Effective Professional Development
Effective professional development is intensive enough to allow people to develop new knowledge and skills (Cook, 1997). When entering into a professional development workshop, there are components which would allow you to believe you’re in the workplace as well as in a training environment. Professional development instructors believe that, "professional development enriches teaching and improves learning for all students. It is an essential link to higher student achievement" (Cook, 1997). Workshops help teachers gain support for the classroom to enable them to succeed. A classroom needs management strategies or practice with new curriculum materials (Boreen, 2000).
Attending Professional Development
There are many different ways in which an educator can attend professional development workshops. School systems offer workshops in and outside of the school building. The school administration will bring in different speakers to talk to teachers on strategies for improving their classroom skills and methods for developing higher student achievement. Most programs suggest that new teachers should have a professional development growth plan to follow.
There are three basic components to professional development: goals, pathways, and a portfolio. Goals help determine what the teachers need to learn through professional development. Portfolio contains lesson plans, units, activities, notes, pictures, etc.
(Boreen, 2000). Professional development pathways are ways in which to attend professional development courses in a different way than the norm. Some ways are attending district and school sponsored mentoring programs, professional conferences, enrolling in university or college courses or by joining professional organizations (Professional Learning Communities, 1997. As a result of these professional pathways teachers learn different skills they can apply in the classroom.
The following is an example of one school system that developed a mission statement for professional development: The mission for the Howard County Public School System is, "to ensure the highest level of performance for all school system staff by providing a full range of professional development services, resources, and support to promote success for all students" (Allan 2001). As teachers enter into new professional development opportunities they begin to bring the knowledge that they have received back into the classroom while while at the same time, enhancing the student experience.
Educators must, however, consistently evaluate the effectiveness of professional development on job performance and student achievement (Characteristics, 1997).
Courses Offered in Professional Development
Professional development courses in reading and language skills, as well as math and science, have now been made mandatory for all teachers to learn new educational ideas and methods. Educators learn new ways to evaluate and...