Professional Development for Teachers
What is professional development?
Professional development refers to skills and knowledge attained for both personal development and career advancement.
It can include a huge variety of learning including non-accredited and accredited training courses or educational development in the form of conferences, online learning courses, industry certifications, practical learning and consultation, mentoring, and coaching.
Think of professional development as your key to maximise your potential and move up your career.
When do you need professional development?
While a vast majority of careers require continuous on-the-job improvement and training, only a minority have specific requirements for ongoing professional development (think law, medicine, nursing and training)!
If you are working within a field where development is NOT required, it’s always a good idea to set your own professional development goals to remain up current with industry standards of technology and techniques.
You might find a situation wherein a specific job description may not fit you even if you’re interested in a role, just because you haven’t remained up to speed with industry requirements.
But in the education and training space, development is highly encouraged and can absolutely help steer your career in the right direction. Great teachers understand what it takes to become an effective teacher, hence undergoing professional development.
Through career development, you will have the unique opportunity of honing valuable soft skills.
What is the benefit of professional development?
Apart from the personal gains of education and increased work performance, professional development will improve soft skills like teamwork and leadership, communication abilities, and time management – important to all job roles!
Professional Development Benefit 1: Gain Soft Skills
So what are soft skills? Soft skills are a group of personal qualities, attitudes and social graces that differentiate employees.
Research has shown that soft skills have just as much impact on job performance as hard skills, making them a huge priority on an employer’s list — which is why soft skills training and acquiring key soft skills in the process is such a good career move.
Below is a soft skill list for teachers:
- Time management (task prioritisation and ability to multi-task)
- Excellent communication skills (being both a good listener and speaker)
- Strong work ethic (including motivation and determination)
- Teamwork/a team player (ability to perform in groups through cooperation and leadership)
- Emotional intelligence (understanding and management of emotion)
- Leadership (self-confidence, ability to perform the task and inspire others)
- Graciousness (acceptance of constructive criticism and team support)
- Management style (flexibility and adaptability and ability to work under pressure)
- Positivity and enthusiasm (important for future success)
- Problem-solving skills (ability to handle difficult situations and make decisions on the fly)
- Critical thinking (the ability to think objectively and analyse a situation clearly)
So if you’re really keen to progress in your career, your top skills should at least be any of the soft skills mentioned above.
Professional Development Benefit 2: Gain Hard Skills
What are hard skills? Hard skills are defined as the most relevant skills required for a role that is not interpersonal. They are specific, teachable and quantifiable abilities. For a trainer or teacher, a list of hard skills might include:
- A certificate or qualification (perhaps a Bachelor of Education or a Certificate IV in Training and Assessment)
- Knowledge of the content taught (either through education or prior experience in the field)
- Sound language and literacy
- Essential hard skills employers look for are basic computer skills, administrative skills, management skills, technical knowledge, writing skills, word processing skills, etc.
- Skills acquired through professional development
Throughout a training/teaching career, the key to success is mastering and finding a balance between both soft skills and hard skills — and develop a deep understanding of what it takes to succeed in your career. That alone in itself is one of the essential and relevant skills you may want to have.
A teacher/trainer with sound hard and soft skills is a competent one and will be more likely to improve student outcomes and overall learning process and experience.
One of the keys to achieving both hard and soft skills as a trainer is through professional development! Are you looking to create your own professional development plan? STOP… Inspire has done the hard work for you!
For those interested in developing your own professional development plan DOWNLOAD: Inspire Education Professional Development Plan Template.
Soft Skills and Hard Skills for Teachers/Trainers
Both hard and soft skills are equally important in order to become an effective professional. A teacher who possesses only hard skills might be able to deliver quality education but would find it difficult to do the following: manage a class, delivering lessons, lesson planning and keep students engaged or collaborate with colleagues such as school administrators.
Similarly, a teacher who has strong soft skills but limited hard skills may not be as competent when it comes to teaching but will excel in aspects such as teamwork, problem-solving, communication etc. which are essential for the profession.
Therefore, professional development is important for teachers as it allows them to not only gain hard skills that are relevant to their career but also develop soft skills that can complement and improve their current skillset. This in turn will help them become better professionals and contribute positively to the field of education and training and will definitely translate to becoming effective teachers and enhance
In conclusion, professional development is important for all teachers as it allows them to build on their hard skills, learn new techniques and enhance important soft skills. Through professional development, teachers can maximise their potential and hone their best skills to move up in their careers.
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