Education Corner 12 - Commitment to ongoing training
- Category: Education Corner
- Published: Monday, 07 March 2016 08:53
- Written by Richard Womack, Ed.D
- Hits: 3239
Commitment to ongoing training - FEB 2016
The matter of what to teach usually comes before aspiring teachers learn the how to teach. That is teachers learn most of their science and social studies standards content in before tackling the methods of teaching. The Data for Decision Making (DDP) project allows us to see where our teachers can benefit most from On Going Teacher Training in the content areas of science and social studies. When teachers are hired they are expected to teach five different sciences each year in our elementary schools. We know that some teachers have taken coursework in some of these sciences and not others. But recall that PDOE follows the FSM Science Standards which require each teacher to teach; Science as Inquiry; Earth AND Space Science; Life AND Environmental Science; Physical Science AND Technology; and Marine Science. The DDP asks teachers to self-identify their weak areas in the sciences (and social studies) and ask for On Going Teacher Training for improvement. We all see that only by improving teachers so we can we improve the students’ learning.
Last issue we went to great length on the importance of curriculum material,explaining the efforts to survey the curriculum available to students and teachers in the sciences (and social studies). To date have found very little and certainly less that is readable for a student. Remember when teaching sciences or social studies the teacher should have reading, writing, listening and speaking skills incorporated in every lesson taught. This will greatly improve our students reading scores on the FSM standardized exams to students. In the content standards teachers are asking for training in all sciences at every grade level. The DDP is quite revealing and it leads us to another purpose that being Professionalism. PDOE is calling for an attitude change and one that promotes one hallmark of the true professional teacher and school principal.
Commitment to Life-long learning: This is a simple phrase that means continuously updating of training. The necessary knowledge and skills of professionals needed in today’s ever-changing world is constantly changing. Readers need only read some current events in the world and one understands this fact. To meet these changes, formal and informal On Going education should be an important part of a professional teacher’s life. Why is this? It is simply because the answers to the basic daily questions of: What am I going to teach? And the ever changing question of how am I going to teach? ; change constantly. What do teachers teach? They teach the approved standards and benchmarks. For sure, the curriculum standards and benchmarks change as new content is added to the total body of world knowledge. Teachers must be current and aware of new content in their curriculum. How do teachers teach? For sure, teachers must be constantly updated to meet changes and new methods, strategies, and skills necessary to teach in today’s world. Presently what is known as “Best Practices” must be part of all On Going training. It’s all about “hands on: and active learning by students and teacher guidance rather than the old lecture- Teacher talks, students listen and take notes for the test. The use of technology for improvement is our most important example. How do teachers know students have learned what has been taught? New techniques for measuring learning are important for teachers to know but changes in what “the public” demands to be measured are equally important. Likewise, new ways to creating positive learning environments should always be sought out by professional teachers. With On Going education, teachers find ways to address gaps in weak areas of their day to day teaching lives.
Some continuing education is generally required for professionals to maintain professional licensing or certification. This usually means continuing education units or college credits recognized by the licensing agency. For teachers, this can often mean advancement on a professional pay-scale. This condition obviously serves as strong motivation when more paycheck money is tied to continuing education. However, sometimes this is not the case and teachers must take additional training just to maintain their certification. Naturally, it is always better when teachers develop the internal motivation and hunger for improvement and continue education because they want to improve and become better teachers for their students. The internal desire for improvement is certainly important. It is important when On Going education not is not paid for by the usual Pell Grant. When such is the case other national, state, or local tax money or outside funding sources will be needed. Is it worth it? Perhaps the following little story can illustrate.
The young man was attending a 25 year party for the worst professor he had experienced as a graduate student at the university. As he walked besides his wise old mentor he said “I did not know Professor X had taught for 25 years” to which the mentor quickly replied “He hasn’t taught 25 years. He has taught the same bad year 25 times”