“That is what learning is. You suddenly understand something you’ve understood all your life, but in a new way.” – Doris Lessing.
As educators and school leaders, we often encourage our students to continue learning beyond the classroom and pushing to reach their full potential, but who enables us to do the same? We must keep identifying new ways to spark our team’s daily passion for education and our desire to keep reaching new professional goals.
Professional development is a great way to ignite our commitment to providing the best education quality. This type of development refers to a periodic collaborative learning process for work team members that focuses on growth. When educators engage in professional development, it directly benefits the students’ learning process because it helps educators apply more effective practices to daily challenges of working in a classroom, such as instruction, management, and parent relations. Professional development also helps educators analyze student achievement, identify learning issues, create appropriate solutions, and apply them to serve the needs of the school’s community.
So how can you stay on top of your team’s professional development and, most importantly, make it effective?
Create a Learning Team.
A learning team is when different team members of your school’s faculty focus on working together to research and analyze data that will help identify what might be creating learning gaps within the students. A learning team will work together to reach mutual goals and determine the following steps to close those gaps. Once the team completes its learning process, they move forward to incorporating those newly gained skills into the classroom or the administrative side of the school. Answering questions like “How are students performing better with the educators’ newly gained knowledge?” helps ensure that educators are constantly working to address students’ learning challenges more effectively.
By asking for your team’s suggestions and providing options, you’ll ensure that the professional development you are offering is relevant and cost-efficient. Ensure educators come away from every workshop or course with the correct in-depth information and tools they need to implement in the classroom. Remember, every team member faces unique challenges and already has a different set of skills, so identifying resources that will specifically tackle their needs will increase your team’s efficiency and help increase their confidence in and out of the classroom.
Make It Ongoing.
Unfortunately, one workshop alone won’t do the trick. Creating strategic and ongoing professional development opportunities that are relevant to your staff will generate enthusiasm and help your faculty feel more confident implementing new strategies in their classrooms. Remember that uncertainty and lack of confidence can mean wasted time, effort, and resources. By keeping an open-door policy, you’ll encourage your team members to approach you with any questions related to the information or tools they just gained and what would be the best practices to apply it and help increase student learning engagement.
Effective professional development can be assessed through surveys, recordings, observations, and tests. But much like education, professional development is also not one-size-fits-all. Remember that a school should always be a place where everyone learns, and this may require adaptation to best suit the needs of your school staff. But ultimately, teachers and administrators who develop their knowledge and skills regularly serve as models for students showing them that learning is essential and valuable no matter their age.
Schola offers various free resources to help educators and leaders feel inspired and continue learning even if they only have a few minutes to spare every week.
- Visit our Schola School Blog and get insights on the latest and most relevant topics for school leaders and teachers all across the country.
- Join our weekly webinars to learn with our communication professionals the best strategies and tactics to improve your recruitment efforts.
- Sign up for Schola’s Social Media Certification Program. This certification recognizes that you or your team members java mastered the Attract, Commint, and Nurture stages of student recruitment. The certification is free and you can even display it on your website, LinkedIn page, or anywhere you’d like.
Professional development opportunities are available. Continue learning today!