When determining which school to enrol your child in, one of the key factors I recommend taking into consideration is an institution’s policy towards professional development (PD). All educators, new and experienced, benefit from continual training throughout their careers, and these benefits are directly translated to student success in the classroom. Ongoing professional development keeps teachers up-to-date on new research on how children learn, emerging technology tools for the classroom, and new curriculum resources. Adapting and acquiring these skills is imperative for teacher and student success in the Digital Age. Professional development also allows educators to remain competitive in their industry and increase their confidence.
At St. Jude’s Academy, teachers are encouraged to undergo professional development, and they participate in weekly meetings with their associates. This cooperative effort facilitates classroom success and ensures that each department remains aligned to promote the school’s mission: to nurture well-rounded, confident world citizens in a secure and inspirational setting that supports students in their social, emotional, and academic growth. I cannot overemphasize how important these weekly meetings have been for our educators’ development. The odd “PD Day” does not provide enough substantial results or development.
Now of course the best professional development is effective professional development, which can be achieved by following these recommendations outlined by the Canadian Education Association and Simon Fraser University:
- Recognize that teachers are professionals who should be given an opportunity to select what they would like to learn from a variety of research-based ideas about improving students’ learning.
- Provide opportunities for teachers to study and gather data on the effects of changes in their teaching approach, particularly in response to new ideas or initiatives in education.
- Provide opportunities for teachers to coach one another and work together to analyze new teaching techniques, which often connects new teachers with experienced colleagues.