Jul 14

Top Professional Development Ideas For Teachers

Professional development for teachers increases student learning and achievement, but it isn’t easy to present information that applies to all teachers’ classroom challenges at the same time. Because there is no one-size-fits-all PD, it can be challenging to figure out how to engage teachers in professional development or how to improve professional development for teachers. This post will address how to improve teaching and learning in the classroom with some top professional development ideas for teachers.

What Are Some Examples Of Professional Development For Teachers?

Professional development for teachers improves teaching and learning in the classroom and can take many forms. Some ways teachers get professional development include: 

  • Teacher Workshops. On and off-premises workshops often focus on specific needs identified by the school or district. They provide guided learning and opportunities for teachers to interact with each other.
  • School-based PD. Schools host in-service days on designated days and times where teachers generally work in small group sessions. A teacher from the school presents a topic to address, and the group comes up with an action plan by the end of the session. Teachers collaborate, solve problems, and hold each other accountable.
  • Online Resources. Usually taking place at an individual level, online learning resources allow teachers to choose the topics for their professional development. Accessing online professional development will enable teachers the flexibility of learning what they want and working in PD in their personal time.

Professional Development Topics For Teachers 2022

Because classroom challenges vary depending on factors such as grade level, teacher experience, subject matter, and class and school size, it can be challenging to identify good topics for teachers. Five core areas that apply to most teachers are engagement, building relationships, direct instruction, learning goals, and assessment. Here are some top professional development ideas for teachers in these areas.

  • Engagement. Connect your students’ learning with the real world. Plan breaks during instructional time so students can identify and discuss links between the content they are studying and their own experiences, hobbies, and interests. Students look for and explain similarities and differences between their interests and experiences and the content using metaphors and analogies.
  • Building Relationships. Demonstrate that you care. When students believe you care about them, they will not only enjoy school more, but they are also more likely to follow class rules and become more engaged. Students like teachers to greet them in different but predictable ways. Use a chart to make notes of ways you might build predictable patterns for greeting students at the classroom door or as they join your virtual classroom.
  • Direct Instruction. Inform your teaching and target. Collect targeted information on the level of student knowledge through a pre-assessment of new content. Then, based on students’ initial understanding of the new content, present it in larger or smaller chunks. Use online apps and other approaches that you know engage students to make pre-assessments more fun. Some tools include oral discussions, brainstorming sessions, small group work, journaling, whiteboard, and multiple-choice questioning based on common misconceptions. 
  • Learning Goals. Identify learning goals, then ask students to identify a personal learning goal that interests them and that relates to the teacher-identified learning goals. Students then write down their personal learning goals. To ensure they make challenging, but achievable goals, teach your students to set SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, results-oriented, and time-bound) goals. Putting them in charge of their goals makes them active participants in their achievements.
  • Assessment. Administer a variety of assessments and immediately use the feedback to modify the pace of the lesson. You will use scores to help quantify the feedback, but don’t record them. Instead of viewing assessments as a negative critique after learning attempts, students become more engaged in learning. Some quick assessment techniques include asking students to signal whether they understand (e.g., thumbs up or down), asking true or false or agree or disagree questions, and asking students to briefly summarize what they are learning (e.g., create a tweet or elevator speech).

Pro Tip: When implementing these professional development ideas in your classroom, don’t overlook the power of keeping a self-reflection journal. When you document what worked, what did not work, and what you might do to improve upon the strategies in the future, you have a practical way to make incremental impactful improvements in your classroom.

Get access to hundreds of proven strategies made by teachers for teachers by subscribing to Avanti today. You’ll not only walk away with immediately actionable professional development ideas, but you will also get support materials, including implementation guides, reflection pages, online community spaces, and recommended resources to help you make the most of the strategies.

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