Perspectives of the Continued Importance of Professional Development for Educators in the Digital Era
The rapid changes in communication techniques, pedagogy, culture, and developments in knowledge have made it critical for educators to be familiar with educational changes. Studies have shown that several teachers are reluctant to change because they feel like immigrants in the digital world. As a result, professional development becomes an integral part of the 21st-century teacher.
Technological innovations have transformed how tutors operate by removing geographical barriers to teaching and learning. For instance, the emergence of teaching jobs online on platforms like Preply means that education is no longer restricted to the physical classroom. This new environment requires teachers to effectively update their skills to issue instructions from an online learning situation.
What Does Professional Development Entail?
Typically, the term professional development refers to a formal process that could be in the form of a conference, workshop, seminar, or collaborative learning. It could also be in the form of a course offered at a college or university.
On the other hand, professional development could be in the form of discussions among colleagues, research, or independent reading and learning from peers. Moreover, some people refer to it as staff development, professional learning, or continuing education. Regardless of the name used, the bottom line is to make the educator more efficient in their online and offline responsibilities.
Why Do Educators Need Professional Development?
First, the knowledge you obtained in college and university is not sufficient to provide the extensive range of learning experiences you would need to become effective as an educator. Therefore, once you graduate, you use your certification to get employed then after that, you continue learning through experience.
Just like any other profession, educators take years to gain skills that make them more effective in their roles. Studies have shown that the teaching profession is very complex, that many teachers quit the role within the first five years. On the other hand, experienced teachers encounter massive challenges each year.
According to research, the most common challenges educators face are:
- Changes in subject content – each year, the content in different subject areas changes, meaning educators have to update themselves to ensure their learners receive quality education.
- New instructional approaches – new teaching methodologies emerge each year. For instance, teachers integrate ICT into the teaching and learning process to make it more effective. In this regard, you need to update yourself with these technologies to make you effective in your work.
- Technological advances – one thing is for sure, technology changes almost every day! This means that if you are working on tutoring jobs online, you will need to update yourself with the latest technologies to be competitive in the online teaching jobs world.
- Changing laws and procedures – governments usually change their laws and procedures governing how education should be conducted. For example, some governments require that all educators have ICT literacy skills. This forces teachers employed by such governments to update their skills; otherwise, they could lose their jobs.
- Dynamic student needs – Students’ needs have become very dynamic in the current digital era. For example, teachers might be forced to issue homework online or offer additional support through online learning platforms. In this regard, you must be ready to learn how to use these technologies to be effective in your work.
As you can see, if you don’t experience effective professional development and fail to improve your skills, your students will suffer.
How Can You Make Your Professional Development Effective?
Effective professional development will enable you to develop the knowledge and skills you need to address your learners’ challenges. Therefore, you must plan thoughtfully and implement carefully as you monitor feedback from your students. This process is much more effortless for tutor online jobs as the online teaching platforms come with a built-in feedback mechanism.
In this regard, as you take part in professional development, ensure you put the newly acquired knowledge and skills to work. Moreover, your professional development will not be fruitful unless it enables you to enhance your instruction.
This means that the effectiveness of your professional development depends on how you conceive, plan and implement it. Please avoid professional development programs developed by educators with no formal education on creating such programs. Instead, look for a professional organization that offers resources and learning opportunities to develop the knowledge and skills you need.
Benefits of Professional Development
Excellent teaching does not happen by accident. Some teachers are indeed more talented than their colleagues. Nonetheless, effective teaching is a product of study, reflection, hard work, and practice. Professional development allows you to discern how your students learn, what hinders them from learning and how your instruction can improve their understanding.
The world we live in is increasingly becoming dynamic, especially in the education sector. Therefore, to be effective as an educator, you must keep updating your skills appropriately. This fact makes continued professional development a critical practice.