Teacher Training – A Professional Growth Plan
Teaching is a tough profession that requires teachers to integrate both the science and the art of their craft in order to impart learning and knowledge. The science of teaching requires understanding learning theory and how the brain functions. The art of teaching requires teachers to produce content, products, and environmental resources in order to create engaging learning experiences that would encourage achievement amongst Learners. How can teachers perfect the art of teaching in a world today that is characterized by rapid change, increased cultural diversity, and remarkable advancement of knowledge? The answer is – Teacher Training!
Teachers should continuously keep up to date with developments in the Education Training sector. Teacher Training helps schools and teachers to improve what is taught, how it is taught, the extent to which students learn, and the structures needed to support their learning. Just as every student has a unique style of learning, every teacher has their own style of teaching. Good teachers know students are not manufactured in factories. They are not spit out of a machine onto a conveyor belt, the next one exactly like the last. Students have unique personalities and individual learning needs and styles, and the same idea applies to all teachers. But often, they get lumped into one-size-fits-all objectives and assessments that don’t take into account each teacher’s actual strengths, weaknesses, and goals.
For Teacher Training to be effective, the goals set for personal professional growth must include both long- and short-term goals. Many countries provide a template for organizing growth plans, often aligned to professional standards, for example school improvement plans. Teachers select professional development and education opportunities to help them achieve personal growth goals.
It is also critical that the teachers know how they will measure their progress. How can they analyse students’ behaviors and progress to indicate that they have achieved their instructional goals? If the teacher’s goal is to build small group discussions into more daily lessons, then how will one measure that specific goal? If the teacher outlines and defines the necessary data before he/she begins collecting it, they are more likely to monitor and evaluate progress along the way.
As a case study, in Alberta, every teacher employed by a school system must develop and implement an annual plan for professional growth that outlines the professional development activities the teacher intends to undertake in that year. This is definitely something that the UK could benefit from. So, how can a British teacher take up this habit of growth planning during their Teacher Training?
A teacher’s annual growth plan shall:
- Reflect goals and objectives based on an assessment of learning needs by the individual teacher,
- Show a demonstrable relationship to the teaching Quality Standards (Ofsted, Ofqual, E&T Foundation),
- Take into consideration the educational plans for the school, college or training provider.
The plan is to be submitted for review or approval early in in the fall and is also reviewed at the end of the year. A teacher who does not complete a plan may be subject to discipline. A growth plan may include mentorship or supervision of a student teacher and may be a multi-year plan.
Every aspect of your teaching training should be shaped by the role you want to play in the mentorship and development of your students. Every nuts-and-bolts teaching strategy, even the most practical advice about lecturing or writing exams, serves the goal of helping you become the kind of teacher who has inspired you. This is why your Teacher Training should flexible and customised to suit your own goals.
A great teacher should love educating students, and one of the principal goals many teachers set for themselves is to be the best educator they can be. Therefore Continuous Professional Development (CPD) and Teacher Training is always at the forefront of the growth plan of a good teacher. There is something extremely gratifying about imparting information to your students and working with them to ensure they understand, not only concepts, but practical applications as well.
Teaching is one of those careers where you learn something new every day, and many educators claim this as one of the main things they hope to get out of their career. Teachers also learn a great deal about themselves through teaching. Teacher Training courses usually require teachers to be observed and assessed during their training for this reason. This aspect of Teacher Training requires you to think out of the box in a way you may have never done before, and through this you learn about yourself as a teacher and as a person. You may learn more about how you work with others, particularly with children and better understand how to communicate effectively and teach efficiently.
“Nothing pushes students to do their best work like a professor who takes pride not in his or her own accomplishments, but in helping others realize their potential. “ — Jason Dent, Philosophy, ’05
When a teacher says their goal is to “make a difference”, what they mean is that they not only want to change the lives of their students, they want to change the face of education. Continuous improvement and Teacher Training is one of the key steps for education in the 21st century, so today’s teachers aim to keep learning as an everlasting process. To many, it includes improving one’s self professionally. Nowadays, they plan to use different methods and means of presenting information to students to achieve the necessary learning atmosphere.