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Professional Development with Regard to English
Prof. Annapoorni Balan Bookmark and Share

Introduction:

To meet the changing needs of learners in the modern world, teachers have to pursue professionaldevelopment. They have to do this by assessing and reexamining their teaching beliefs and practices. They also need to take the responsibility for their professional growth in teaching. Teacher's professional development is considered as an essential factor for teachers to function successfully. On the other hand, teacher professional development has to be viewed as an absolute necessity not only for professional reasons, but also for moral ones. Teachers has a moral obligation to be the best professional. They nurture learners’ minds and expose them to skills and current techniques that will make them successful and thoughtful learners. The role that teachers have to play in the society is crucial because teachers shape future generation and help create a better tomorrow for learners,


As professional development is important for any career, it is equally important for all teachers. Teaching material, techniques and methods are constantly being updated and changed. This implies that teachers’ education alone will not be enough to serve them throughout their career. Teacher professional development means life-long learning and growing as an educator because teachers’ work is never complete.

Fullan (1991) defines professional development as “ The sum total of formal and informal learning experiences throughout one’s career from pre-service teacher education to retirement”

Teachers always have something new to learn and share with others about strategy or new resource that are created and implemented. This is the true nature of the profession: disseminating, learning and reflecting. Teachers have to be given the time to learn frequently and in a supportive manner. Thus providing them with regular improvement inputs will them and their learners. It was found that an inspiring and informed teacher is the most important school-related factor influencing students’ achievements. So it is critical to pay close attention to teachers training and developing as well as giving support to both experienced and new teacher. As a teacher of English for a long time, the researcher feels that it is very important to investigate the idea of teacher professional development. Teacher development constitutes the base for the process of English language teaching. Moreover, studies on professional development in the other world are scarce.


Statement of the Problem:

Over the past two decades learners’ achievement in English language has dropped drastically. Meanwhile, other Language -speaking countries have raced ahead in the field of foreign language teaching and learning. In other words, India has experienced deep education deficits compared to other countries. It is known that the single most effective factor in learner’s achievement is excellent teaching. Comparisons between India and other Language-speaking countries in English language education, it appears clearly that very little has been done to train, assess, and develop English language teaching in India. Teachers are expected to develop without provision of continuous support , feedback and training. So, in order to rebuild India in the 21st century and provide every Indian with high-quality education, a revolution in education is needed. The revolution begins with the teacher. It is crucial now to work well with teachers and support them getting better and better. It is very crucial now to set the stage for a great change that is required.

Objectives:

The objectives of this study are:

1- To explore the concept of professional development.
2- To identify teachers’ view on professional development in today’s world.
3- To explore the field of teacher development in order to find out the best opportunities and activities.

Questions of the Study:

1- What is professional development in education?
2- Why do teachers need professional development?
3- How do teacher view professional development ?

Significance of the Study

The study will contribute to the field of English language teaching , teacher growth and development in India. This in turns will have positive impact on students’ learning.

Limits

This study was conducted in India in the academic year 2016. The subjects are secondary school
teachers of English language.

LITERATURE REVIEW-Conceptual Framework

Professional development is the skills, knowledge and ongoing learning opportunities undertaken to improve an individual's ability to do their job and grow as professionals. In the modern and ever changing work place professional development is key to career longevity. Professional development is about keeping one’s skills and one’s career fresh and on top of the game.

Professional development is the skills and knowledge employees gain to optimize their personal development and job growth. It includes learning opportunities, such as college degrees and course work, or attending conferences or training sessions. This development is an extensive and collaborative process; upon completion, an evaluation of progress is usually performed. Many different professionals engage in such learning opportunities, including teachers, lawyers, healthcare professionals, and engineers. These individuals often have a desire for career longevity and personal growth, and they are, therefore, willing to undergo the necessary training to obtain these goals.

In some professions development is an ongoing necessity and expected if one wants to maintain their jobs. For example doctors must stay abreast of new medical advancements, surgeons must learn new techniques, and teachers are also required to undergo further training. Professional development can be undertaken by individuals hoping to develop their skills in order to gain a promotion or a new job or can be requested by employers to give their employees further training to improve their job performance. The advantage of on the job professional development is the employee gets training specific to their current role and employers precise requirements. Also it is usually at no cost to the employee. For some specialized fields professional development is critical.

In the United States, some states require teachers to participate in career development. For example, in the state of Arkansas, teachers are required to have 60 hours of these learning activities yearly. Additionally, an engineer may have to undergo career development to stay on top of new technology and practices.

