Teacher Learning: What Teachers Need to Know

Showing Students the Power of Words
boy, book, reading @ Pixabay

Preparing teachers to become more effective educators is our goal.

Schools today are faced with a slew of difficulties. Schools are being called upon to tackle the difficulties of a complex society and a rapidly changing technology-based economy, among other things. This is a challenging undertaking that cannot be “teacher-proofed,” regardless of whether curriculum packages, testing standards, management systems, or curriculum packages are implemented.

What knowledge and skills should teachers have to prepare students to meet today’s educational standards?

What teachers should be aware of

Teachers must first have a thorough understanding of the subject matter and be able to communicate effectively with students to assist them in creating cognitive maps and connecting ideas. Teachers must be able to see the connections between ideas and their students’ everyday lives. Shulman (1987) defined formalized adverbial adverbial adverbial adverbial adverbial adverbial adverbial adverbial adverbial adverbial adverbial adverbial adverbial adverbial adverbial adverbial adverbial a

Learning about the cognitive, social, emotional, and physical development of children and adolescents is vital for understanding how to best support their progress. When it comes to connecting with pupils, teachers must also be able to recognize and accommodate variances in culture, family experience, intelligence, and learning styles. A compassionate approach to listening and inquiring must be demonstrated by teachers.

Teachers should be conversant with curriculum materials and technological tools that can assist students in connecting to information and knowledge sources on the internet. This will enable students to engage with ideas, synthesize and analyze information, as well as frame and solve problems, as they progress through their education. Teacher communication with students and collaboration with other teachers are essential skills for each educator.

Teacher Education: New Approaches to the Profession

To be effective teachers, they must be able to acquire advanced knowledge while also developing a practice that is distinct from the one that they had as students themselves. This necessitates the provision of learning opportunities for instructors that go beyond simply reading about new pedagogical concepts. (Ball and Cohen are currently working on a manuscript.) Teachers learn the most when they are open to learning through doing, reflecting, and studying; when they collaborate with others; when they carefully examine student work; and when they share their views. It is impossible to achieve this level of learning in schools that are disconnected from practice or in school classrooms that lack the necessary knowledge about how to interpret the data.

Increasingly, these learning environments are becoming more widely available. In the United States, there are more than 300 institutions of higher learning that offer programs that go beyond the four-year bachelor’s degree. Some programs are designed for professionals in their mid-career or recent graduates. Some programs are five-year programs for potential teachers who begin their teacher education while still in their undergraduate studies. Student teachers have the freedom to concentrate on teaching during the fifth year, which also includes a yearlong school-based internship that is linked to both learning and teaching.

According to research, graduates of the extended program are more satisfied with their education, and their teachers, principals, and co-teaching colleagues believe they are better prepared for their careers. Graduates of extended programs are just as effective with students as teachers with more experience, and they are more likely to remain in teaching than graduates of regular four-year programs (Andrew & Schwab, 1995; Denton & Peters, 1988; Shin 1994; Andrew & Schwab, 1995).

To establish Professional Development Schools, many of these programs have partnered with local school districts to accomplish this goal. These schools, which are analogous to teaching hospitals, are intended to provide a setting for cutting-edge clinical practice as well as teacher education opportunities. Faculty from both the school and the university instruct students in these programs. When beginning instructors collaborate with seasoned faculty members and with one another, they enjoy a more positive learning experience. Senior instructors can expand their expertise through their roles as mentors, adjunct faculty, and co-researchers. Darling-Hammond (Darling-Hammond, 1994).

A professional teacher is not someone who has learned how to teach, but rather someone who learns by doing. This is demonstrated by these programs.

Professional Development in the Real World

In nations such as Germany, France, and Luxembourg, aspiring teachers must complete two to three years of graduate-level study before entering the profession. In addition to a bachelor’s degree, this is an additional qualification. Aspects of education courses include the study of child development and learning, as well as pedagogy and instructional approaches. A carefully supervised internship is also available through the university at a school that is linked with the university.

