Teachers play a crucial role in the education of young people. They not only teach students new skills and knowledge, but they also encourage them to grow and develop into productive members of society. In order to do that effectively, teachers need to keep learning themselves. Professional development provides teachers with opportunities to learn more about effective teaching techniques, methods for reaching different types of learners, and how technology can be used in their classrooms. Professional development can also help teachers gain confidence in their abilities as educators while keeping up with changes in education standards nationwide.
Professional development is the process by which a person plans and participates in educational opportunities to learn new knowledge and skills.
Professional development is the process by which a person plans and participates in educational opportunities to learn new knowledge, skills, and behaviors in order to advance in their career. It’s an ongoing process over the course of a teaching career but doesn’t have to stop there. Professional development can help teachers reach personal and professional goals.
Professional development can be informal or formal. In fact, the term “professional development” was first used by Charles Judd in 1969 when he was appointed as director of continuing education at Ohio State University (OSU). He created an office that would focus on providing educators with opportunities for continued learning beyond what they were required as part of their jobs (Martin & Martin 2017).
How is professional development Different from training?
Professional development is different from training in that it goes beyond the initial skill-learning experience. Professional development allows you to apply your knowledge and skills on the job. It’s a way of extending your learning past what you learned in professional training so that it can benefit you both personally and professionally.
A good example of this is an accounting student who takes an accounting class at a university, but then takes on internships with local firms or agencies to gain practical experience in their field. They can use this experience to further their career by getting promoted within their company or by moving into another area within that industry where they have new skills they didn’t have before taking the coursework at a college-level school program in accounting.
The key difference between these two types of education is not just length—professional development courses tend to be longer than training courses—but also scope: Training focuses on specific skills required for one particular job; professional development is meant for those who wish to increase their opportunities for advancement over time through continued learning outside formal classroom settings (and thus may not be tied directly back into any given occupation).
How can you get involved in professional development?
Professional development opportunities are available in many different formats. You can choose to pursue a course or workshop, attend a conference, join a study group with other teachers, or simply meet with colleagues and discuss what you’ve learned.
There are also ways for teachers to learn from their students and those who are more experienced than them. For example, if you teach older students then they may be able to share some of the skills they’ve acquired throughout life (such as using technology). Younger students might be able to give insight into how they think and act in class so that older teachers have an idea of what is appropriate or not when working with younger children.
Where can you find professional development opportunities?
- Local schools, colleges, and universities
- Local technical and vocational schools
- Professional organizations
- Online resources
- Professional development workshops and seminars
- Professional development programs sponsored by the school district
Teachers should take advantage of Continuing Education opportunities for their own benefit as well as for their students.
As a teacher, you know that professional development is an ongoing process. However, as important as professional development for teachers is to your career and the success of your students, it can also help you reach personal and professional goals. There are many opportunities for teachers to continue their education including:
- In-service training workshops
- Seminars offered by local organizations or universities
- Professional conferences
The bottom line is that teachers should never stop learning. Professional development opportunities are available at all levels, from the day-to-day classroom activities to conferences and workshops that focus on a specific topic or area which teachers can attend for knowledge and inspiration. Teachers who seek out professional development opportunities will be rewarded with better teaching skills, increased confidence in their abilities as educators, and most importantly: students who learn more effectively!