Professional development, in its most simple definition, is learning opportunities. Under professional development, individuals are open to a wide array of these opportunities in order to gain knowledge and improve. The learning opportunities that make up professional development take up many forms. Conferences that aim to teach new skills and methods, formal pieces of academic material, training methods provided by an external or internal organizations are all learning opportunities through which professional development is attained. Professional development is a continuous process, that requires adapting to new techniques and approaches to improve a person’s technical capabilities.
The National Staff Development Council (2009) shed more light on professional development in education. The definition put out by the NSDC (2015) in a proposed modification to the elementary and secondary education act, states that professional development is “a comprehensive, sustained and intensive approach to improving teachers’ and principals’ effectiveness in raising student achievement” (Gilbert, 2009).
Professional Development and Education
Education is the bedrock of building a well functioning society. It provides the fundamental and advanced knowledge needed to improve the well-being of a country. Education is critical to the development of a country’s youth, as the popular saying goes, children are the future. The education received from teachers can either leave a lasting impact or have little or no effect on understanding. The Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation asserted that there is a need for “new paradigms, new practices and new people” (as cited in Holaday et al, 2007, 99). Professional development of teacher ...
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...lity to provide insight in way that impacts on the unique learning capacities of students.
The manner in which students have been taught in the past, stifled any form of creative energy and freedom. The information that was passed on was abstract and only needed to be understood enough for the purpose of graded exams. However, an understanding of material, brought about by teachers’ taught to cater to the distinct needs of their pupils, demonstrates the enormous benefits of professional development.
Whilst the need for professional development is clear, it is often unrecognized by the authorities that can implement such strategies, especially in education. Professional development is a tool that should be used more widely. Its use in education shows the benefits of such programs and show that it can be applied in fields where management and leadership are required.
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