evaluation systems help in supporting and adopting new approaches in career development and talent management.
The Most Effective Professional Development Practices
Numerous research findings prove that for professional development to succeed in improving teaching practice and student learning, there are a minimum of five key components that need to be adhered to, they include:
Content Focus: zeroing in on activities that focus more on the subject matter, content, and in the ways, students consume the content.
Active Learning: creating opportunities for educators to observe, receive feedback, analyze student work, and make presentations.
Coherence: creating goals, activities, and content that mirrors school curriculum and objectives, students’ needs, teacher knowledge and beliefs, state, district, and school reforms and policies.
Sustained Duration: continuous professional development activities throughout the school year should cover 20 plus hours of contact time.
Collective Participation: Peer educators (either in the same subject, grade, or school) should take part in professional development activities together; this helps in fostering interactive learning communities.
Implementing the key points in this article at the state, district, and school levels will help in creating professional development programs that encourage educators to continue learning and honing their skills.
In return, their input will help students and the school perform better. Professional development systems should be continuously evaluated to help teachers get the latest and best ways to enhance their skills and continue working as career educators.