The opportunities involved in career development can range from workshop attendance, to an entire semester of academic courses, to different services provided by various development providers. An individual can participate by taking the necessary classes on her own or taking advantage of the benefits offered by some corporate human resource departments. The main advantage of doing it on the job is the opportunity to learn and develop leadership abilities or specific task skills. Furthermore, individual training may cost the employee financially, which she/he may not be able to recover if the company does not have a reimbursement program.

There are numerous benefits to the employer as well as the employee. For example sending employees to industry conferences keep the abreast of new developments in the industry, for companies in quickly changing markets such as advertising or online technologies it would be very beneficial to advertising or online technologies companies to have employees who are on the cutting edge. Professional Development can come in many different forms. Workshops, degrees, coursework, conferences, training sessions, online pod casts, discussion boards and classes, can all be forms of professional development. Different companies and industries prefer varying approaches to professional development, depending on the outcomes required.

Case Study Method - The case method is a teaching approach that consists in presenting the students with a case, putting them in the role of a decision maker facing a problem (Hammond1976).

The Case Study approach involves a group leader talking students through a case study and encouraging them to discuss options and come up with a solution. This approach helps with group communication, confidence in problems solving and group dynamics.

Consultation - to assist an individual or group of individuals to clarify and address immediate concerns by following a systematic problem-solving process. The Consultation approach is a similar approach to the Case Study Approach, in that it addresses problem solving but this approach focuses on uses specific processes to arrive at a solution. This approach is more structured and helps employees to learn to follow correct procedure in a timely fashion.

Coaching - to enhance a person’s competencies in a specific skill area by providing a process of observation, reflection, and action. The Coaching approach works with the process of Observation, reflection and then action. It looks to help employees in a range of areas through the art of watching and thinking before rushing to do.

The Communities of Practice approach groups employees together with common learning goals and teaches them to work together as a group to reach a common goal. This approach can be good for teaching teams about reaching organizational goals and networking. It improves professional practice by engaging in shared inquiry and learning with people who have a common goal.

Lesson Study - to solve practical dilemmas related to intervention or instruction through participation with other professionals in systematically examining practice.

Mentoring - to promote an individual’s awareness and refinement of his or her own professional development by providing and recommending structured opportunities for reflection and observation. The Mentoring approach helps the individual to self assess their own abilities through reflection. Mentorship is a personal developmental relationship in which a more experienced or more knowledgeable person helps to guide a less experienced or less knowledgeable person. The person in receipt of mentorship may be referred to as a protégé (male), a protégée (female), an apprentice or, in recent years, amentee. "Mentoring" is a process that always involves communication and is relationship based, but its precise definition is elusive. One definition of the many that have been proposed, is “ Mentoring is a process for the informal transmission of knowledge, social capital, and the psychosocial support perceived by the recipient as relevant to work career, or professional development; mentoring entails informal communication, usually face-to-face and during a sustained period of time, between a person who is perceived to have greater relevant knowledge, wisdom, or experience (the mentor) and a person who is perceived to have less (the protégé)"

Reflective Supervision - to support, develop, and ultimately evaluate the performance of employees through a process of inquiry that encourages their understanding and articulation of the rationale for their own practices.

Technical Assistance - to assist individuals and their organization to improve by offering resources and information, supporting networking and change efforts. Professional development is a broad term, encompassing a range of people, interests and approaches. Those who engage in professional development share a common purpose of enhancingtheir ability to do their work. At the heart of professional development is the individual's interest in lifelong learning and increasing their own skills and knowledge.

Previous Studies

The following areas (Vanessa Vega, 2003) detail the range of best practices found by researchers to be critical for ensuring teachers growth and success:

1. Effective Administrator and Teacher Leadership,
2. Job-Embedded Professional Development, and
3. Professional Learning Communities.

Research shows that the following features of effective leadership can improve student achievement:

1. A vision of academic success for all students based on high expectations
2. A safe and cooperative climate for learning
3. Support and training to promote continual professional learning
4. Data to track and promote collaborative inquiry and practices that improve student learning
5. Cultivating leadership in staff, parents, and community partners.

In job embedded professional development, it has been found that: when teachers receive well-designed professional development, an average of 49 hours spread over six to 12 months, they can increase student achievement by as much as 21 percentile points. On the other hand, one-shot, "drive-by," or fragmented, "spray-and-pray" workshops lasting 14 hours or less show no statistically significant effect on student learning

Above all, it is most important to stress that effective professional-development programs are job-
embedded and provide teachers with five critical elements.

