The Importance of Professional Development for Teachers
A well developed and comprehensive professional development program within a school enhances teacher quality and provides the opportunity for schools to increase their effectiveness. It is important that teachers constantly challenge themselves and ensure that they are lifelong learners who continuously examine their own assumptions, beliefs and practices. If teachers want to ensure that students have the knowledge, skills, and values needed to become successful adults, they too need to update their skills and knowledge periodically.
An important role of a school administrator is to ensure that student growth and development is enhanced by advocating the professional growth of the staff through professional development and adult learning programs. These programs must be an integral part of school improvement not only for the teachers but for the administrators alike.
There are several considerations that a principal must make when planning professional development for the school. It is essential that a yearly master plan of the school’s professional development schedule be formulated to ensure adequate time is reserved. Concepts covered in professional development workshops should be developed over a period of time. Teachers need time to participate in multiple, interactive and collaborative experiences so that they new concepts become integrated into their practices as reading or hearing about new concepts is not enough to advance authentic learning.
... such as professional development should be perpetual, and school change involves external and internal organizations and personal development. In professional development programs, the instructions to teacher should be ... County School District One and District Two professional development programs consist of low quality training once a month, irrelevant topics, lack of feedback from teachers ...
Professional development should site based as much as possible. This allows for teachers to work collaboratively as it gives increased opportunities to talk over learned knowledge, concepts and skills as well as collaboratively confront problems that arise during implementation, that are unique to their school or grade level.
Planning professional development of a school year should be a collaborative task. Principals should ensure that they involve teachers in determining concepts to be covered. Teachers should be asked to identify their specific needs that can be addressed through professional development sessions. Once a list has been formulated, the principal and the teachers must ask the question “How will this improve student learning?” to determine if the topic is suitable. Other criteria that should be considered are funding, availability of resources (e.g. facilitator, text books, and technology) and the question of whether the topic falls under the umbrella of the district’s initiatives or those outlined in the School Improvement Plan. Additionally, principals should ensure that emerging trends are recognized and studied in professional development sessions.
Professional development opportunities should be differentiated to cater the various levels of readiness and interests of the teachers. To meet the varied needs professional development sessions could be chosen from a menu, where teachers had so “must do” topics and must then choose x number (principal’s discretion) of topics throughout the year. Professional development could be in the form of whole-group for the must do topics and book studies, mini-workshops, independent or pair study for the menu topics.
The issue of professional development is of utmost importance to the success of a school. Failure to provide adequate opportunities is a major cause of underachievement and so principals must ensure that teacher quality is not