Inquiry Project #6 – Summary of Learning
As the semester comes to a conclusion, so too does my inquiry project. My experiences over the semester in relation to the project allowed me to grow and progress as a person and becoming educator. There were many key understandings that I have been able to grasp and acknowledge, providing me with more clarity on the importance of professional development for teachers.
First, I learned more about how PD can occur. Professional development can happen in many different ways, such as in schools/classrooms through collaboration with other teachers; feedback from students and mentors; and personal reflections. It can also take place by attending PD events/workshops and volunteering, as both can be rewarding and offer new experiences. I also came to a realization that it can happen through inquiry and learning projects just like this one and my prior learning projects as you take personal responsibility in learning more about something, trying new things, and gain experience. Professional development can also take place though online interactions such as blogging, Twitter (such as #EdChat and similar discussions), and Google Hangout’s. Anything that helps improve teaching practices could be considered as PD.
Second, I learned about some of the benefits to being involved in professional development. New experiences, skills, and knowledge are all obtained through PD. Teachers can come to a deeper understanding of topics, issues, and practices. Another benefit to PD is collaboration and networking. Getting to meet, work with, and learn from new people whom have a range of backgrounds and experiences provides many benefits, especially for beginning teachers like myself. Such benefits include discovering new resources and ideas, and expanding your network with other people within your profession whom you can connect with later. Being involved in professional development can also promote team work and relationship building, much like what I was able to experience as a member of HOPE. Other areas of improvement include leadership and communication skills.
Another aspect of the importance of professional development that I was able to figure out was who benefits from professional development. Before this project, I thought that PD was only beneficial as an individual. However, I have discovered that PD creates a ripple effect in the sense that benefits start with the participant and is spread out to others. The way I see it, is that the participants, presenters, planners (and their organization) are all rewarded for their involvement, and their motivation then provides better experiences for students, parents, coworkers, and communities.
At the start of this project I asked “how can I become more involved in professional development?”. I feel like I was able to explain how I got involved in PD through my earlier posts, and that I can now suggest how YOU can become more involved in PD! It all begins with making an effort to devote time strictly for PD. You could start by trying an inquiry/learning project similar to this one, as you can work at your own pace on your time. Just make sure that you keep working on it consistently! Another possibility would be to try to participate in an EdChat of your interest on Twitter. They are a small time commitment and can be very informative! Check out this link for The Complete Guide to Twitter Hashtags for Education. A more traditional way that you can get involved is by attending PD events/workshops or becoming a volunteer. Lastly, if you are willing to dedicate a larger amount of time then I would highly recommend becoming an active member of a club, group, association, or society of your interest and get involved! Try your best to attend as many meetings as you can, and help the group be productive by sharing your opinions and suggestions or take on a role with responsibility.
Regardless of how you become involved in professional development, you will see the benefits, experience new learning moments, and be exposed to more opportunities. Be sure that you promote and share your professional development experience for others to grasp. By doing so, you’ll be an advocate for life long learning and a role model to your students. It is now clear to me, by the demonstrated benefits and gained knowledge, why professional development is so important for teachers.
Posted on April 11, 2015, in Education Core Studies (ECS) 350, Inquiry Project, Inquiry Project #6 – Summary of Learning and tagged HOPE, inquiry project, professional development. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.