Discussion on education reform remains incomplete without talking about the role of professional development. Don’t you think so?
When speaking of professional development, it is important to understand that it isn’t just for the teachers to learn things with time but administrators too should take the onus of undergoing professional learning sessions to successfully lead the school or college. It is through knowledge that critical thinking can be earned and through true education the sector can become empowered to make the budding generations future ready.
Professional development counts and there is no hint of doubt in it. But when that is a lot of hue and cry to remove the age old one-size-fits-all education for students why not implement the same logic for teachers’ professional training sessions. Why not make it more interactive, lively and open-end learning process? Thus, think about it and do not simply conduct PD for the sake of conducting.
Analyze your existing process of PD and in case you have been thinking of revamping the entire process to make it more actionable and productive, you have got to check out the correct ways to do so.
- It’s best to differentiate the professional development of teachers from that of others in the institution. Reason being, teachers have dynamic range of specialties’, strengths and areas of opportunity. It is extremely important to understand that the time for professional development is valuable and should not be thus wasted on redundant or irrelevant training. Too many goals can be fatal and to avoid it, it’s important to set up clear and realistic learning paths that comprise diversity into it and promises to increases skills in various areas such as- instruction, communication, collaboration, technology or for that matter into leadership. After planning and prioritizing goals, it’s important to align professional development opportunities with one or more standards.
- Keeping a close eye on the implementation process is often missed out of the list but it definitely calls for a greater attention. Implementation gap in the teachers’ professional development and what impact it could leave in the overall process of PD is explained in Research Studies. As a solution to avoid implementation gap, it is important to bring in ongoing support or by creating a feedback loop which helps them monitor implementation. Teachers may theoretically be fine with the new concepts explained to them in the PD process but when it comes to implementing it at work, they do require some guidance at first and this must be given.
- When it comes to students, to supplement the lectures, a lot of resources, assessments, reinforcement and support is at play. Similarly the same set of things should also be used to supplement lecture sessions at PD process. This would further strengthen the entire process making it successful at the end of the day. Improvement cannot be brought into the ongoing professional development until a coaching culture is established into the process. One cannot analyze the efficacy of PD by just looking at the number of sessions that one has attended but by taking follow-ups of each session. It is also important to not just fit educators in a one-size-fit-classroom and go on lecturing. Rather it is important to ask them questions, let them listen to their peers or allow them to also speak and make them get into activities that enhances their comprehension ability.
- Research findings show that including Videos into the PD sessions can truly transform the professional learning process for teachers. Just as educators think of innovative pedagogical steps to make the lesson learning a fun and absorbing process, similarly using different tools to make PD sessions worth interesting and absorbing is important. Lecture sessions and Powerpoint presentations at a stretch can indeed become dry. So what’s important for the PD training department of institutions is to take care of such innovative and successful training methods.
- Professional development process cannot be entirely subjective concept and so the role of micro-credentialing comes at play. Leadership teams can define a clear and measurable objectives to examine if the evidences of PD amalgamation in the teacher’s classroom is going in the right shape. It will also help administrators to identify the core competency of teachers or what kind of initiative can this teachers take up after they have attended any training session.
Do you think we have just missed out any other important ways by which an improvement in the PD process can be brought? In case you think so, do quickly write it to us so that, institutions stakeholders reading this piece can implement them while they are revamping the K-12 Professional Development process.