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What Are The Keys To Improving Teacher Professional Development?



When schools are looking to hire teachers, there are a few basic requirements – A College Degree, experience working and dealing with children and, of course, patience.

While these are basic for any teacher to have before they can become a teacher, they need something more, Professional development skills. For teachers to become effective at their professions, they need these development skills and knowledge of their subject matter.

To ensure teachers have what it takes to become successful at their art, National Education Conferences are held and make teachers know about the special requirements. These education conferences offer new insights and strategies for teaching students PK-12.

While a conference is a way for teachers to know what they need or lack, there are certain practices they can follow. This article is focused on the practices teachers can use to become excellent teachers.

Why Is Professional Development Important?

The school is not only the place where students learn new things. As a teacher, you also never stop learning. While students are learning different subjects, teachers are learning about professional development, which can increase their knowledge about teaching.

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Just like students come to school with different levels of knowledge, and need to be addressed accordingly. Teachers also come with different capabilities. Access to high-quality professional development gives teachers the tools to enhance teaching and helps students with all achievement levels.

When educators are able to learn, their students learn more.

Things Every Teacher Needs In Order To Grow

For teachers to improve teacher professional development, they must follow research-based development. It has been seen that most teachers feel their professional development program falls into a one-size-fits-all program. This restricts them from getting the most out of it.

Because teachers are different, it is important to maintain the same difference in content delivery. Just as every student needs a personalized approach to work on their strengths and weaknesses, the same is true for teachers as well.

Below are a few ways in which teachers can make the most of the professional development program.

1. Model Best Practices

When a teacher joins a national educational conference, they are already educated enough that they don’t need any education or instruction. However, they still need guidance. This is where research-based and application-based practices can serve the right teaching model for the teachers.

When effective strategies are implemented, teachers will be directly benefited. The education must go beyond just PowerPoint presentations or review the results of successful practices. You must know successful practices are all about optimizing the learning for the educators.

For instance, if the professional development is about classroom management, the directional strategies should be shown clearly. This can be shown by an experienced teacher how to manage the classroom without making things uncomfortable for the students.

2. Set Relevant Goals

Whether we are talking about students or teachers, goal setting should be a priority. To improve the results of professional development, goal setting must be a priority of the process.

For instance, the goal of professional development could be to encourage engagement. If that is the case, professional development must have an activity where teachers can engage and share their experiences with each other.

Without a goal, the result will never be outlined and will always remain vague.

3. Make It Interactive

We all know that just having theoretical knowledge will not help if you are not practicing it in real life. Just like students need hands-on training and group discussion to learn more about the subject, teachers need hands-on training to ensure what they are learning can be implemented practically.

When gathering feedback from the teachers, the facilitator can collect data and perspectives on the professional development programs that can foster the most engagement and interactivity.

To improve a teacher’s professional development, it is important that they are interactive enough to share their thoughts and insight to further improve the professional development program.

4. Create A Sense Of Priority

When resources are created for professional development, it is important to set priority. While every teacher is in the line of the teaching profession, not all are the same. They all have different qualities a teacher needs to have as a whole.

Hence, the study material that is being shared with the teachers might not hold any relevance completely. Therefore, the teachers need to scour the resources to find the right content for them to work on.

Teachers must be selective with what they read during the professional development program. There is only so much information that can be used consistently.

5. Making Teachers Self Aware

Individuals who become teachers are probably the best at what they do. After all, that is the reason why they are so successful in their academic career. They are passionate about studies and teaching others, bright and driven by a purpose.

But that doesn’t mean they are perfect or have completely perfected their teaching art. A good teacher never stops learning. And for that, they need to be self-aware of what they lack and humble enough to accept their shortcomings.

It is important to be honest with yourself. You must be clear about the areas where you are lacking. Reflecting on how the professional development went and why that assessment went the way it went.

If teachers are self-aware of things about them and around them, they can work better to improve themselves and their art of teaching.

Finally, Focus On Feedback & Reflections

To improve the teachers’ performance and make professional development successful, it is important to focus clearly on the groups attending the program and their needs.