Wednesday Minimum Days Info & Resources
What constitutes professional development?
When people use the term “professional development,” they usually mean a formal process such as a conference, seminar, or workshop; collaborative learning among members of a work team; or a course at a college or university. However, professional development can also occur in informal contexts such as discussions among work colleagues, independent reading and research, observations of a colleague’s work, or other learning from a peer.
What is effective professional development?
Effective professional development enables educators to develop the knowledge and skills they need to address students’ learning challenges. To be effective, professional development requires thoughtful planning followed by careful implementation with feedback to ensure it responds to educators’ learning needs. Educators who participate in professional development then must put their new knowledge and skills to work. Professional development is not effective unless it causes teachers to improve their instruction or causes administrators to become better school leaders.
Why do educators need professional development? Didn’t they learn what they need to know in college?
College and university programs cannot provide the extensive range of learning experiences necessary for graduates to become effective public school educators. As in all professions, new teachers and principals take years to gain the skills they need to be effective in their roles. Even experienced teachers confront great challenges each year, including changes in subject content, new instructional methods, advances in technology, changed laws and procedures, and student learning needs. Educators who do not experience effective professional development do not improve their skills, and student learning suffers.
When do public school educators typically engage in professional development?
Professional development is most effective when it occurs in the context of educators’ daily work. When learning is part of the school day, all educators are engaged in growth rather than learning being limited to those who volunteer to participate on their own. School-based professional development helps educators analyze student achievement data during the school year to immediately identify learning problems, develop solutions, and promptly apply those solutions to address students’ needs. Professional development also can be useful if it takes place before classes begin or after they end.
Why can’t educators just use online professional development?
Online professional development can be useful for learning content and even observing video demonstrations of effective teaching or leadership. Some online professional development also provides interactive, real-time discussion among participants and an expert.