The newly founded University Institutes for the Preparation of Teachers, which are linked to local schools, now requires all candidates to complete a graduate program to become teachers in France. Japanese and Taiwanese new teachers complete a year-long, closely supervised internship that includes a reduced teaching load and provides opportunities for mentoring and additional study. Japanese legislation stipulates that first-year teachers must have at least twenty days of in-service training and 60 days of professional development before they can begin teaching. Master teachers are permitted to leave their classrooms and provide advice to their students. The National Commission on Teaching and the Future of America were established in 1996.

Stigler and Stevenson traveled to Japan, Taiwan, and the United States to study mathematics education. They observed that “Asian class lessons are so well-crafted because there is a very systematic effort for each generation of teachers to pass on the accumulated wisdom and practice of teaching to each other and to continue perfecting that practice by providing teachers with the opportunity to continuously learn from one another.” They concluded that (1991)

It is quite difficult to learn how to teach successfully in the absence of such assistance. When teachers begin their teaching careers in the United States, they are placed in schools with a low turnover rate. Often, they are allocated kids who are the most academically challenged, and they are also supposed to be the most challenging teachers to work with. They also receive nothing in the way of mentoring and assistance.

When new teachers enter the classroom, they are expected to have a strong foundation in the subject matter. It may also be necessary for them to participate in workshops or to learn from others. When I asked a high school teacher how many classes she had taught throughout her 25-year career, she replied that she had taught 20,000 and had been “assessed 30 times.” She, on the other hand, has never observed another teacher in action.

Some school districts are now developing innovative strategies for their employees to further their professional development. These include peer observation and coaching, mentoring for veterans and beginners, peer observation and coaching, local study groups and networks in specific subject areas, teacher academies that offer ongoing seminars and courses of study that are tied to practice, school-university partnerships that sponsor collaborative research and interschool visits, and school-university partnerships that sponsor collaborative research and interschool visits.

Throughout Wells Junior High, which is a Professional Development School that collaborates with the University of Southern Maine (UME), staff development has been completely redesigned from the ground up. The opinions of in-house experts were accorded greater weight than those of outside consultants. Collaborative learning groups have taken the role of the traditional lecture/demonstration approach in higher education. The old lecture/demonstration structure was replaced by a problem-posing and problem-solving format. Miller and Silvernail (1994, p. 30 and 31) describe a

Changes of a similar nature were implemented at Fairdale High School in Louisville, Kentucky. Teachers used collaborative decision-making and research to create significant improvements in their classrooms.

As part of self-study, ten teachers tracked the progress of ten students during the school year. Teacher comments included “It was boring” and “You know, it’s not a particularly humane situation to be in.” Teachers began reading articles from publications such as the Kappan, Educational Leadership, and Education Week. The Fairdale teachers were the first to make a difference even before participative management was implemented. “Make no mistake about it,” the principal stated emphatically. “We’re putting together a professional culture.” Kerchner (1993, p. 9) defines formalized adverbial adverbial adverbial adverbial adverbial adverbial adverbial adverbial adverbial adverbial adverbial adverbial adverbial adverbial adverbial adverbial adverb

Several characteristics are shared by professional development strategies that are designed to improve teaching. Darling Hammond and McLaughlin (Darling Hammond and McLaughlin, 1995). They are as follows:

  • Instructors who are engaged and experiential, who participate in practical activities of evaluation, teaching, and observation to reveal the learning and development processes;
  • All of the questions, inquiries, experiments, and research conducted by participants, as well as research conducted by the entire profession, are securely established.
  • Collaboration, which entails the exchange of information amongst educators, is a good thing.
  • Teachers’ interactions with students, as well as examinations of teaching methods and subject content, are all tied to, and generated from, these assessments.
  • With coaching, modeling, and problem-solving centered on specific issues in the practice setting, this program is intensive, long-term, and rigorous.
  • It has a connection to other aspects of school transformation.
  • Students gain from this opportunity.

A growing body of data suggests that professional development can help instructors feel more confident about their work and that it can also help students learn more effectively, particularly when pupils are ready for the more difficult learning required by new standards. Darling-Hammond (1997) and the National Federation of Independent Enterprises (NFIE) (1996) Creating a teaching profession that encourages teachers to learn on the job is one way to help children achieve higher levels of success in their education. Those who rely on education for their survival and success are particularly vulnerable to this phenomenon.