History of Education and Professional Development Essay

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Traditional methods of professional development

Traditional methods of professional development include workshops, learning communities, and college classes at a doctoral level. Most traditional professional development opportunities occur locally. Working in local communities allows teachers to address the professional norms of practice for the area in which they practice, and allows them to form more appropriate policies (Schlager& Fusco, 2003, p. 205). Each community is different in many ways. By catering professional development opportunities to the community in which they will be used, this allows the teacher to gain more information that pertains to their student population and school system. Moreover, one opportunity for professional development that may be offered locally is workshops. Workshops are usually offered in the summer and last only a few days (Gibbs, H.J., 2004, p. 47). Workshops are convenient for most teachers because they have the summer off and therefore the workshop does not interfere with their busy school work schedule. Also, local workshops allow teachers to network with other local teachers. Teachers share and build on each others ideas and work together to develop integrated activities (Gibbs, H.J., 2004, p. 47). It is important for teachers to have peers with whom they can seek advice from. Teachers with more seniority may be able to offer newer teachers helpful advice or bring up another aspect of a subject that may not have been considered. Sharing ideas through collaboration can spark up ideas for other teachers. Another example of a traditional method of professional development is the formation of learning communities. Learning communities are groups of teachers who meet to work on their teaching skills or new techniques. Learning communities also provide a support system to the teachers that are involved. Researchers believe teachers are more effective when they collaborate because the teacher has moral support, situated certainty, and a better opportunity to learn (Coronel, Carrasco, Fernandez, & Gonzalez, 2003, p. 130). Teachers become more confident when they are formulating ideas with people who work in the same field as they do. Working with peers allows for constructive criticism and the sharing of personal experiences which help teachers to explore and learn to be more effective. Furthermore, another type of traditional professional development is taking college classes at the doctoral level. Traditional classes are preferred by most students because they find face to face discussions to be the most beneficial (Mather, M.A., 2000, p. 20). Some students also need face to face discussions in order to better hold their attention and absorb information. Face to face discussions are more personalized and are more able to delve deeper into discussion. Also, many students prefer the familiarity of traditional classes. Another reason traditional doctoral classes are preferred by students is that working with real people motivates students to do their work (Mather, M.A., 2000, p. 20). Working with real people helps motivate students because they want to be prepared in class, and have a good sense of personal accountability. Also, working with real people in a group situation is an important because students get to know the other people who are counting on them and are more motivated to do the work they need to do for the group.

Technology- enhanced professional development

Recently, more technology enhanced options for professional development have become available for teachers. One example of technology- enhanced professional development is distance learning for doctoral degrees. Taking classes online has become more popular because of a teacher’s busy schedule. Many teachers do not have the time to take traditional college courses because of the travel time and their already heavy workload (Mather, M.A., 2000, p. 20). Taking classes online allows teachers to fit the