- A new report based on results from surveys of National Board Certified Teachers in 2016 and State and National Teachers of the Year in 2013-14, titled "Investing in What it Takes to Move From Good to Great," details teachers' thoughts on the most effective professional development (PD) strategies.
- The report offers educators' thoughts on the best PD approaches at varying levels, suggesting high-quality student-teaching experiences as the most critical for pre-service teachers, effective principals and assigned and informal mentors for novice teachers, National Board Certification and graduate coursework for career stage teachers, and service as mentors or coaches for teacher leaders, eSchool News reports.
- The report also makes recommendations for meeting those needs at each level, including making efforts to increase the appeal of "cooperating teacher" roles, boosting the flexibility and accessibility of mentoring, and creating teacher leadership "stepping stones."
Providing meaningful professional development to teachers has become particularly important in recent years with the introduction of new standards and technologies to classrooms nationwide — especially as the K-12 education system has increasingly come to grips with the need for new pedagogical styles that engage students while abandoning the "sage on the stage" approach of old.
For some districts, there has come a realization that truly effective PD necessitates a focus on teacher input rather than a top-down mandate based on seat time. Just as you can't apply a one-size-fits-all approach to educating students, neither can you do that for teachers. Abandoning that sort of approach can avoid boredom and burnout and open the door to more creative approaches, while also allowing educators to focus on the areas they know they need the most improvement in, or just want to grow in.
One way a number of states have looked at doing this is via micro-credentials, which make it easier for learners to master specific skills around their needs or interests — though some concern remains around standards for rigor, stakeholder value, oversight and incentives for teachers earning them.