Teachers thrive when given choice in professional development
- While all teachers need professional development to thrive in their profession, they all have different needs, strengths, and backgrounds, requiring different forms and content in their professional development, Edutopia reports.
- The level of relevance and quality of professional development impacts teacher engagement, and if there is a lack in those areas, teachers might feel less enthusiastic and interested, which can transfer to the level of student engagement in the classroom.
- Allowing teachers to have a choice in their professional development increases their level of engagement and can be offered in a variety of formats including through district-developed webinars, lunch and learn sessions, or Edcamps that allow teachers to explore a variety of topics based on interests and needs.
There is a growing acknowledgement of the value of personalized learning for students because it allows them to feel more engaged in the process of learning. In a personalized learning environment, learning options can also be better aligned with student needs, interests, and goals, which makes it more profitable in the long run.
If all this is true for students, it is even more true for professional educators who already have a grasp of the basics they need. Professional development is intended to develop educators professionally and that can only be done by building on knowledge they already have and developing them in areas that need improvement. This can only be accomplished by giving teachers a larger voice in matters related to their subject area or grade level. Teachers also can be a source for professional development as well, a factor which allows them to shine as professionals and takes some of the burden off administrators.
There are many benefits to personalized learning for teachers because most know exactly what they need. They may realize that they need to learn new classroom management techniques or new ways to integrate technology in the classroom. They may yearn for more collaboration with their peers to bat around new ideas and coordinate educational activities. If professional development allows teachers to meet their needs, they see it as a value. If it does not, they see it as a waste of time. Personalized professional development is a best path to making professional development relevant to each and every teacher. With the help of a few resources, administrators can make that happen. At the same time, administrators still have to make sure that the professional learning that teachers are pursuing is still in line with overall school and district goals.
- Edutopia The Importance of Choice in PD