Professional development refers to several forms of learning experience relevant to the work of an employee. Doctors, lawyers, educators, accountants, engineers and people from a wide range of occupations and companies engage in professional learning in order to learn and apply new knowledge and skills that will improve their work performance.
Many organizations require employees to engage in on-going professionally-approved learning, often as a prerequisite to maintain their jobs. Other employees also often pursue new learning on a voluntary basis.
Research has shown that teaching quality and school leadership are the most critical factors in improving learner success in learning. To ensure that teachers, school heads, and supervisors are as effective as possible, they continually expand their knowledge and skills to implement best education practices. Teachers learn to help learners learn at the highest level.
Many people might not be aware of the approaches used by their school to improve teaching and learner learning. Professional development is the only approach schools need to improve the success of teachers. Professional development is also the only way for teachers to learn so that they can improve their performance and increase learner achievement.
When people use the word "professional development," they typically mean a structured method, such as a meeting, seminar or workshop; collective learning among members of a work team; or a course at a university or college. However, professional development may also take place in informal ways such as meetings between work colleagues, independent reading and study, observations of the work of a colleague or other peer-reviewed learning.
Efficient professional growth impacts learners in public schools. Learners learning and achievement improve as teachers participate in successful professional development based on the skills required by teachers to meet the major learning difficulties of their learners.
People also use other names, including staff growth, in-service training, vocational training or continuing education. Whatever the word, the goal is the same — to enhance learning for teachers and learners.
College and university programs cannot offer a wide variety of learning opportunities required for graduates to become successful public school teachers. Once individuals graduate, meet the credential standards of their state and are hired, they learn from experience. As in all careers, new teachers and school heads take years to learn the skills they need to be successful in their works. The difficulty of teaching is so high that one third of teachers leave the profession within three years and there are instances that 50% leave within five years. Also seasoned teachers face significant challenges each year, including changes in subject matter, innovative teaching techniques, technical innovations, updated laws and procedures, and learner learning needs. Teachers who do not experience successful professional growth do not strengthen their skills and learners suffer.
New teachers jingle an overwhelming amount of unfamiliar topics, such as classroom management, teaching, curriculum, school culture and operations, test planning and administration, state expectations, parent relationships, and experiences with other teachers. Left to themselves, they can develop counter-productive behaviors. However, with increased help, new teachers are learning more successful practices to cope with everyday challenges. Additional funding also helps schools attract new teachers and set them on the pathway to being successful individuals. Many school systems offer mentors and induction services to novice teachers. In several countries, these services require teachers to obtain a professional license. Most notably, research indicates that new teachers who earned extensive mentoring had a positive impact on learner performance in as little as two years.
New principals and assistant principals, much like new teachers, benefit from continuing learning as they assume their new positions. Knowing the policies, rules, and procedures of the department takes significant time to learn and submit. Supervisors provide new principals and assistant principals with extra career development and mentors.
School heads that are instructional leaders also want to engage in professional learning planned specifically for teachers so that they can help their results. In addition, the concepts need professional development to discuss their unique positions and obligations. The professional development typically takes place in different locations. Many experts agree that school heads do not have sufficient access to professional development in relation to their position as school leaders.
While some schools and community organizations may offer training for parents of school-aged children or parenting, schools typically do not provide parents with professional development and instead rely on career development to enhance learner education. Professional learning is most effective when it comes to the day-to-day work of teachers. When learning is part of the school day, all teachers are participating in development rather than learning to be confined to those who volunteer to participate on their own. School-based professional development helps educators evaluate learner performance data during the school year so that learning challenges can be recognized immediately, solutions created and solutions easily applied to meet the needs of learners. Professional development can also be beneficial whether it takes place before or after classes begin.
Professional development may take place on a normal school day; at school, but before or after classes begin; after school on an educator's own time; during days the school system is reserved specifically for professional development; or during summer and other school breaks.
Teachers profit most from studying in an environment where they can actually apply what they learn — in the school where they work. However, some professional development can take place at a school district office or a vocational development center / college; a third-party location, such as a training center, a corporate office or a learning center; another school, school system, state or foreign country; a college or university (summer or evening courses or institutes); local, state or national conferences, seminars.
Online professional development may be useful for learning material and also viewing video demonstrations of successful teaching or leadership. Some on-line professional learning also offers immersive, real-time conversations between participants and experts. However, there are drawbacks to on-line professional growth: (1) professional development may not be related to the unique learning difficulties of the student-teacher. The teacher learns in isolation, rather than as a team member, where participants learn from colleagues' skills, experience and observations. (2) Cumulative development of teachers has a greater effect on learner achievement across the school than individual learning does. (3) No one can know whether or how well a teacher uses his or her learning to the benefit of learners.
Typical modes of professional development include individual reading / study / research; peer-to-peer study groups based on common needs or topics; observation: teachers observing other teachers; coaching: expert teacher coaching one or more colleagues; mentoring of new teachers by more experienced colleagues; team meetings to schedule lessons, solve problems, enhance results, and/or learn. These include online courses; college/university courses; seminars to get deeper into the subject; conferences to learn from a range of experts from around the state or country; full-school development programs; and private vendors' proprietary programs.