Professional Learning Opportunities For Teachers That Work

The idea of teaching and managing the unique personalities of students for hours within a school day, and then being forced to close the day with a training, in-service, or workshop is not appealing to most teachers.

To make professional learning opportunities more appealing, three guiding principles should be considered: relevance, engagement, and opportunities for ongoing support.

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The first question that is commonly posed by classroom teachers is "How does this professional development workshop apply to me as a teacher?" If teachers are unable to see how they fit within the equation, then physically they are present, but mentally they are disengaged.

The fact of the matter is that all professional learning opportunities do not apply to all educators. For instance, preschool teachers would likely not find relevance in a workshop about the upcoming state-mandated test for 3rd-8th graders.

Despite the fact that this population of teachers understands that they provide the fundamental skills that set the tone for the subsequent grades, they look for training that they can implement immediately.

If the training of any sort does not result in immediate outcomes that influence student learning, student achievement, and the quality of teaching, then teachers experience a lack of interest, and rightfully so.

Professional learning opportunities that work must be teacher-centered and integrate adult-learning theories just as classroom instruction is geared toward student-centeredness and child development theories.