Using Resources to Develop & Grow As a Reflective Professional

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  • 0:04 Professional Development
  • 0:45 Conferences & Workshops
  • 2:02 Colleagues
  • 3:11 Students
  • 4:07 Current Research
  • 4:29 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Derek Hughes

Derek has a Masters of Science degree in Teaching, Learning & Curriculum.

Teaching is a career in which you spend your life learning and growing. There are many resources available for teachers to help them grow and develop as reflective professionals. This lesson details some of those resources and how to use them.

Professional Development

Part of choosing teaching as a profession is the fact that you get to spend the rest of your life learning. This may seem strange. You might be thinking, 'I've already learned so much, now I want to teach!' And you will. You will teach a lot! However, in order to be an effective teacher and serve your students and community, you need to continue learning.

Professional development is the continuous process of learning skills to teach more effectively. There are a variety of sources of professional development for teachers, including conferences, workshops, other teachers, professional journals, and even students. To continue to grow and reflect on your teaching practices, you need to use all of these sources.

Conferences & Workshops

The most common form of professional development for teachers is attending teaching conferences and workshops. Most states have a required number of professional development 'credits' needed to renew and maintain a teaching license. For example, Pennsylvania requires 180 credits every 5 years to maintain licensure. Other states have different requirements, but the purpose is still the same.

Usually, the school you work for will hold several professional development meetings throughout the year. However, it's also your professional responsibility to seek outside conferences and workshops, which are invaluable when it comes to exposing you to new skills, strategies, and research in teaching.

For example, if new research has emerged regarding literacy instruction, professional development agencies might schedule several workshops aimed at teaching educators the skills and strategies they need to keep their instruction effective and backed by research. You might also want to bring what you learned back to your own school to help other teachers improve their instruction.

Conferences are similar to workshops, but usually operate on a larger scale over more time. During these meetings, which take place over the course of several days, teachers and researchers attend talks and lectures to learn about new research in the field of education as well as meet other educators and swap strategies and instructional practices.


Imagine a work environment in which no one collaborated, where every day everybody came to work, did their job in their own way, and went home without considering other ways of doing things. Does that sound like a productive place to work? Now picture a school that operates in the same way. Would you consider it a place that is striving to serve students in the best way?

Your colleagues are an excellent source that can help you grow and develop as a reflective educator. Every teacher has a different set of strengths and skills, so collaboration is an effective way of learning new strategies and techniques. For example, you might be struggling to teach a certain reading comprehension skill. However, another teacher in your school is well known for teaching that skill in an effective way. You can meet with that teacher and discuss his or her strategies and then implement them in your own classroom afterwards.

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