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Asha Singh


Teacher - Elementary School



  • Posted 5 Years ago
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Professional Development Days or Professional Learning Communities for Teachers

 Professional Development Days or Professional Learning Communities for Teachers

As a practicing teacher for many years, I have attended numerous professional development days. After sitting through many workshops on professional development, I am of the opinion that there is room for improvement and necessary changes that will be focused on teacher learning and improvement that will be beneficial to both the student and the teacher.

Beginning a day of professional development, much valuable time is wasted in registering and getting to know you games. After a long and formal introduction, a speaker presents a topic that as a teacher has no relevance to you in your current situation. Beginning teachers as well as older teachers have to listen to the same speaker. You endure the torture with your mind wandering on what you need to get done in your class and how best to reach all your students with varying abilities as the presentation does not meet your interest. Additionally, teachers’ professional growth remains the same and the students lose critical instructional time with their teacher. Many of the topics presented have no relevance to teachers’ situation as most times they do not have an input in the organization of activities nor the topics for presentation.

Professional development is paramount to the long term effectiveness of a teacher.  Students as well as responsibilities change, more scrupulous standards are adopted and new researches and teaching methods are incorporated into teaching. As teachers, who need to meet the demands of this 21st century it is necessary to find means that will benefit both students and teachers. Hence, there is need for new and improved methods to reach the growing needs of students.

Professional learning communities are educators working together towards a shared purpose to enhance students’ learning. Teachers realize that the purpose of schools is for students to learn and the most important aspect in whether students’ learn is teaching quality. Teaching quality is therefore improved through professional and continuous learning. Here staff members understand the connection between learning with students in the classroom and learning with colleagues.

 Teachers in professional learning communities interact socially and introduce multiple perspectives through reflection, collaboration, negotiation and shared ideas. They bring unique prior knowledge to the learning situation as they work together to create an ideal environment. Teachers prioritize students learning needs. They carefully look at students’ data and where they are performing well they celebrate students’ success. Conversely, particular attention is given to areas where students are not as successful. The teachers collectively take responsibility to learn new content, strategies, or approaches to increase their effectiveness in these problem areas.

Teachers who are members of professional learning communities benefit much more than teachers who attend professional development days. They accomplish more, they are more informed, they discover new and better methods to reach students and in the end both teachers and students benefit.

 January 26,2013

Based on my personal experience of professional development days as compared to  my knowledge of  professional  learning communities, I am of the opinion that PLC would be more beneficial to students. PLCs main objective is not to ensure that students are taught, but to ensure that they learn. The shift is from focusing on teaching to focusing on learning. This paradigm shift has thoughtful suggestions for schools. PLC encourages teachers to work collaboratively, for the benefit of students. They share ideas and suggestions with each other for the benefit of students.

Teachers working as peers collaboratively fashion an ideal environment for a constructivist learning approach. This approach benefits students and teachers. Additionally as teachers work together to benfit students, they develop camaraderie, professional behavior and consistently increase their effectiveness through continous learning that would benefit both themselves and the students.

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