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Why Professional Development Should Be Embraced in the Education Sector

edCircuit Opinion

The word sabbatical brings to mind connotations of higher education. It’s unheard of for K-12 teachers to take time a one-year leave and dedicate themselves to research. Why is this not widely accepted? If teachers plan on remaining in their profession for an extended period, how will they build relevant knowledge and be better educators for their students?

Should teachers still learn? Scientific American understands the challenges of doing so. Teaching is a labor-intensive profession. It’s challenging to find access to innovative and informative workshops, and a new standard of professional development should be put into place. Do you believe that every teacher should have access to purposeful development opportunities? How will these opportunities help to improve their student’s quality of education?

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Around the Web:

Teachers Need More Than ‘Stale and Irrelevant’ Professional Development, Experts Warn

Kaye Wiggins | Tes

School leaders should prioritise teachers’ professional development and should make sure this work is focused on evaluating and improving pupils’ outcomes, according to new government guidance.

The guidance, published today by the Department of Education, is based on the recommendations of an expert group chaired by David Weston, chief executive of the Teacher Development Trust. It was tasked by ministers with producing a new standard for teachers’ professional development.

The group warned in a letter to schools minister Nick Gibb that although there were “pockets” of excellent teacher development across the country, some was “narrow” and made up of “stale, irrelevant and one-off events.”

“[Teachers] need readier access to evidence and expertise to allow them to make informed decisions about their professional development,” the letter to Mr. Gibb said. “They need clear opportunities to develop their careers and be recognised for greater knowledge and expertise.”

To read more visit Tes

Diary of a Techy Teacher: Why I’m Taking a One-Year Sabbatical with BetterLesson

A “sabbatical.” A “one-year leave.” In the teaching world, those are terms usually reserved for professors and higher education. As a matter of fact, the first time I ever heard these terms happened back when I was in college, where I also learned that taking a sabbatical is a requirement at some universities.

With this in mind, I bet you can’t name a K-12 educator who took a sabbatical while you were an elementary, middle school, or even high school student. For teachers, taking a sabbatical or one-year leave is still a novel idea. Most teachers probably haven’t explored the idea or don’t realize that many teaching contracts give you the option.

So, why should this matter to you?

To read more visit EdSurge

How Science Can Improve Teaching

Daniel T. Willingham | Scientific American

Most teachers would agree that it is important that students remember much of what they read. One of the most common sights on high school and college campuses across the land is that of students poring over textbooks, yellow marker in hand, highlighting pertinent passages—which often end up including most of the page. Later in the semester, to prepare for their exams, students hit the textbooks again, rereading the yellow blocks of text.

Studies have shown that highlighting and rereading text is among the least effective ways for students to remember the content of what they have read. A far better technique is for students to quiz themselves. In one study, students who read a text once and then tried to recall it on three occasions scored 50 percent higher on exams than students who read the text and then reread it three times. And yet many teachers persist in encouraging—or at least not discouraging—the techniques that science has proved to fall short.

This is just one symptom of a general failure to integrate scientific knowledge of the mind into schooling. Many commonly held ideas about education defy scientific principles of thinking and learning. For example, a common misconception is that teaching content is less important than teaching critical thinking skills or problem-solving strategies. Scientists have also long known that kids must be explicitly taught the connections between letters and sounds and that they benefit most when such instruction is planned and explicit. Yet some reading programs, even those used in large school districts, teach this information only if an instructor sees the need.

It is easy to argue that teachers ought to do a better job of keeping up with science, but teaching is already a labor-intensive profession. And it is difficult for the nonspecialist to separate scientific research from the usual flood of quackery and pseudoscience. Peddlers of expensive and supposedly research-based nostrums lobby school districts. Other products that may have scientific validity have not yet been thoroughly tested. For example, theories of mathematical learning suggest that linear (but not circular) board games may boost math preparedness in preschoolers, but the idea needs large-scale testing.

To read more visit Scientific American

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