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Teacher Professional Development

Teacher Professional Development - Overview/Issue It has...

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Overview/Issue It has been noted by a National Education Association official said that teacher evaluation, compensation, and reassignment are the largest areas to remedy in regards to teacher effectiveness. Of these, teacher evaluation has the largest direct impact on student achievement. An effective evaluation system must be objective and transparent. More importantly, it must be a tool in order to improve the performance of teachers, not serve as a means to reward and reprimand. Thus, it must be supplemented with an effective professional development program. Professional development (PD) is arguably the most important component to teacher effectiveness. Most teachers through informal questioning noted that the PD programs at their schools lack the robustness needed in order to improve classroom teaching and instruction. In addition, teachers are often left feeling as if they are working in a vacuum; many do not interact with their peers or supervisors on a daily or weekly basis. While teachers do value matters such as merit pay and level of resources; however, not as much as they value staff support, opportunities for growth, and helping children. A low-stake and collaborative environment must be established at each school. Studies show that teachers need the following from their collaborative work groups, in order to develop their collective skills and student performance; this performance being based on school-level assessment without punitive consequences or public reporting: Shared Values and Goals Collective Responsibility Authentic Assessment Self-Directed Reflection Stable Settings Strong Leadership Support Recommendations To reverse the trend of ineffective professional development, the following should occur: 1. Administration must commit to a clear and consistent curriculum and razor-sharp academic goals. They must also provide structured interventions aligned with the instructional program. 2. Teachers would take accountability for student success if they could have control over how success is measured and assessed. Therefore, they should be very involved in as many stages of the professional development planning process as possible.
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