Rendering Education Challenge – Responsive through Teacher Professional Development Programs

Jun 3, 2021

The concept of teaching as a life-long learning process has been gathering momentum recently. Education that is more challenge-responsive and capable of meeting the needs of a knowledge-based society can only be rendered through strategic teacher development. To develop 22nd-century student competencies such as critical thinking, complex problem-solving, self-direction, etc. new and more sophisticated ideas and approaches toward teaching happen to emerge. Thereby, teachers are also expected to refine their pedagogies to support effective teaching at scale.

What is Effective Professional Development? 

Effective professional development is a structured learning process that results in the alteration of teacher’s knowledge and practices, in turn improving the student learning outcomes. The undertaking of professional development can both be provided externally or through job-embedded activities that revamp instructional practice.

Why do Schools Need Teacher Professional Development Programs?

Compared to any other aspect of schooling, teachers are the ones to make the greatest impact on student’s achievement. Traits of a life-changing teacher include not only academics, but more of their ability to motivate students, create a sense of security, determination, and patience. Although these qualities often go unmeasured, they can have a huge impact on the outcome of students’ learning.

Teacher professional development programs serve three, often converging, objectives:

  • To Boost the Overall Performance of the School
  • To ameliorate or enhance the quality of classroom instruction
  • To foster innovation and creativity supporting the implementation of new ideas
The Design Elements of Effective Teacher Development Program

Teacher Professional Development Programs that have proven to be effective and high-quality usually possess a combination of below elements and characteristics:

  • Robust Content Focus – Being mostly job-embedded, this element places an emphasis on the specific content that teachers teach and treats discipline-specific curricula.
  • Involving Active Learning Components – this element suggests that the learning process should move away from traditional models that are generic and lecture-based and involve teachers in practice-based discussions and interactive activities incorporating features like collaboration, coaching, feedback, and reflection.
  • Collaborative – school community should have a broader-based understanding and support at all levels. Teachers can create a collective force and improve instruction methods and form a trusting environment.
  • Aligned with relevant Curricula and Policies – adhering to curricula and following pre-planned agenda helps teachers form the basis for growth and development. The curricula and growth policies provide a clear understanding of further steps for development.
  • Incorporating Effective Practice Modelling – curricular and instructional models such as demonstration lessons, lesson plans, written cases, etc. help teachers form a vision and anchor their learning and growth on it.
  • Sufficient Learning Time – meaningful professional learning that is rigorous and cumulative requires time and quality implementation. Therefore, it is inadvisable to view the process as fragmented and episodic as traditional models suggest.
  • Incorporating Coaching or Expert Learning Support – experts can greatly contribute to the growth and the development of teachers by facilitating learning in the context of practice and knowledge share.
  • Fostering Feedback and Reflection – these two are the critical components of adult learning theory. They help teachers review their development critically, receive inputs, and make changes.

 

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