- More school districts are finding ways to personalize and measure the impact of professional development by using competency-based assessments, rather than assuming listening to a lecture was time well-spent for teachers, according to District Administration.
- In some cases, the use of competency-based, stackable microcredentials, connected by a theme or targeted outcomes, allows teachers to build their skills in certain areas.
- Some school districts are also using this competency-based professional development approach to determine teacher pay, while others allow teachers to collaborate on participating in professional development modules or even creating their own.
“Personalized learning” has become something of a buzzword in education, but the clear benefits of a personalized approach apply to teachers seeking professional development as well as to students seeking a diploma or degree. Every teacher has his or her own interests, strengths and weaknesses. Every teacher also has his or her own vision for a future career path. Teachers each have specific needs as well. While some beginning teachers may need support in basic areas such as classroom management techniques, more experienced teachers may need more professional development in the use of technology in the classroom.
The idea of competency-based PD has clear value as well. Just because a teacher sits through several hours of instruction or runs through an online program does not mean they have absorbed the material and are capable of applying that knowledge to the classroom. Students are expected to be able to prove what they have learned through testing, completion of a project or some other assessment of the impact of instruction. It seems only reasonable to expect teachers to do so as well.
However, it is also important that teachers see the value of such instruction, whether in the form of earned microcredentials they can carry with them throughout their career or through pay incentives for developing new skills that meet the needs of the school district. The way teachers are learning is changing. Teachers, like students, need to see how their education will benefit them in the long run if they are to become fully invested in the professional development process.