In my “Teachers, Advocacy & Politics” blog (10.12.08) I mentioned that “as teachers, we need to be competent through a deep understanding and knowledge of our purposes, subject matter, and our students . . . .” A way to increase and maintain our competency is valuing the importance of ongoing professional development.
Professional development is an interest of mine. I have participated in a variety of activities to continually increase my knowledge and skills in effective learning designs for teachers. It is an area that has challenged my personal growth and assisted in my collaborative work with others. Several years ago I studied course work at the University of Minnesota to obtain a certification in professional development and joined the National Staff Development Council (NSDC) to maintain my knowledge and skills. The content in the area of professional development is essential to my participation in the myriad of educational contexts in which we work as collaborative special education teachers.
There are many learning designs other than workshops (“sit and get” style of learning) that yield greater results with our work with children. The emphasis in our professional development activities should focus on student results and a measure of the success of a workshop is not about how we “feel” about the workshop, but how we are able to show student improvement.
I encourage you to explore the multitude of ways to engage in dynamic and effective professional development through visiting the NSDC web site.
The “Staff Development Library” is rich in topics that will surely provide you with informative, motivating, and challenging information to assist you in your work with children with disabilities.