In the wake of recent government regulatory acts aimed at improving teaching standards, schools are focusing more and more on professional development for teachers. School districts are concerned with how teachers can most effectively help their students learn. In particular, teaching reading is one of the major priorities of schools – literacy is the basis of learning for a student for the rest of his or her time in school, and success cannot be had unless the student was able to develop sufficient reading skills. This is why teacher professional development for teaching reading is so important in our current education system.
Studies have shown that the best way for schools to improve student achievement (via some sort of monetary purchase) is by spending more money on getting the most qualified teachers. One of the best ways to improve the quality of educators is to offer them the resources they need to improve their own skills – specifically skills in teaching reading. Teacher professional development can improve teacher skills, which in turn improves the quality of lessons for students. Lesson quality is improved more from improved teaching than it is from other variables such as the materials used or the book /curriculum being followed. Therefore a valuable investment for any school is in teacher professional development.
Some methods and skills that teacher professional development should cover include: how to interact with students in a collaborative manner, how to bring outside experiences into the classroom to enhance learning, how to promote learning outside the classroom, how to motivate students towards educating themselves and exploring new things on their own, how to show that teachers care for their students and really do want to help them learn, how to recognize and develop a student’s strengths, and more.
In teaching reading especially, it is important for a teacher to be able to recognize what a student is struggling with and how to help the student improve. Because literacy is such a valuable skill in our society, teachers absolutely must develop skills to promote reading both in the classroom as well as in a student’s daily life outside of school. Learning to teach in a way that makes learning fun is crucial when it comes to teacher professional development. While being knowledgeable about a subject (chemistry for chemistry teachers, math for math teachers, etc…) is important, it is also important to take it to the next level and be able to understand different methodologies for teaching, to be aware of topics that often cause trouble for students, and then to have plans for how to deal with the problem areas and make sure that all students are learning to the best of their abilities.
In summary, teacher professional development is a valuable investment for school districts. Since the quality of teachers is the one things that has the most impact on a student’s success, helping teachers become the best that they can be is the most logical way for school districts to achieve high student accomplishment. For example, a teacher’s strategies for teaching reading can be improved via teacher professional development. By using these strategies in the classroom, a teacher can motivate his or her students towards success.