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Benefits of Professional Development

November 08, 2016

benefits of prof development

If there is one thing education leaders agree can improve classroom instruction, student learning and teacher retention all at once, it’s providing a robust professional development program.

When administrators invest in the professional development of their teachers, they are rewarded with a variety of positive outcomes within the classroom and across the entire district.

Here are Four Ways Professional Development Will Improve Your District:

  1. Retention. Teachers have notoriously high turnover rates, often leaving the profession within the first five years. Offering professional development programs for new teachers that focus on strategies and best practices in areas like classroom management will help teachers feel more supported and valued. Get them off to the right start, and they’re much more likely to stay.
  2. Deeper subject knowledge. Teachers must be lifelong learners, particularly in today’s changing world of ever-emerging technologies. Professional development allows teachers to develop new skills while also honing and improving old skills. It allows both new and veteran teachers alike to strive toward subject-matter mastery.
  3. A collaborative environment. When teachers start coming together for professional learning communities, department brainstorming meetings or mentoring programs, it becomes easier to pose questions and share ideas. Regular contact with others who teach the same grade or subject matter creates a natural and vital outlet for teachers to exchange resources and techniques. The formal and informal sharing of strategies and experiences keeps everyone focused on continuous improvement.
  4. Student achievement. This is the most important — and the most measurable — result of investing in professional development. When teachers learn, their students learn, too. Teachers who are inspired by colleagues and energized by their own learning will make a difference in the classroom. In addition, when teachers are armed with information about the variety of ways in which students learn, they are prepared to help each and every student improve and meet their own potential.

Professional development strategies come in all different shapes, sizes and models, including traditional models like conferences and workshops or more modern models, such as professional learning communities and unconferences. (Read more about the different models here.)

Whichever strategies you choose, more is better and subject is important. The more teachers are exposed to professional development opportunities that directly correlate to their specific subject matter or curriculum, the more they will actively work to implement in the classroom what they learn in their own sessions.

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