Select Page

When it comes to investing in professional development for teachers, workshops clearly come out as the No. 1 choice for institutions throughout the nation. More than 90 percent of teachers engaged in workshop training sessions during the school year, according to one study. But are workshops doing the job? Apparently not.

These short sessions do little to change teacher practices. Not only are they having little or no impact on helping teachers with their professional development, they’re not doing much to improve student achievement.

The problem with workshops is that they’re not consistent. The information learned is not typically put into practice — or there is little follow-through to determine whether the lessons are being incorporated in teaching styles.

To really be effective, professional development needs to be ongoing over an extended period of time, according to a report released by the Center for Public Education.

As with most professions, mastery of teaching practices are shown to improve through continuous practice. Here are 4 key strategies to boost the effectiveness of teacher professional growth plans.

1. Provide consistency.

Don’t think of teacher professional development as a one-time event, or even a sporadic series of events or programs. According to studies, effective professional development programs can require from 50 to 80 hours of instruction, feedback, and practice.

2. Adopt a system of coaching.

Mentorship has been shown to be particularly effective in the teaching profession. Peer observation combined with coaching have been shown to significantly help teachers move from merely having the knowledge of skills to effectively practicing the skills, according to the same report. This requires a dedication of staff members to the development.

3. Monitor results.

Ongoing evaluations also are key to the effectiveness of teacher professional development initiatives. Feedback from peer coaches, supervisors, and other staff members involved in a teacher’s training should be tracked to determine progress as well as to point out areas of concern. With teacher evaluation software, these details can be easily captured and reviewed regularly.

4. Motivate.

Encouraging participation may seem like a simple thing, but often is lacking with professional development programs — especially with short sessions like workshops. Recognize milestones with verbal and written feedback. If possible, tie in financial rewards, including bonuses or pay increases, with significant growth.

So, the lesson? Drop the workshops and invest in ongoing training to get the most effective teacher development results.

Featured Articles

Education Advanced acquires Standard For Success

Education Advanced acquires Standard For Success

Education Advanced, Inc. (EAI), a leading provider of operations management and workflow solutions for K-12 school districts, announced today the acquisition of Indiana-based Standard for Success (SFS), an independently owned company, founded by teachers, to support educators and administrators with software, services, and solutions.

read more
Graduation Pathways FAQ

Graduation Pathways FAQ

Indiana school advisors, administrators, counselors, and principals all have the important task of tracking graduation pathways for their students. In fact, the Indiana State...

read more
Make the Most of an Evaluation Walkthrough

Make the Most of an Evaluation Walkthrough

In order to provide the most effective learning environment possible, educators need ongoing evaluation and feedback. An evaluation walkthrough is an assessment tool that you can use to provide valuable data regarding how well the implementation of standards-based instruction is occurring. A walkthrough protocol needs to be established to make sure the data is retrieved, examined, and analyzed as efficiently as possible. The following explains the steps to take to successfully implement this process.

read more
Coronavirus and the Impact on High School Graduation

Coronavirus and the Impact on High School Graduation

The beginning of the pandemic in 2020 had major unexpected effects on many aspects of our lives. Unfortunately, this had a huge impact on children’s education, which moved students and educators to remote classrooms online instead of the traditional in-class school days we are all accustomed to.

read more