Teacher professional development or TPD is a vital tool, resources and ongoing learning opportunities available to teachers and other education personnel. TPD is the tool by which policymakers’ visions for change are disseminated and conveyed to teachers. Schools today faces complex challenges such as increasing diverse population of students, integrating new technology in the classroom and the need to meet rigorous academic standards and goals, there are need for teachers to be able to enhance and build on their instructional knowledge. Teacher professional development (TPD) is essential for teachers to be effective and successful in the classroom.
Having an effective teacher professional development is vital to school success and teacher satisfaction. TPD consists of three common models; standardized, site-based, and self-directed (Gaible & Burns, 2005).
Standardized TPD focus on rapid dissemination of specific skills and content such example is “train-the-trainer” approach. It gives teachers the opportunity to obtain broad and useful knowledge while interacting with other professionals. One type of standardized TPD is referred to as the Cascade model. In the Cascade model, teachers attend a centralized workshops or training and then have them train the rest of the staff.
Site-based TPD is a method that usually takes place at resources center within the school. It focuses on the specific or needs of the school that individual teachers encounter as they try to implement new techniques. Site-based is designed for teaching more difficult and important information and is the most effective, because it allows for the discussion to address the realities of the classroom in which the practices are to be implemented into the school.
However, a downside to site-base TPD approaches are time and labor-intensive, and can be a challenges. Site-based TPD also extends over a longer period and can takes place in many locations as well.
In self-directed TPD model, it places all responsibility on the teacher and requires little of the school. Teachers are given more flexibility to learn the skills they need to improve the experience for their students. Self-directed TPD focuses on the teachers’ individual needs for their development. To be effective using this model, teachers will have to participate in ongoing, self-motivated learning, and self-directed activities. This model is dependent upon the autonomy of the teachers and their ability to adapt their research to the specific needs of their classroom.
I do not work in a school, but I do hear from my sister who works for the local school district in the communication department that they use all three methods of professional development. As I asked for more information from my sister about her work and the local school district, and TPD models, I was informed every year, teachers and staffs are required to attend either a conference or training at various locations. The teacher’s conferences are for developing strategies and curriculum in the classroom and non-teaching staff’s training is to encourage the staffs about building of community as a whole staff.
She also informed me that the school district encourages self-directed professional development. They are told to list their professional and personal goals, their plan and expectation to complete them, and what resources are needed it to accomplish those goals. One skill that often request by teachers and staffs is to get more training in technology. Often teachers who have technology background request training so they can implement them into their lesson plans effectively. There are also technology workshops when new applications are implemented for teachers to simply their lessons plan and grading systems.
According to my sister, the schools benefit most from site-based TPD. There are usually training at the school sites for the teachers and staffs. The training is instructional. It usually work out better for the teachers because they like to ask questions and work in a hands on manner so they can directly experience what they are learning.
Gaible, E. & Burns, M.. (2005). Section 3: Models and best practices in teacher professional development. Using technology to train teachers: Appropriate uses of ICT for teacher professional development in developing countries (pp. 15-24). Retrieved from http://www.infodev.org/en/Publication.13.html