5 Ways To Make Teacher Professional Development Effective

5 Ways To Make Teacher Professional Development Effective

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eacher Professional Development Effective

When teachers have access to continuous learning opportunities and professional development resources, they are better equipped to become good teachers, especially when their students have learning needs or are performing below or above grade level. Professional development helps new and experienced teachers develop the skills to feel confident in the classroom. Effective professional development enables teachers to shape lifelong learning.

Teacher professional development encourages teachers to actively participate in their own learning, and ensures that students and teachers alike are eager learners. When providing learning and support for teachers, the school community should value their work and allow them to improve.

1. Professional development should be specific

Many professional development opportunities provided to teachers are too vast and irrelevant to their teaching. This can waste time, money, and efficiency. Always go with the suggestions provided by the teachers or give them a choice about what or how they learn. If these cannot be provided, then the session should provide simple and in-depth information that can be applied in the classroom. Teachers know what their classrooms need, but they may lack the tools and funding to help their students succeed.

Some ways to make teacher professional development more specific include:

  • Dividing teachers into groups according to grade level or subject matter
  • Ensuring the topic aligns with the school’s overall educational goals
  • Pairing teachers to develop interdisciplinary teaching activities that create a dynamic learning experience for their students by thinking outside the box

2. Get teachers engaged

Teachers are professionals who develop their existing and unique skills in the classroom. They should not be treated as students. If teachers are not engaged in their professional development, it is unlikely that the sessions will have a meaningful impact or inspire change in the classroom. Teachers learn in different ways and respond differently to kinesthetic, visual, or written learning methods. To engage them, consider the following:

  • Demonstration
  • Brainstorming
  • Sharing successes and challenges in the application of various learning techniques in the classroom

3. Continuous assessment

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Teacher professional development is useless if it is not continuously assessed to determine what worked and what did not. If there is no support for implementing new teaching strategies or ideas in the classroom, then the professional development session becomes a waste of time, effort, and money. Teachers should have the freedom to approach with any questions or concerns. Real-time data and reports provide school leaders and teachers with valuable insights into which classroom strategies are improving students’ success and where achievement can be improved.

Also Read: Top 10 ways to build confidence in your students

4. Application into the teaching process

Professional development is an essential aspect of improving the quality of teaching. While it may cost money and time, it cannot be ignored. Instead of avoiding it, time can be spent wisely by maximizing available opportunities. This can be achieved by:

  • Gaining in-depth subject knowledge and connecting it to present scenarios or breakthroughs.
  • Applying key takeaways immediately at the beginning or end of the school day.
  • Observing colleagues in the classroom to learn from them or suggest areas of improvement.
  • Providing teachers with effective and actionable feedback to help them improve.

5. Achieving the goals

A professional development plan helps teachers set individual learning goals, whether they are short-term or long-term. Encouraging teachers to continue learning and improving their professional capacities will help them develop their careers. The use of a SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Timely) goal system can help track teachers’ progress and improvement on a monthly or yearly basis. Teachers should also be provided with support and access to other resources to try new techniques.

Schools often have a lot going on, and professional development may take a backseat. However, the atmosphere around professional development initiatives can be changed to make it a priority. Start small and gradually increase efforts. When schools offer accessible, interesting, and encouraging professional development options for teachers, everyone in the school thrives.

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