Professional Development for Teachers
It takes years of education to become a teacher and it takes years of practice to become a great one. Still, even after investing all of those years to become a professional educator, teachers should continue to learn. There is no such thing as completing your education when it comes to teaching. As the world continues to grow the teacher’s mind must continue to grow with it. According to educational advisors from Edutopia,
“Great teachers help create great students. In fact, research shows that an inspiring and well informed teacher is the most important school-related factor influencing student achievement, so it is critical to pay close attention to how we train and support both new and experienced teachers.”
There are many ways that teachers can expand their mind and build on the education they already have. Professional Development Programs can be invaluable when it comes to keeping teachers abreast of all of the new and innovative techniques that can be used in education.
Just as in any other professional field, teachers need to learn and understand new developments as they emerge. As the world’s knowledge base continues to expand, it will naturally result in changes of the curriculum. Professional development programs give teachers the opportunity to try out new teaching methods and theories geared towards preparing teachers for the classroom of the future.
Even a veteran teacher can learn from others. Professional development classes unite teachers with many years of experience and those with less experience together to foster a spirit of collaboration. Together they are brought up-to-date on new research, technology, and curriculum and work on practicing and applying their new skills. As they discuss the many problems and challenges that may be common in their classrooms they not only learn from the new information provided but they also learn from each other.
Benefits for the Students
Some teachers may in fact naturally fall into their careers. They instinctively know how to teach and dispense information in a way that students can easily grasp. However, even with that skill, all teachers still need to study, reflect, and prepare for the challenges. There is no way for any teacher to understand everything behind students' minds - how they receive, process, and use the information. Professional Development courses continuously sharpen teacher’s minds and motivate them to learn new methods so that student’s learning experience is always infused with fresh, new ideas and concepts that can inspire them to learn more. As the booklet Learning Forward explains,
“School leaders too improve with study, reflection, practice, and hard work. Their learning supports not only teachers’ learning, but students’ as well. When leaders know how to engage teachers, support staff, and students in effective learning, the school becomes the center of learning for all adults and students”
How Teachers Can Use Professional Development Classes
Depending on the needs of your school or the specialized needs of your class, there is always a professional development class that can provide insight. When choosing a professional development course a school should focus on what specific skills are needed to enhance student achievement.
Improving Teaching Skills: Professional development courses that target skills in certain areas are a major asset to the student and the school overall. Language teachers will benefit from learning new and innovative ways to teach decoding phonetics for example; math teachers will gain from learning new formulas and ways to decipher new equations. The more one learns about how to communicate new and difficult concepts to the student the better teachers they will become.
Learn Changes in Subject Matter: In subjects like History and Language, the content is constantly being revised and changed. Additions and changes occuring every few years are natural and this will continue for years to come. As teachers would not be interested in using the same textbooks year after year after year, they will want to know what changes and modifications are made in the subject content that could affect students learning progress.
As time passes, our goals in learning, the subjects we study, and our deeper understanding of the human mind compel us all to continue to grow and expand our minds. Professional development courses are a natural part of life and for teachers it is one of the most important means of keeping abreast of the constant changes in the fast paced world we live in.