How Do Teachers Take Out Time for Professional Development?


How Do Teachers Take Out Time for Professional Development?
21st century classrooms are a too different from traditional ones as they include many educational technologies that help educators as well as students enhance learning outcomes. Edtech approaches like usage of apps, websites, social networks, student
 response systems, open educational resources, etc., are being adopted by educational institutions in order to achieve higher learning standards.

What needs to be highlighted here is the rapid change in the usage of technologies in education. According to the current upgradations in the classroom, there is a need to make educators efficient in adopting these changes. The concept that involves the above mentioned activities is professional development of educators. But when we look into statistics, more than 60% of educators have admitted that “insufficient time” is the main barrier for a meaningful professional development in the Common Core State Standard system (Source: MetLife’s survey). While going through many interactions with educators, I found that some educators don’t find time, some don’t know how to find time and many others need some more time for professional development. Here are some strategies that I’ve extracted from the educators and institutions who effectively save time for their professional development.

Iowa’s creative strategy through Four-Day Week approach:

Many institutes and districts are about to adopt the four-day week approach, an arrangement where a workplace or school has its employees or students work or attend school over the course of four days rather than the more customary five. Debate.org has conducted a survey on four-day week approach and 68% of educators and students voted it as positive. The reason why most schools and districts adopt four-day week approach is that it helps them cope with budget crunches, but one rural Iowa district uses this approach creatively to extract more time out of the school calendar for student enrichment and teachers’ professional development. Students attend school from Monday through Thursday and spend an hour longer in class each day so that no classes will need to be held on Fridays. The educators and students are free to attend remedial classes or enrichment classes on Fridays. This is how Iowa sets time for professional development.

Tom Murray’s approach for betterment of Professional Development:

“Professional development in many districts must undergo radical reform, from a model that’s outdated and ineffective to one that’s differentiated, meaningful and engaging.”, said Thomas Murray.

Tom Murray, the Director of Technology and Cyber Education for the Quakertown Community School District in Bucks County, is passionate about differentiated professional development.  He is a former middle school assistant and also an elementary school principal. Let me share some strategies he has developed for a better professional development.

All the educators and administrators must recognize the fact that professional development is an ongoing and daily learning process. It shouldn’t be viewed as a set of days, hours or months in a school year. Staff must feel responsible in developing themselves professionally.

Utilize social media to learn from educators around the world, there are numerous Twitter hashtags you can follow to explore and exchange your knowledge with others. As this approach can be followed from anywhere and anytime, educators do not need to worry about time constraints.

Administrators must lead the professional development through different models that are designed for their staff. Decision makers must recognize the need of investing more time on professional development rather than in managerial activities.

In addition to the above mentioned strategies, we provide you with a few more approaches that are used by many educators for their professional development.

Don’t wait for a specific time to read books, educational magazines, web stories and journals, just do it whenever you are free either in the classroom or at home.

Social media is a boon for teachers to develop professionally. Utilize it to the maximum extent, follow and interact with experts in your areas of interest.

Write whatever you learn, social blogging enables you help people learn from you. Meanwhile, through collaboration and effective feedbacks, you can upgrade yourself professionally.

There are numerous cost free professional development webinars and podcasts that educators can access from anywhere just with a computer device and an Internet connection. Online education is the best approach if you don’t have time to attend a traditional conference for professional development. We hope this information is useful for you to know about a few strategies to make time for your professional development. We will be glad, if you come up with few more techniques to set a time for PD. Please feel free to share with us. The comment box awaits you.

About the Author
Author: Santosh Bhaskar KWebsite: http://www.twitter.com/SantoshBhaskarK
Devotee of Dr. Abdul Kalam. Following his path of Creating Creative Education in India. Contributing my works in "India Vision 2020". Former EdTech Blogger/Researcher at ETR India

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