In the push for educational reform and accountability placed on educators, I believe we are over looking critical questions regarding education. In an era of major cut-backs in education, teachers are finding themselves in a quandary of questions on how to stimulate today’s learner. Also, with a major influx of technology into our daily lives, both in a positive and negative manner, teachers are wondering where the money will come from to incorporate the new forms of technology into their classrooms. Education is constantly evolving and so are those in the profession, teachers and administrators. Teachers are going through professional development programs; yearly, monthly and sometimes weekly to improve their abilities to teach today’s learner and how to use the technology resources that are available to them through their school or district. Teacher professional development is not only encouraged by school districts but required by most school districts. What is teacher professional development?
Teacher Professional Development (TPD) is a systematic method of promoting the growth of the professional teacher to ensure the success of the learner in the classroom. TPD is a constant and intensive approach to the improvement of a teacher’s and administrator’s effectiveness to provide the best possible education for all learners. TPD is obtained through in-house workshops, departmental collaboration, conferences, and enrollment in higher educational programs or degrees. In order for a TPD to be effective it would have to address areas of need that relate to content, curriculum, instruction, and assessment.
There are three common models of TPD that are utilized by individuals and school districts. The models are Standardized TPD, Site-Based TPD, and Self-Directed TPD.
Standardized TPD tends to be delivered in a method of training in a group setting, on –line or via video. The focus is on presenting new skills and knowledge that will be incorporated into the classroom. This type of TPD more often then not focuses on ICT’s using the Cascade model.
Site-Based TPD is usually a more intensive TPD program that focuses directly on school, teacher, or learner deficiencies. This form of TPD is generally presented by master teachers or mentoring teachers for ongoing professional learning. Collaboration between many teachers is also a strong form of site-based TPD. This method of professional development can tend to be labor and time intensive.
Self-Directed TPD is just that, self-directed professional development in areas of need or deficiency of the individual teacher. The additional knowledge is gained through videos, observing other teachers during instructional time, journal subscriptions, and higher education beyond the teachers’ current degree, taking courses offered by the school district for TPD, or performing case studies. This type of TPD is either a last resort due to no programs being offered in a school or district or the motivation of a teacher to improve the current teacher’s knowledge base.
In my school district we use a variety of all three models. Mondays are dedicated to TPD in many different ways. The entire faculty will spend the first Monday of the month meeting and going through some sort of instruction on current programs, data analysis, or new programs to be implemented in our instruction. We also spend one Monday meeting as a department to review classroom goals and district paperwork. The school district also allows the teacher the freedom to pursue individual professional development by offering courses in the summer that are sponsored by local colleges.
The most common areas of need in my school are classroom management and incorporating forms of technology into the classroom. The district has offered courses in classroom management in the summer course list and also uses an EYE program for new teachers. The EYE program is a mentoring teacher that meets with new teachers each year for three years on a monthly basis. The mentor and new teacher go over needs of the teacher, classroom management, issues in the classroom, and reflections of the teacher on daily and weekly instructions. The program works very well and helps teachers not feel isolated and overwhelmed. The Site-Based model is by far the most effective and used in my school district. This model shows great results and has helped many new teachers become very successful in the classroom.
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pddefinition.pdf. (n.d.). . Retrieved from http://www.state.nj.us/education/profdev/pd/teacher/pddefinition.pdf
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