Professional Development for Educators It

Entities such as the U.S. Department of Education for example offers several suggestions for mitigating problems related to teacher development issues.

The Teacher-to-Teacher Initiative (U.S. Dept. Of Education) for example provides teachers with a basis from which to make their own development choices. This not only provides teachers with the opportunity for further development, but also to remain autonomous regarding the decisions that they make in this regard. Indeed, this aspect is essential in accomplishing true teacher development.

The Teacher-to-Teacher Initiative is implemented by teachers themselves, and provides other teachers with technical support, professional development, and also recognition for teachers for their accomplishments at their various grade levels. In this way, it is the aim of the Department of Education to strengthen its support for teachers within the United States. Specifically, the following aspects are addressed by the Teacher-to-Teacher Initiative:

Summer workshops are offered free of charge. This provides teachers with the opportunity to be part of professional development programs that provide support in the classroom, technical assistance, and collaboration strategies for working with students to optimize performance and ultimate results. The Web site also offers links to workshops from previous years so that teachers can make an informed decision of whether to participate.

The recognition process in the program takes place as the “American Stars of Teaching.” Parents, students, colleagues and others are allowed to make nominations of teachers who have accomplished an exemplary level of teaching. Specifically, this award recognizes teachers who improve student achievement, implement innovation in the classroom, and generally make a difference in the lives of students and their colleagues. Many nominations are received, and the year 2008 saw 5,000 nominees. The Web site also includes previous honorees and a fact sheet with information on previous American Stars.

In addition to the above, teacher roundtables are held regularly in order to meet with teachers from all communities and discuss issues that relate to teaching and learning.

This is important, as important issues are raised, and teachers feel that their experiences and problems receive due attention by officials and authorities.

Programs such as the Teacher-to-Teacher Initiative can be used as a model upon which to build specific development programs for teachers at individual schools. Recognition programs will for example serve as an inspirational and motivational force for teachers to accomplish more than merely the goal of a daily quota of teaching.

It is important to implement regular workshops and training opportunities on the basis of voluntary participation. Teachers should never be forced to attend such training opportunities, as this will create a negative attitude towards an implementation that should affect them positively.

Principals and department leaders can play a very important role in implementing development programs for teachers. Regular informal discussions should be held with teachers at a school or community in order to determine the issues they face on a daily basis. The findings from such discussions can then be used to model initiatives for training opportunities, further discussion, and recognition ceremonies.

In conclusion, teachers count among a countrys most important assets. It is time that programs be implemented to recognize and develop their full potential.

Sources

ACME (2006, Sept.). Ensuring effective continuing professional development for teachers of mathematics in primary schools. http://royalsociety.org/downloaddoc.asp?id=5085

Moor, H., Halsey, K., Jones, M., Martin, K., Stott, a., Brown, C. And Harland, J. (2005). Professional Development for Teachers Early in their Careers: an Evaluation of the Early Professional Development Pilot Scheme (DfES Research Report 613). London: DfES. http://www.nfer.ac.uk/research-areas/pims-data/outlines/early-professional-development-for-teachers-in-their-second-and-third-years-of-teaching.cfm

National Board for Professional Teaching Standards. (2008). Better Teaching, Better Learning, Better Schools. http://www.nbpts.org/

U.K. Department of Education (2008). Professional Development. http://www.deni.gov.uk/index/teachers-pg/4-teachers-professionaldevelopment_pg.htm

U.S. Department of Education. (2008). Teacher-to-Teacher Initiative. http://www.ed.gov/teachers/how/tools/initiative/index.html.

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