Professional development (PD) in education or educational consulting refers to a wide variety of advanced professional learning, specialized training, or formal education that intends to help teachers, educators, and administrators improve their skills, knowledge, and effectiveness.
Schools, districts, federal, state or foundation grants, or private sources can shoulder the cost of professional development training. It can be delivered in person, online, through 1-on-1 interactions, or group situations. This article will discuss the importance of professional development in education.
THE IMPORTANCE OF PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT
Professional development keeps teachers and administrators up to date on new curriculum resources, new findings on how children learn, and new technological tools for the classroom. PD in education is important because what teachers do in the classroom has a big impact on student learning.
By means of professional development, teachers and administrators can improve their skills, thus becoming more proficient at their jobs. School administrators must realize the benefits of further education and encourage the teachers to pursue professional development to attain the best learning outcomes for students. The following are the benefits and importance of professional development in education:
- Better Learning Outcomes – PD transforms teachers into better educators by empowering them to create relevant and tailored instructions for students. A US Department of Education research showed that student achievement could improve by as much as 21 percentile points when teachers engage in professional development programs.
- Teachers learn better ways to teach and Administrators learn more effective ways to lead – Professional development for teachers makes them more efficient in their evaluations and presentations by exposing them to new delivery methods and lecture styles. Administrators learn strategies to be more effective and efficient in how they lead their staff.
- Better organization and planning skills – PD training enables teachers and administrators to become more organized and better at time management. It allows them to give more time to students/staff rather than paperwork.
- Educators gain knowledge and insight – When educators participate in professional development programs, it enables them to expand their knowledge base. It will make them experts in the subject areas they teach.
- Continuing education – By means of professional development programs, teachers can learn from specialists and upgrade their skills and knowledge. PD provides teachers with technical assistance, leadership resources, and consultative services, with improved student achievement as the main goal.
PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT OBJECTIVES AND TOPICS
Most teachers take part in some form of professional development every school year. The following are examples of professional development objectives and topics:
- Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports or PBIS is a proactive approach that aims to promote positive behavior and create positive school environments. It uses behavior analysis to design school-wide and targeted interventions to improve school climate for students in both classroom and non-classroom settings. PBIS helps students achieve academic, emotional, and social success.
- Response to Intervention or RTI is a multi-tier approach that involves early identification and support of students with learning and behavioral needs. The students are provided interventions at increasing levels of intensity to expedite their rate of learning. RTI can be implemented for general education and special education.
- Developing analytical skills helpful for evaluating student performance, and using findings and data to make modifications to academic programs and teaching techniques. See How to Make Data-Based Decisions to Inform Your Instruction.
- Improving teaching strategies such as Classroom Management and framing questions in such a way that encourages deeper thinking and more enthusiastic responses from students.
- One of the benefits of further education is learning how to teach subject content and concepts more effectively.
- Training in specialized teaching methods can be very beneficial in many subject areas. One example is differentiation – varying teaching techniques based on a student’s needs and interests.
- Acquiring leadership skills that can be used in developing a community volunteer program or a school improvement initiative.
- Pairing new teachers with “instructional coaches” or “mentor teachers” who can expose them to new ideas and skills, and give constructive feedback at the same time. Read The Importance of Mentoring New Teachers.
- Through professional development, educators can develop specialized skills to support certain student populations, such as those with learning disabilities. Read 5 Steps to Helping Students on the Autism Spectrum
- Conducting research to have a better perspective of what’s working/what’s not in a school’s academic program, and using the findings to improve the quality of education.
- Through professional development, staff can learn strategies to teach social emotional learning to students. Read 10 Ways to Build Mental Health Systems and Supports.
There are many benefits to professional development for all educators no matter their role. There is a wide variety of professional development to offer staff. Whether it is one-on-one coaching, workshops, online seminars, or large conferences, it is important for all educators to model life-long learning and continue to add to their knowledge base.
Check out 10 Best Books for Teachers in 2020.
About INcompassing Education
INcompassing Education offers educational consulting and professional development for teachers, educators, coaches, school administrators, and principals. For a list of topics go to http://incompassinged.com/.
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