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Professional Development Strategies

Professional Development Strategies

Author: Ashley Sweatt

In this lesson, students will learn about various methods of professional development for teachers.

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Hi. My name is Ashley. And today's lesson is titled Professional Development Strategies. In today's lesson, we'll identify the best practices for professional development and coaching. We'll look at the methods for professional development and discover the benefits of professional development plans. What are the best practices for professional development in coaching? No matter the type of professional development, whether it's a PDP, a PIP, or instructional coaching, certain things should be considered.

Professional development should be based on an understanding of adult learning and motivation. Activities and lessons should be geared to how adults learn best. Professional development should encourage participation in the development process. Teachers should have say on how professional development is carried out. Professional development should encourage collaboration between colleagues and should be ongoing to enhance the teaching practices and knowledge of teachers.

What are the methods for professional development? Various techniques or a combination of techniques can be used to support professional development. Methods may include goal setting, completing coursework, teacher evaluation and feedback, and teacher incentive pay. Let's take a look at these more closely and the pros and cons of each.

Goal setting helps teachers determine a target they will work towards over the course of the year. Goal setting is usually part of PIPs or PDPs and instructional coaching. The pros of goal setting is that it motivates teachers to collaborate and reflect on their strengths and weaknesses. The cons of goal setting is that it can be time consuming and may take time for teachers to engage and enjoy the process.

Completing coursework involves teachers attending workshops and classes for college credit. This can be integrated into professional development to help achieve a teacher's particular goal. The process of completing coursework benefits the teacher by providing new methods and learning strategies. It gives opportunities for teachers to collaborate with other professionals in their field.

The cons of completing coursework is that the coursework can be costly and take the teacher away from the classroom. In some cases, the coursework may not benefit the teacher in reaching their goal or be consistent with the content area they teach.

Teacher evaluation and feedback involves teachers being evaluated on a one to three year cycle by either an administrator or an instructional specialist. As a result of an observation, teachers are given feedback, or instructional coaching can be used for improvement. The pros of this component is that it is beneficial for another professional to observe how the teacher interacts with students and how instruction is delivered. The cons are the evaluation is only completed by one person and may be based on limited information, such as the information provided by one or two observations.

Teacher incentive pay is pay based on performance. In some school districts, teachers receive a bonus compensation when student achievement increases. The pros of incentive pay are that it encourages and motivates teachers with monetary allowances. The cons is that it creates controversy between teachers because teachers do not get to choose their classes or students or any other factors that may affect student achievement.

What are the benefits of professional development plans? There are many benefits to professional development plans. Professional development plans help improve skills. There are opportunities for professional growth and instructional improvement. Professional development plans foster collaboration and unity among teachers. Teachers complain and learn from one another. The feeling of isolation is eliminated when teachers work together.

Another benefit of professional development plans is alignment. Professional development goals can be aligned to student academic standards, which may then improve student achievement. Professional development goals can also be connected to school improvement plans. Reflection is another benefit. Professional development plans also encourage teachers to self-reflect and self-evaluate their teaching practices.

Professional development plans can also provide personalized approaches for every teacher, whether they are probationary teachers, teachers needing improvement, veteran teachers, or teachers who are going through changes in their curriculum. Lastly, professional development plans offer long-term development and provide ongoing assistance for teachers as they develop professionally.

Let's recap what we have discussed in today's lesson. Professional development should be motivating to adults. Encourage participation in the development process. Encourage collaboration and be ongoing. One method that most professional development plans use is goal setting, which helps teachers plan a goal to work towards throughout the year. There are many benefits to professional development plans. They allow teachers to be reflective of their teaching practices. And it can be personalized to provide the exact type of support the teacher needs.

As we bring this lesson to a close, consider the methods and benefits of professional development. For more information on how to apply what you learned in this video, please view the Additional Resources section that accompanies this video presentation. The additional resources section includes hyperlinks useful for applications of the course material, including a brief description of each resource.

Notes on "Professional Development Strategies"


(00:00 - 00:11) Introduction

(00:12 - 00:27) What Will You Learn Today?

(00:28 - 01:16) What are Best Practices for Professional Development and Coaching?

(01:17 - 04:04) What are Methods for Professional Development?

(04:05 - 05:26) What are the Benefits of Professional Development Plans?

(05:27 - 06:03) What Did You Learn Today?

(06:04 - 06:32) Reflection

Additional Resources

Why Is Teacher Development Important?: Because Students Deserve the Best

This Edutopia article considers both the induction of new teachers and the need for ongoing professional development for teachers.

Providing Ongoing Professional Development

This resource from Learning Forward provides useful information on the need for and importance of ongoing professional development. In addition, there are useful professional development planning tools and resources.