Why Teachers Should Take up Professional Learning Courses
- Jun 24, 2015
Who creates successful students?
Is it the appropriate amount of time that learners dedicate for memorizing a lesson or practicing a Math formula? Or, is it a mysterious element of innate intelligence observed in certain students? Some of you would argue that the success rates of students solely rest on their ability to interpret the central concept of the topics they learn in academic institutions.
Well, all the above theories are true. But, just partially.
A careful analysis of student behavior and academic performance would reveal the truth: Great Teachers create Victorious Students.
Research has indicated that a well-informed teacher contributes significantly to student achievement. This reminds me of the precious words of the renowned author, William Arthur Ward, who had stated that mediocre teacher merely ‘tells’, a good teacher ‘explains’, but the best teacher ‘inspires’!
So, to be an ideal teacher, you should be a natural motivator in the form of a mentor.
What is Professional Learning?
Don’t you think, therefore, that educators require a professional training prior to imparting knowledge to pupils?
Such a learning approach would empower them with the most powerful teaching tools that can be integrated in learning environments. All kinds of educators and administrators would reap the rewards of such an elaborate training program – including experienced teachers as well as amateurs.
Professional learning is actually something that a majority of teachers across the world are already acquainted with. For, it generally exists beyond classrooms.
Let me demonstrate.
If you are a teacher, professor, or a principal, I bet you must have come across a common learning platform that witnesses the amalgamation of fresh ideas aimed at improving the existent teaching practices. And, of course, developing new theories to maximize student outcomes. You might be interacting with learners, educators and different learning communities while you are engaged in such activities.
Naturally, a continuous stream of information penetrates your knowledge systems, enriching you with innovative ideas about education. These ideas, if implemented judiciously in classrooms, are capable of enhancing student learning.
This is precisely what professional learning implies.
How Professional Learning Helps Teachers?
Now, let us analyze the different ways in which professional learning aids teachers.
#1. Grooms Teachers for Every Kind of Student.
There exist various types of students inside a typical classroom setting: slow learners, average students as well as the intelligent ones who might not be scared of all those chemical formulae!
Great teachers cater to the requirements and understanding levels of each and every kind of learner, without any discrimination.
Teacher preparation programs, therefore, focus on the mastery of the subject matter in any field. They encourage teachers to spend time teaching students in a real classroom, under the guidance of an expert. It is in such a real academic spaces that teachers gain a golden opportunity to apply their newly imbibed knowledge.
Similar to other professional spheres comprising law, medicine, architecture or any other niche, teaching professionals too, are required to go for internships and examine case studies while they are a part of such learning sessions.
It goes a long way in harnessing the creative potential in teachers.
#2. Supports Amateur Teachers
Teachers who are completely new to the field of the teaching might choose to opt for teacher-induction learning programs. If you are a novice, you can expect quality guidance from skilled professionals.
Although teaching is considered a noble profession, several newly appointed teachers bid farewell to their jobs within their initial five years!
This is simply due to the fact that trainee teachers, who have just joined this occupation are often deprived of adequate support. They might be equipped with all the essential theoretical qualifications highlighting the rules of class management and teaching. However, they tend to falter when they encounter challenges in the classrooms.
Somehow, they start losing focus and stumble.
Such circumstances can be averted if novices are exposed to appropriate teacher preparatory courses as soon as they have completed their studies. Once the budding educators come in contact with the veterans, the transition from a novice to a skilled educator turns out to be much simpler.
#3. Prepares Teachers for Modern Classrooms
Modern-day classrooms are buzzing with iPads, tablets, laptops, and smartphones.
So, nowadays you would come across students who are keener to employ different apps for learning their lessons, rather than relying on traditional learning tools like books and the paper-notes that you distribute in your class.
Superior teachers always make efforts to customize their lessons with respect to the constantly evolving classrooms and the mentality of tech-savvy students.
And, if you are yet to be familiar with the manifold education technology trends, there is no better time to start learning about them. Professional learning courses teach educators about the most productive processes to enrich their classrooms. If you are a part of such learning scenarios, you would gain an in-depth know-how of accomplishing this task.
And making your lectures more interactive.
Moreover, teachers would also learn how to experiment with learning tools and make the school curriculum more student-friendly, if they are coached regularly.
#4. Offers Scope for Improvement
Learning is a never-ending experience. One cannot claim to know everything!
Professional learning too is an ongoing process that continues throughout the career of a teaching professional. If you are looking forward to improving your career prospects as an educator or an administrator, you should immediately join such a learning program.
Quite often, I have noticed that the lectures delivered by some teachers appear too lengthy for students.
On the other hand, in some cases, learners find the lectures somewhat complicated or too boring. As a consequence, they end up feeling sleepy in their classrooms or staring at teachers absent-mindedly. Do you think students can really grasp the knowledge, which is being provided to them, through such kind of lectures? Of course not.
What, then, is the solution?
Well, it is really easy. Just attend professional learning sessions that emphasize on renovating your lesson plans and triggering the genius present within each of your students. Trust me, it would give your career a boost and also enable you to ascend the steps of success swiftly.
Modes of Professional Learning
Today, several teams of smart, experienced and serious educators with a zeal to create knowledgeable teachers with a growth mindset are widely popular in various portions of the world. You can enroll for a professional development program either through online courses, or individual studies, or courses offered by certain colleges.
Most of the institutions offering professional learning impart the training through some specific procedures, which can be innovative as well. Here’s a quick look at some of the common modes of professional learning.
Let’s discuss them in details now.
- Individual studies: Individual studies that include analyzing case studies and conducting a good deal of research.
- Observation: Observing how other teachers or professors conduct their classes or offer presentations in the learning spaces.
- Group studies: Group studies that generally take place between peer groups aimed at learning about a particular topic in details.
- Online courses: A good research on the web would throw up numerous results that direct you to online courses providing training on professional learning for teachers.
- Team meetings: Team meetings are conducted; these primarily focus on developing lesson plans for students, imbibing problem-solving skills, or learning about new concepts associated to teaching.
- Coaching: Known as one of the most accepted of all the modes, this process is often utilized by many senior teachers. You can request your school principal or education coordinator to arrange for coaching sessions wherein an expert teacher guides her colleagues.
- College courses: A number of universities and colleges also offer courses that help to groom professional teachers.
- Workshops: Teachers should attend workshops that share a vast number of ideas and creative tactics to help teachers be more successful in their classrooms.
- Mentoring: Yet another sort of informal mode of education, mentoring is used by experienced teachers to aid new teachers understand about teaching techniques.
- Departmental meetings: Departmental meetings, be it at faculty levels or grade levels.
You would find a large number of professional learning schools that work with a mission to empower teachers in terms of their teaching skills and expertise. Review your options and choose the program that best meets your requirements and your professional goals. I am certain that your students would meet a new ‘you’ once you return from a session of professional learning!
Wishing you all the best for your very first day at a professional learning course.
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