by
Noverene Taylor
EDD 9100-OL8
Leadership Seminar
Nova Southeastern University
October 19, 2006
Dr. Ron Parlett
Professional development should aim at equipping all educators with the
knowledge, expertise and skills to establish safe and orderly learning
environments characterized by mutual respect in which academic learning
and psycho/social development will occur. It should enable teachers to
develop classroom management skills that support positive interaction and
nurture students' capacity for self-management. We cannot expect teachers
to teach what they do not know, or to use yesterday’s training to prepare
today’s students for tomorrow’s future.
Therefore, we need to create schools optimized for learning. In so doing, we
will be helping all teachers to excel at helping all students to reach the
highest levels of achievement they need to succeed.
The following are considered suitable recommendations that can be
incorporated in future professional development activities for the staff
members within the writer’s work setting.
Please click on each slide to view the information
In order for teachers to improve instruction, professional development must be
geared towards helping them to use and incorporate a variety of instructional
modes, and theories of learning such as constructivism, and multiple
intelligences. Teachers must also experience for themselves:
1. Hands-on activities
2. Discovery learning
3. Collaborative learning
4. Concrete manipulatives
5. Alternative methods of teaching, including collaborative learning, inquirybased instruction, and contracts.
Instructional resources to support the school’s curriculum should be purchased.
These resources should be utilized in the instructional programs that take place
during the school day.
Professional development should enable all teachers, regardless of the
grade level at which they teach, to have at least one practical experience
with diverse students ranging from special needs, such as, Attention
Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD), English as a Second Language (ESL)
to high-achieving students.
These experiences will enable the teachers to gain an appreciation for the
continuity of subject matter content, as well as, the cognitive development
of children.
Teachers must be provided with the opportunities and resources to
engage in ongoing professional development that fosters the use of
instructional technology and its incorporation into the elementary
classroom. These technologies include but are not limited to: digital
cameras, audacity, animations, and TV studio. Learning how to effectively
use technology in the context of the classroom does not happen overnight
and so the need will arise where more time will have to be allotted for
continual learning.
Furthermore, this need for continuing support means teacher training
must be ongoing and not limited to "one-shot" sessions. The
technological training must have an instructional focus that guides
teachers to think first about their curriculum and then helps them
address how to integrate technology into the curriculum.
When designing staff development sessions on technology, individual
differences must be addressed and individual strengths. Teachers
should also be allowed to visit each other’s classrooms to observe
technology integration. If educators are going to be convinced to change
their practice by integrating technology into their teaching, they must see
the relevance of technology to what they do in the classroom.
When teachers engage in ongoing reflection about what they have
learned about the instructional use of technology, they are more likely
to critically evaluate their own pedagogical practice and redesign their
instruction.
Collaboration must be encouraged for planning of lessons and ideas at the
K-6 levels. Likewise, parents must be encouraged to play more active roles
in their children's’ education. For example, being a resource person for a
class, and becoming a part of school committees that require parental
involvement.
Although a number of collaborative learning approaches are available,
team teaching and modeling have been most effective in transforming
classroom application and practice. It is very effective and should be
implemented because it does a better job of addressing the unique
learning needs of learners. There is a need to recognize and support
teacher efforts toward ongoing professional development through processes
such as joint planning, and peer coaching.
Professional development should focus on helping teachers to see the value
of using alternative methods of assessment. Specifically, this means that
teachers will assess students, not only by traditional written and oral
examination, but also by a variety of means such as:
1. Portfolios
2. Journals
3. Performance tasks
4. Group projects
5. Oral presentations
It must be ensured that methods of assessment used in classes be aligned
with the curriculum in a systematic way, thus enabling students to
understand the connection between instruction and assessment.
Teachers must also be introduced to 360 degree evaluation as this method
can help to identify their strengths and weaknesses and overall improve
professional practice.
If teachers are to feel good about taking time from their schedules to
acquire new skills, they must be provided incentives, and recognition
rather than road blocks. Although the means of such recognition could
vary, possible incentives to facilitate teacher recognition may include:
•
Encourage the teachers to share their experiences through writing school
magazine articles, sharing with new teachers, leading workshops, or other
means.
•
Give rewards such as a thank you card, a pen of appreciation or much more!
•
Providing copies of the software and manuals that teachers are trained on.
•
Provide ongoing and systematic professional development.
In order to equip our teachers for tomorrow’s future effective professional
development activities must be of high quality, comprehensive, and
ongoing. The focus must be on improving teaching and learning, rather
than focusing on the individual. The changing nature of learning, however,
presents a challenge to any professional development program since
teachers should be trained to deliver instruction in a dynamic, interactive
manner.
Professional development should not be considered as an add-on but
an integral part of school life. We cannot ask teachers to raise their
standards without giving them the support and time they need to keep
on learning. Professional development is of utmost importance because
of the large numbers of children with diverse languages, abilities, needs,
and cultures who fill our classrooms today. Because of these numbers,
sound staff development programs are indispensable.
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