Professional development is vital for every teacher to enhance their career, but what does professional development actually mean, why is it important, and how effective is it? Read on to find out!
Education is a never-ending, life-long cycle that goes on even after completing multiple degrees and starting your career. Continuous learning not only helps students but also improves the skills and knowledge of a mentor or a teacher. Thus, it is the responsibility of a teacher to indulge themselves in continuous learning for the betterment of the society.
This is where the role of professional development of teachers comes in. This type of development is essential for every teacher, and there should be a fixed number of hours for the development of teachers who guide hundreds of students every day. With the development of teachers, we also encourage the development of students in classrooms.
What is Professional Development?
Professional development, abbreviated as PD, is a method to ensure the continuous learning of teachers and mentors to deepen or expand their skills and qualities as an educator. The term is usually used to describe the sources that can be utilized by a teacher to develop their concepts of teaching and proceed in their teaching careers.
PD generally includes workshops, training sessions, seminars, and formal classes which are based on the requirements of a teacher. These sessions and classes enable a teacher to learn about the new concepts of our education system, such as modified syllabus, online teaching and learning, changes in the education policy, and even independent studies.
Why is it Important?
The importance of PD is beyond our expectations, and it is increasing each day as new changes are constantly being introduced to the education system. Here are some of the primary reasons why development is important for teachers:
- Enhances learning outcomes from students
It is quite obvious that a well-trained teacher will be able to offer quality education to students. When the teachers are equipped with better development resources and are engaged in continuous learning, they will provide the best inputs towards students, enhancing the quality of learning outcomes from students.
- Promotes the career of a teacher
As a teacher is introduced to new and effective changes, the teacher gets more engaged in the system and tries to learn and develop new skills which are helpful in the long run. This inspires the teachers to continue in the same field and perform better further in their careers.
- Encourages growth mindset
The overall concept of professional development is designed with an aim to promote a mindset of constant growth, which teachers further radiate to their students. Active participation of teachers in development programs encourages their self-learning and overall growth.
How Can it be Made Effective?
The process of professional development presents multiple challenges such as time, engagement, effectiveness, money, and few others. The effectiveness of such development is the main concern for every organizer who presents development programs, as there are no means to analyze the effectiveness of these sessions. So, here are few solutions to make the development process more effective:
Keep teachers engaged
Interest and engagement are the key factors to enhance the effectiveness of PD programs. Whether it is a teacher or a student, the lack of engagement is not beneficial for anyone. Thus, it is important for an organizer to utilize such resources, tools, and techniques that can grab the interest of teachers during the sessions and keep them engaged. For example, if the session explains active learning, then such tools and techniques must be used, which complements the practical process of active learning.
Makes sessions relevant
It has been mostly observed that the professional development programs which teachers attend are irrelevant. Thus, the sessions organized for teachers must share information about the skills a teacher wants to upgrade, and the sessions must be organized as per the preferences of teachers. Other than this, multiple options should be provided to teachers where they can choose the type of skill or training they would like to learn. In case it is not possible to offer more options, then the sessions must be kept short and should focus on a single topic.
Provide continuous support
Once a teacher completes a development session, it's time to utilize the freshly learned skills with a practical application in the classroom full of students. The session the teacher attended was engaging and relevant, which satisfied the teacher. But what next? Every teacher requires further assistance and support after the end of a training session. Thus, it is the responsibility of an organizer to provide continuous support and address the problems or queries of the teachers, which can ensure their uninterrupted growth.
Accept feedback and suggestions
It is important to receive feedback and suggestions from the teachers who attend the PD sessions. Whether the feedback is positive or negative, it is equally helpful in enhancing the effectiveness of the sessions. Suggestions observed from teachers can help make the sessions more specific and topic-oriented. Raw suggestions and feedback enable an organizer to detect problems and flaws in the system and rectify them in the better interest of the teachers.
Offer personalized plans
Personalized learning is effective in the case of both students and teachers. Personalized plans enable the educators to set their own learning goals and achieve them with clear steps. An organizer can personally interact with a teacher to figure out that type of skill training they require to develop their career. The SMART goals system can be used to easily achieve the goals.
So, in a nutshell, the personal development of teachers is a factor that cannot be ignored when it comes to the career growth of a mentor, educator, or teacher. There are various factors that affect the process of development, but at last, effective outcomes from the enhanced learning of teachers are seen in the classrooms. Thus, organizers or administrators must emphasize more on conducting development sessions for their teachers for the betterment of the education system.