It has been some time since I wrote my last article. During the last few months I gave a number of Training Workshops which made me reflect on the attitude of teachers towards Professional Development.
For sure, seeking Professional Development has become an essential part of the teaching profession. Yet in the 21st century there are still teachers/people who believe the opposite!! I wonder why?! Whose fault is it??! Most probably their way of bringing up and education have to play an important role in that!! The ability to look forward and reflect upon your needs as a teacher is a blessing not given to many people!! Through my observations as well, I found that school administrations play an important role in increasing or pushing teachers’ desire to attain Professional Development. Many teachers believe since they are doing well with their students in class, this means that they are great teachers. Why, then, the need for PD?! Why bother?? Why pay a lot of money??! This is what PD means to them. If Schools set strong ties between PD and annual teacher evaluation, teachers won’t think that way!!! They need to understand:
n ** The difference between formal and informal PD
** PD can be done online and on a personal basis for FREE!!
** We as teachers need so much to REFLECT on our work in class, think of different ways and methods of assessing our work in order to help our students improve with learning the language
** We need to set clear cut objectives for our work besides the weekly and term plan. We need to think what skills do we need to improve this year and how?!?!
** It is also essential that the teachers share with their Seniors and Supervisors in setting plans for the weekly and term plan as well as preparing the booklets required for written or additional work in class. Nothing should be dictated. If they don’t know, teach them!!?!
** Teachers need to go through the whole of their course books (both 1st and 2nd term) before setting plan of work. They need to know: where does the book start? How does it go from there? Why and how does it end?
Reflection ……… Reflection ……… Reflection …. is the key to Professional Development and teaching skills enhancement. It may seem a little bit difficult at the beginning, but it becomes easier with more practice.
A final important point in mind, is Peer Observation or Peer Benefit Exchange, as I’d prefer to call it, is really important. We need to change our perspective of the idea!?!?! We can exchange class experiences, activities, ways of lesson preparation, attend each other’s classes and exchange PD and info. This is a great support for novice teachers and a wonderful boost for experienced ones.
I’d be more than happy to read about your reflections on these ideas J