Beginning teachers get a more coherent learning experience when they teach and learn in teams with these veteran faculty and with one another.
Senior teachers deepen their knowledge by serving as mentors, adjunct faculty, co-researchers, and teacher leaders. Darling-Hammond, These new programs envision the professional teacher as one who learns from teaching rather than as one who has finished learning how to teach.
Countries like Germany, France, and Luxembourg have long required two to three years of graduate-level study for prospective teachers on top of an undergraduate degree in the subject s to be taught. Education courses include the study of child development and learning, pedagogy, and teaching methods, plus an intensively supervised internship in a school affiliated with the university. In France, all candidates now complete a graduate program in newly created University Institutes for the Preparation of Teachers that are connected to nearby schools.
In Japan and Taiwan, new teachers complete a year-long supervised internship with a reduced teaching load that allows for mentoring and additional study. By Japanese law, first-year teachers receive at least twenty days of inservice training and sixty days of professional development. Master teachers are released from their classrooms to advise and counsel them. National Commission on Teaching and America's Future, In their study of mathematics teaching in Japan, Taiwan, and the United States, Stigler and Stevenson note: "One of the reasons Asian class lessons are so well-crafted is that there is a very systematic effort to pass on the accumulated wisdom of teaching practice to each new generation of teachers and to keep perfecting that practice by providing teachers the opportunities to continually learn from each other.
Without these supports, learning to teach well is extremely difficult. Most U. After entry, teachers are expected to know everything they will need for a career, or to learn through occasional workshops mostly on their own, with few structured opportunities to observe and analyze teaching with others. As one high school teacher who had spent twenty-five years in the classroom once told me: "I have taught 20, classes; I have been 'evaluated' thirty times; but I have never seen another teacher teach. Some school districts have begun to create new approaches to professional development that feature mentoring for beginners and veterans; peer observation and coaching; local study groups and networks for specific subject matter areas; teacher academies that provide ongoing seminars and courses of study tied to practice; and school-university partnerships that sponsor collaborative research, inter-school visitations, and learning opportunities developed in response to teachers' and principals' felt needs.
For example, at Wells Junior High, a Professional Development School working with the University of Southern Maine, the whole notion of staff development was turned on its head. The emphasis shifted from outside consultants to in-house experts.
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Problem-posing and problem-solving supplanted the recipes and prescriptions for effective schools that teachers had heard for years and never managed to implement. Miller and Silvernail, , pp. Similarly, at Fairdale High School in Louisville, Kentucky, teachers' research coupled with shared decision making produced major changes. As part of a self-study, ten teachers followed ten children through a school day. When it was over, teachers said things like, "It was boring," or, "You know, this isn't a very humane place to be.
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Even before participative management was initiated at Fairdale, the teachers started changing things. Professional development strategies that succeed in improving teaching share several features. Darling-Hammond and McLaughlin, For example, in a program used across a number of states, PD focused on the types of pedagogical content knowledge teachers need to effectively teach elementary science. Curricular and instructional models were used in multiple ways to support teacher learning. For example, one group of teachers analyzed teaching cases drawn from actual classrooms and written by teachers.
Another set of teachers worked in carefully structured, collaborative groups to analyze examples of student work from a shared unit taught in their own classrooms. A third group used metacognitive strategies to reflect on their instruction and its outcomes. In a randomized experimental study, students of teachers who participated in any of these PD opportunities had significantly greater learning gains on science tests than students whose teachers did not participate, and these effects were maintained a year later.
Heller, J. Differential effects of three professional development models on teacher knowledge and student achievement in elementary science.
Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 49 3 , — Experts may share their specialized knowledge as one-on-one coaches in the classroom, as facilitators of group workshops, or as remote mentors using technology to communicate with educators. They may include master teachers or coaches based in universities or professional development organizations.
In one coaching initiative designed to enhance early literacy instruction among Head Start teachers, educators participated in biweekly sessions with a university-based literacy coach following a two-day orientation that introduced them to the literacy concepts. Prior to each session which could be conducted in person or remotely , coaches and teachers collaboratively chose a specific instructional practice on which to focus their time together.
