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Professional Development for Educators: Benefits & Types

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  • 0:03 Why Professional Development?
  • 1:01 What Are the Benefits?
  • 2:32 Types of Professional…
  • 3:56 Professional…
  • 4:35 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Maryalice Leister

Maryalice has taught secondary and college English and trained new online teachers, and has a master's degree in Online Teaching and Learning.

Completing your degree and obtaining professional certification are only the first steps in a teaching career. Professional development involving ongoing reflection, focused study, and targeted conversation with colleagues ensures best practices are being implemented for overall student success.

Why Professional Development?

Margaret had a good first year in the classroom, but her second year has not been going as well. The variety of her students' needs has been challenging, and what works one day does not work the next. She knows the school and district expect all children in her room to read at a third grade level by the end of the year, but she is concerned her students won't measure up. She decides to share her concerns at the grade level meeting and learns she is not alone. By meeting's end, her colleagues commit to formulating a plan and process for support with implementation and follow-up.

Professional development can be as formal as a year-long plan driven by the school district and underwritten by state or federal grant monies or as informal as Margaret's approach - reaching out for ongoing support and assistance in an effort to collaboratively resolve issues and promote deeper learning. Regardless of the source of the plan, the constant is the overarching commitment to learning and improvement.

What Are the Benefits?

Ongoing professional development enhances both personal and company growth, and when tied to the field of education, ensures best practices are being examined and implemented so teachers and students excel. The topics explored are as diverse as the teachers, students, and schools, but clearly, a teacher who subscribes to the process strengthens the ability to reach students and make a difference.

Contemporary pedagogical conversations and focused study should not be confined to the time during which a teacher earns a formal degree and professional licensure. Educational theory is progressive, reflecting the age in which we live, and educators must remain abreast of trends, standards, and external factors affecting student learning. In doing so, students are provided the best and most consistent potential for success.

Neither learning nor teaching can be done in a vacuum or behind closed classroom doors. New skills and theories are best researched, discussed, tested, and reworked through a defined small or large group focus. Teachers feel valued, and positive change happens for both the classroom educators and their students. Networks of working professionals support one another and, once connected in that way, they know the value of the connection and utilize it again and again. So much time is spent in digital analysis in today's society. It is essential to recognize the time devoted to professional development is as important - if not more important - than the examination of data.

Types of Professional Development

Professional development (PD) needs a plan, a process, and a goal. Whether driven by a district-wide program or a departmental need, the learning must include reflection and action leading to positive change.

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