What is it?
In order for teachers to be effective instructors, they must have both a solid foundation in content knowledge and a thorough understanding of good pedagogy. They must be models of learning and continue to grow in their own professional skills, mathematical understanding, and teaching practice. Therefore, it is essential that educators experience ongoing, meaningful opportunities to grow and develop their skills, to reflect on their practice, and deepen their content knowledge.
The availability and quality of professional growth opportunities directly impact teachers' ability to meet the requirements of the Teaching Principle in Principles and Standards for School Mathematices (PSSM): "Effective mathematics teaching requires understanding what students know and need to learn and then challenging and supporting them to learn it well" (p.16).
The resources that ENC has identified for providing effective professional development opportunities support the following three ideas as stated in PSSM:
Questions to Think About:
Professional development opportunities are as varied as are districts and teachers. Financial constraints, time considerations, and other resource limitations influence the kinds of opportunities that are available.
Some questions to consider:
Professional development is most effective when it is ongoing, reflective, and integral to a teacher's professional experience. The opportunity to learn new ideas and skills must be matched by the opportunity to apply those ideas in the classroom, and that process can be difficult, time-consuming, and even threatening for both teachers and students who are confronting new ways of doing and thinking about mathematics.
Answer This Question: What role can and should teachers play in the design and implementation of their own professional development, especially when it could necessitate some drastic changes in their pedagogical practices?