Coaches then observed teachers in their classrooms and provided both supportive and constructive oral and written feedback on their teaching, facilitating the implementation of desired instructional practices. For remote coaching, educators shared minute video clips and coaches provided detailed written feedback, supported by links to video exemplars and other materials available through the program.
The semester-long program included 16 hours of workshops and seven coaching sessions. A two-year randomized controlled trial found that classrooms led by these teachers demonstrated larger gains and higher performance on a widely used early childhood classroom quality assessment, and their students experienced larger gains on a number of early language and literacy skills than did those in the control group. Powell, D. Effects of an early literacy professional development intervention on Head Start teachers and children.
Effective Teacher Professional Development
Journal of Educational Psychology, 2 , — High-quality professional learning frequently provides built-in time for teachers to think about, receive input on, and make changes to their practice by facilitating reflection and soliciting feedback. Feedback may be offered as teachers analyze lesson plans, demonstration lessons, or videos of teacher instruction, which also provide opportunities for reflection about what might be refined or retained and reinforced. These activities are frequently undertaken in the context of a coaching session or workshop, but may also occur among peers.
The course also offered interactive message boards that were moderated by expert facilitators. Teachers participated in four hours of this coursework per month throughout the school year. In a randomized controlled study of the program, researchers found that students of teachers who received expert mentoring and feedback experienced the greatest gains on a variety of language and literacy outcomes.
Landry, S. Effectiveness of comprehensive professional development for teachers of at-risk preschoolers. Effective professional development provides teachers with adequate time to learn, practice, implement, and reflect upon new strategies that facilitate changes in their practice. As a result, strong PD initiatives typically engage teachers in learning over weeks, months, or even academic years, rather than in short, one-off workshops.
Darling-Hammond, L. Professional learning in the learning profession. Educational researcher, 38 3 , — For example, the Transformative Professional Development program is a two-year PD model to enhance science instruction for Spanish-speaking elementary school students. The program begins with a two-week summer workshop that includes graduate-level coursework on teaching elementary science. These additional sessions support teachers in deepening their learning and provided space for ongoing support in implementing the new curriculum.
This model not only offers teachers the opportunity to return repeatedly to the PD material over the course of a semester, but also to apply their learning within the context of their classroom between workshops. This cycle is repeated in the second year, with an additional summer workshop and continued release days. In a comparison group study, students whose teachers participated in the program demonstrated significantly larger improvements in science achievement over time than students whose teachers experienced business-as-usual PD.
Johnson, C. A study of the impact of transformative professional development on Hispanic student performance on state mandated assessments of science in elementary school. Journal of Elementary Science Teacher Education, 25 7 , — It allows you to capture moments in your teaching career that may be beneficial to reference at other points along the way. Journaling does not have to take a lot of your time. Learning opportunities arise almost daily, and journaling allows you to encapsulate these moments, reflect on them at a later time, and make adjustments that can help you become a better teacher.
There is an overabundance of books and periodicals dedicated to teachers. You can find a plethora of terrific books and periodicals to help improve in any area you may struggle with as a teacher. You can also find several books and periodicals that are inspirational and motivational in nature. There are excellent content driven books and periodicals that can challenge how you teach critical concepts.
You will probably not agree with every facet of every book or periodical, but most offer sensational tidbits that we can apply to ourselves and to our classrooms. Asking other teachers, talking to administrators, or doing a quick online search can provide you with a good list of must-read literature. Mentoring can be an invaluable tool for professional growth and development. Every young teacher should be paired with a veteran teacher. This relationship can prove to be beneficial for both teachers so long as both sides keep an open mind.
A mentoring program provides teachers with a natural support system where they are able to seek feedback and guidance, exchange ideas, and vent at times.
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Professional development is a mandatory component of being a teacher. Every state requires teachers to earn a certain number of professional development hours each year. Great professional development can be critical to the overall development of a teacher. Teachers are presented with professional development opportunities covering varying topics throughout the course of each year. Technology is changing the face of education inside and outside of the classroom. Never before have teachers been able to make the global connections that they are able to make now.
Personal Learning Networks PLN are providing teachers with a new avenue for personal growth and development. These connections provide teachers with a vast array of knowledge and information from other professionals across the globe. Teachers struggling in a particular area are able to ask their PLN for advice. They quickly receive responses with valuable information they can use for improvement.