Collaborative learning: 

a. Teachers have opportunities to learn in a supportive community that organizes curriculum across grade levels and subjects,

b. Links between curriculum, assessment, and professional-learning decisions in the context of teaching specific content,

c. active learning: teachers apply new knowledge and receive feedback, with ongoing data to reflect how teaching practices influence student learning over time,

d. Deeper knowledge of content and how to teach it: training teachers solely in new techniques and behaviors will not work,

e. sustained learning, over multiple days and weeks: professional-development efforts that engage teachers in 30 to 100 hours of learning over six months to one year have been shown to increase student achievement:

Research on professional development for teachers has shifted in the last decade from delivering and evaluating professional-development programs to focusing more on authentic teacher learning and theconditions that support it. Professional learning communities (PLCs) or networks (PLNs) are groups of teachers that share and critically interrogate their practices in an ongoing, reflective, collaborative, inclusive, learning-oriented, and growth promoting way to mutually enhance teacher and student learning. PLCs go a step beyond professional development by providing teachers with not just skills and knowledge to improve their teaching practices but also an ongoing community that values each teacher's experiences in their own classrooms and uses those experiences to guide teaching practices and improve student learning. Research shows that when professional learning communities demonstrate four key characteristics, they can improve teaching practice and student achievement in reading, writing, math, science, and social studies subject tests: Successful collaboration, focus on Student learning, continuous teacher learning, and teacher authority to make decisions regarding curriculum, the processes of their own learning, and aspects of school governance.

Several practices of professional learning communities have received consistent support : Videobased reflections, lesson study, mentoring programs, and grade-level teams.

1. Video-based reflections: Using video to reflect upon teaching practice has been shown by several studies to improve teaching practice or student achievement. In one case study, teachers met regularly to develop video clips of their best teaching practices for the Board Certification application. This resulted in the teachers engaging in intensive discussions about mathematical discourse while collaboratively and substantively examining each other's practices (Brantlinger et al. , 2011). Similarly, in a case study of four middle school math teachers who participated in a year long series of ten video club meetings to reflect on their classrooms, teachers in the video club "came to use video not as a resource for evaluating each other's practices, but rather as a resource for trying to better understand the process of teaching and learning" in a supportive, nonthreatening setting.

2. Lesson study: Lesson study is a form of Japanese professional development that engages teachers in collaborative analysis of lessons. It has grown rapidly in the United States since 1999 (Lewis, Perry, and Murata, 2006). One purpose of lesson study is to continually improve the experiences that teachers provide for their students. Teachers come together to work on three main activities:(1) identifyinga lesson study goal, (2) conducting a small number of study lessons that explore this goal,and (3)reflecting about the process (including producing written reports).

3. Mentoring programs: A body of research indicates that mentoring programs can increase teacher retention, satisfaction, and student achievement (Ingersoll and Strong, 2011), as well as reduce feelings of isolation, particularly for early-career teachers. For example, a quasi-experimental study by the Educational Testing Service found that teachers with a high level of engagement in a large-scale mentoring program improved both teaching practices and student achievement, producing an effect size equivalent to half a year's growth. Mentor relationships are most successful when the mentor is positive, pro-social, professional, and from the same teaching area.

4. Grade-level teams: Grade-level teams focused on student learning have also been supported by research. In a quasi-experimental study in nine Title I schools, principals and teacher leaders used explicit protocols for leading grade-level learning teams, resulting in students outperforming their peers in six matched schools on standardized achievement tests (Gallimore, Ermeling, Saunders, and Goldenberg,2009) These outcomes were more likely for teams led by a trained peer facilitator,teaching similar content,in stable settings in which to engage in ongoing improvement,and using an inquiry-focused protocol (such as identifying student needs, formulating instructional plans, and using evidence to refine instruction) (Gallimore et al. , 2009).

METHODOLOGY

This study adopts a positivist view of research. The methodology used is the descriptive research method. A questionnaire,in the form of a rating scale, is used for data collection. It consists of seventeen items. The questionnaire was judged by a committee of three for validity. A pilot trial was carried out to ensure reliability which was calculated via Pearson’s coefficient , and it was 00. 87. The subjects of the study were randomly selected using the lottery procedure to ensure that every one had a chance to be selected for the study. . .


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12/02/2019
More by : Prof. Annapoorni Balan
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