Professional development is the skill that an employee gains in order to improve his or her personal development and the growth of his or her job. In the education sector, professional development is best defined by Little who refers to it as “a focus on and responsibility for student learning and the formation of professional community inside and outside the school” (Little, 1996, p.1). It is the process through which teachers are able to better understand their students, as well as understand the process of learning and teaching (Darling-Hammond & McLaughlin, 1996).
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Generally, professional development allows an individual to attain his/ her highest potential, both personally and professionally and ensures professional growth, through which job performance is improved, and personal satisfaction raised (Rennekamp & Nall, 2006; Zepeda, 2012).
This paper gives a project that focuses on the professional development of teachers teaching ESL students. The paper focuses on the best way through which ESL teachers can best be able to ensure best results and performance among the students in terms of, class participation, enjoyment, comprehension, and memory of content taught multi diversity and effective communication among other important aspects of English as a second language learning.
Project Aims and Objectives
This project mainly aims to ensure professional growth among ESL teachers.
To improve English teaching skills among ESL teachers
Such skills will include; how to ensure that students get to enjoy the class, how to ensure that students, from different cultural backgrounds, are able to effectively relate with each other, how to adapt the learning materials to ensure that they help the ESL students understand what is being taught, how to best reach out the students and how to ensure effective communication among the students and between the teacher and the students.
To ensure the best performance for both the teacher and students in terms of English teaching and learning respectively
To attain these aims and objectives, the project will entail a well-organized training of the ESL teachers and will equip them with the required skills to ensure quality and successful teaching and learning.
This project has been written in accordance with the set standards for professional development. The project falls in line with the National Staff Development Council Staff Development Standards, as well as the Ohio State Board of Education Professional Development Standards. This has been done to ensure best practice and to ensure that planning and implementation will be done in accordance with the required guidelines or principles.
In this case, the project has been prepared in such a way that, it ensures the attainment of goals and continuous improvement of students, provision of all resources necessary for effective learning and collaboration and partaking of parents as well as members of the community. It incorporates two main approaches to effective professional development.
They include; the convectional face to face process of training and the use of learning communities both in schools and the districts (Route 21, 2007). Additionally, the project has been created in line with the context (learning communities, leadership, and resources), process (data-oriented, evaluation, research-based, learning, collaboration, and design) and content (quality teaching, data-driven, and family participation) standards of the National Staff Development Council Staff Development Standards (NSDC, 2012). Below is a brief account of the project in requisites of the essential standards for professional development.
With regard to content, the professional development project will:
- Focus on ensuring that teachers are able to ensure that the teacher can deal with the needs of every student.
- Ensure effective communication skills for students.
With regard to process, it will be:
- A multi-faceted program: this will entail a five-day session that will be done on Saturdays.
- Based on research
- Done to all ESL teachers at a go.
- Done using the lesson study model.
- Valuing every participant who voluntarily takes part in the project
With regard to context, the project will:
- Partner with various institutions or schools
The set objectives for the project have been guided by three main questions that include; what does the ESL teacher require to do and be acquainted with so as to enhance success among the students, what should the learners do and know, and what should be the focus of the staff development process to ensure success.
Model of Professional Development to use
The model to be used in carrying out the professional development project will be the lesson study model. This is a common professional development approach, and that has been used for many of the professional development sessions for teachers in various countries, and most especially Japan (Lewis, 2002). In this case, the teachers will collaboratively work together during the five-day workshop to solve their various issues and to improve their teaching skills.
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The teachers will be actively involved in planning, designing, implementing, assessing as well as refining ESL lessons. The teachers will be divided into groups of six. The training will include substitutes from district communities, and who will provide support all through the learning process in different ways. The substitute will, for example, be responsible for integrating the use of the various teaching techniques and aides into the already existing ESL teaching curriculum. This will be in the presence of teachers so as to ensure that the approach is a team teaching one.
Benefits of the model
The lesson study model is an effective way through which teachers are able to create quality lesson plans as well as better understand the learning of students (Zepeda, 2012). Additionally, the use of the lesson study model allows for extra information to be obtained both for experts and the less knowledgeable and experience, as well. This is made possible, as teachers get to interact with their group members, who are mainly peers. Additionally, the method allows for both the teachers and experts to interact though an active discussion, which may entail asking and answering of questions. In this case, the model ensures that sufficient information is gained. Basically, people prefer to communicate on a one on one basis, a factor that makes this model a better preference for many professionals.
As another benefit, the lesson study model of professional development will allow for the active participation of the teachers, as well as the active interaction between the experts and those with less knowledge or experience.
The use of the model will also beneficial in such a way that, the ESL teachers will be able to share their various experiences, ideas as well as challenges, with regard to teaching ESL students. This by itself will be a rich way of gaining skills and professional growth.
The Training Process
The training process will be guided by the set objectives of the project. The training will bring out the best practices for ESL teaching and ensure that the teachers gain sufficient skills in teaching ESL students. Such skills will entail those related to; how to best identify and meet the needs of students, how to ensure an easy students’ understanding of content the taught, how to promote equal learning for all, effective and best ESL resources to use as well as the best ESL teaching approaches.
One of the most significant concepts that will be looked into is the use of collaborative teaching. This can be defined as the teaching approach whereby, two or more teachers work together to ensure students’ success. The teacher’s plan, teach and monitor the progress of every student, and works towards meeting the specific needs of each of them (Bauwens &Hourcade, 1997).
Professional development has been regarded as an important aspect of ensuring personal and professional growth. In education, professional growth for teachers is important in ensuring students’ success. The above professional development project was for ESL teachers and aimed at improving their English teaching skills. The project sought to ensure that there is improved performance for both the teacher and students, with consideration of the teaching and learning of English as a second language. The created project was in line with the National Staff Development Council Staff Development Standards as well as the Ohio State Board of Education Professional Development Standards.
With the successful implementation of the project, which uses a lesson study model of professional development, then the set objectives will effectively be met.
Bauwens, J. & Hourcade, J. (1997). Cooperative Teaching: Pictures of Possibilities. Intervention in School and Clinic, 33: 81-89.
Darling-Hammond, L. & McLaughlin M. (1996). Policies That Support Professional Development in an Era of Reform. New York: Teachers College.
Lewis, C. (2002). Lesson Study: A Handbook of TeacherLed Instructional Change. Philadelphia: Research for Better Schools.
Little, J. (1996). Organizing Schools for Teacher Learning. Berkeley: University of California.
Rennekamp, A. & Nall, M. A Guide for Professional Development. Web.
Route 21. (2007). Ohio Professional Development. Web.
The National Staff Development Council (NSDC). (2012). The National Staff Development Council’s Standards for Staff Development. Web.
Zepeda, S. (2012). Professional development: What works? Larchmont, NY: Eye on Education.