EDS 111 – Module 5: Professional Development and Professional Learning Community
Being the teacher does not mean that you are the end-all of all knowledge. There is the concept of humility which a teacher should possess in his practice. What does this mean? This means that in class, even if the teacher is the most knowledgeable of the subject matter at hand, he should not boast to know everything and that he cannot learn anything more so from the students. Humility means admitting and knowing that one does not know something.
In this day and age, there are a lot of changes, new technology, new discoveries, new concepts and the like. As a professional, I am faced with the challenge of enhancing and updating my skills in my line of work to remain competitive with my colleagues especially those who are new and are equipped with up-to-date knowledge regarding my profession. I believe this is the same for all professionals; teachers included. Graduating as a teacher does not mean that learning stops but rather it is a continuous process in order to be an effective teacher. Thus, reflecting on this module, I have come up with some insights on what I am supposed to do when I become one.
For one, it is very important that I be an observer and inquirer and not just a spectator. To attain the goal of effective teaching, I should have the interest to do such and be inquisitive on the ways on how to do it. Being a spectator will just lead to passively looking at something without interest and this will not fill my hunger to learn. Another is to engage in constructive learning opportunities. There are a lot of ways to do this which includes foremost, learning by reflecting on my practice. The other ways to do such is to grab opportunities of learning which include sessions of continuous professional development. There are a lot of these right now and I have to be careful in choosing one that will enhance my lifelong learning and not the limited or confined type.
There are different kinds of CPDs. Of these, I want to point out that teachers should aim to have the teacher learning orientation type which focuses on revitalizing and re-imagining versus the traditional training approach which focuses on retooling and remodelling. To give a bird’s eye view, the teaching learning orientation is more of the collaborative and transformative type, involving students in the learning process, not confined to existing and proven framework, and aims to make the teacher reflective, inquisitive, active and autonomous. The traditional approach, on the other hand, is based on a limited approach, teaching teachers on confined and proven standards of teaching, treating teachers are passive participants, and just view teacher learning as a transmission from an expert. Given such distinctions, I, as a teacher, would like to aim for the teacher learning orientation. For me, it is more lifelong and the target of that is not just improving my teaching methods but rather the profession as a whole because it entails collaboration and the desire to seek solutions to problems that came about out of collaboration with students, colleagues and the community. Thus, in choosing the right CPD, I have to see which ones will produce extension or new skills and knowledge, growth or development of a higher level of expertise, and renewal or the transformation of knowledge and practice.
It should always be put in mind that teachers are seen as models and the way to inspire students to aim for achievement is to be a model that is holistic and this can only be done by continuously learning. I have read and watched that nowadays, there is the existence of professional learning communities wherein these are defined as groups of educators that regularly meet to share expertise and work collaboratively to address teaching issues and ways to improve the performance of students. This is a very comforting idea in that not only have we shied away from the one-size-fits-all instruction but also that it is good that students are now considered as parts of the learning process and not just receivers of knowledge. This shift allowed the development of such strategies to pinpoint the problems of education and helping each other so that optimum learning can happen. As of now, there are challenges to this concept like time constraints of participants and improper implementation, but in the future, I think I would like to be a part of it. I like their belief that “Every teacher is your teacher and every student is your student”.
To sum it up, it should be recognized that teacher learning is one important component of good education. For students to achieve their goals, they should have teachers who are confident in their practice and empowered enough to know that they can deliver essential and updated knowledge and skills to students. So, by the time I finish and be called a teacher, there will be new concepts already thus I should maintain open mindedness and be receptive to changes and learning.
Darling-Hammond, Linda. (1999, May 1). Teacher Learning That Supports Student Learning: What Teachers Need to Know. Retrieved from https://www.edutopia.org/teacher-learning-supports-student-learning
Sachs, Judyth. Learning to improve or improving learning: the dilemma of teacher continuing professional development. Retrieved from http://www.fm-kp.si/zalozba/ISBN/978-961-6573-65-8/009-020.pdf