Professional Development for Teachers | Future Educators (2023)

Professional development is a vital part of any educator’s career. As a teacher, professional development helps you reflect on your teaching practices, build new skills, come up with different classroom strategies, and generally stay ahead of the curve.

Teachers can actively work to expand their knowledge by seeking and doing professional development. Luckily, abundant training and learning options exist. Let’s explore the concept of professional development for teachers, why investing in yourself is so important, and key professional development opportunities.

What is Professional Development?

Professional Development for Teachers | Future Educators (1)

Professional development (PD) is a necessary practice in almost every career field. Education is no exception. For educators, learning doesn’t stop after you earn a teaching degree and start a career at a school. In K-12 education, teachers in most states are required to complete some amount of professional development in order to renew their teaching license.

Professional development helps teachers take innovative approaches to school improvement. PD is a broad term that covers topics that include formative assessment, data-driven decision making, policy implications, leadership, community, educational technology, and teaching methodology.

Why Professional Development is Important for Teachers

Professional Development for Teachers | Future Educators (2)

Professional development helps ensure the best learning outcomes for students, which has to be the number one priority for any good classroom teacher. Here are six reasons why educators need to invest in professional development.

Be a better teacher

Clearly, you should become a better teacher if your professional development efforts actually work. But there are good reasons why teachers see an improvement in performance after doing extra education and training.

(Video) No More Bad Coffee: Professional Development That Honors Teachers: Sheryl Chard at TEDxABQED

However good your original teaching degree was, it can’t prepare you for the challenges and complexities that you find on the job. A big advantage of professional development is that you can step aside from your role and reflect on how to tackle these real-life problems differently.

As well, you may be exposed to ideas and strategies that you would never have thought of if it weren’t for doing professional development.

Stay on top of education research

Academic researchers are constantly analyzing the current teaching methods and developing a better understanding of effective practices. Teachers have enough work on their plate already and understandably can’t be expected to read every newly published study. PD workshops are carefully designed by experts who have the time to review and study articles as they come out and share the important results.

Research in education has helped us better understand how students learn effectively. The shift from a traditional teacher-centered classroom to a student-centered classroom can be largely attributed to the work of educational theorist John Dewey who proposed children learn best in natural social settings.

Today’s educational research has sparked discussions on the importance of social-emotional learning and play-based learning in the 21st century.

Enjoy your teaching job more

Being a capable and confident teacher leads to higher job satisfaction (see, for example, Ortan et al). You approach the classroom with a positive mindset, manage students so as to create a harmonious classroom environment, and achieve more satisfying instruction outcomes.

(Video) Providing Effective Professional Development for Educators

Naturally, therefore, professional development improves job satisfaction. Teachers also report strong dissatisfaction when they feel they need professional development but lack opportunities to get it.

Adjust to changes in the education environment

Educators address a landscape of issues and unique needs when working with students. As our society continues to grow and change, so do the types of challenges educators face. For example, moving to a new district might mean an educator now has a number of English language learners to teach.

Teachers had to quickly adjust their instructional methods when the COVID-19 pandemic forced schools to close their doors, leaving many educators without proper resources for setting up an effective online classroom. Professional development has the power to address specific issues, collect information from experienced professionals, and offer solutions to teachers.

Adapt to policy changes in education

Educational policies make big impacts in schools. Regulations in school size, class size, school privatization, teacher qualifications, teacher salary, teaching methods, curricular content, school infrastructure, and graduation requirements are all influenced by educational policy.

This can be a lot to keep up with, especially for teachers who already have a tight schedule. PD workshops offer opportunities for educators to learn about the policies that are most influential in their classes. By learning about the educational policies that regulate their classes, teachers can make sure they are meeting the requirements of their state and school.

Connect with the teaching community

Professional development can be completed individually or as part of a group. Individual PD opportunities can be great for those with a busy schedule who want to complete training on their own time. But group PD opportunities offer a chance for educators to share their experiences and knowledge and connect with other professionals.

(Video) Professional development - nurturing the teacher as learner: Tai Basurto at TEDxWellsStreetED

PD opportunities can bring you closer to your coworkers or connect you with educators around the globe. This allows educators to come together to share their valuable insights and support each other.

Professional Development Opportunities for Teachers

Professional Development for Teachers | Future Educators (3)

Professional development gives teachers a chance to be students again. Not only does PD help educators become experts in their field, but it also fosters the talents of teachers who aspire to be educational leaders and make an impact on student outcomes.

Ready to sharpen your skills and learn about powerful insights in the world of education? The good news is that professional development opportunities are highly accessible online, so it’s easy for anyone to get started even if their school doesn’t provide PD resources.

Educators should talk to their administration about required and optional PD opportunities. Most schools have required PD workshops for teachers, but your professional development journey doesn’t have to end there. Here are some great professional development opportunities teachers can access online.

NEA micro-credentials

The National Education Association (NEA) offers micro-credential certifications to educators and aspiring educators who want to develop specific competencies. Micro-credentials are earned via the completion of courses in a variety of topics.

Some of the topics you can earn micro-credentials in include: bully-free schools, using your voice to advocate for students, building effective teams, arts integration, assessment literacy, and technology integration.

(Video) The 5 principles of highly effective teachers: Pierre Pirard at TEDxGhent

Postgraduate education courses

Graduate certificates are common amongst educators. Some teachers also decide to earn their master’s degree during their first few years of teaching and others wait a few years before re-enrolling in school.

After you’ve graduated and landed a job at a school, going back to college might sound like the last thing you want to do. Luckily, flexible graduate certificate online courses are available. Earning a postgraduate qualification helps you explore topics more deeply, gain new knowledge about teaching methodology, and grow professionally.

EdTech integration

The rise of technology being utilized in schools means that educators need to stay up to date on the latest in educational technology. Both Google and Microsoft offer software that can be highly beneficial to your classroom.

You can take classes and earn certificates from Google and Microsoft to demonstrate that you are technologically literate and understand how to use technology to your advantage in the classroom. You can even take your knowledge to the next level by becoming a Google Certified Trainer and working with other schools and educators to improve their EdTech utilization.

Online PD workshops

There are tons of free online professional development workshops available for teachers. PBS offers courses in planning and preparation, assessment and evaluation, effective instruction, learning environments, and disciplines.

Coursera is another site where you can get access to free training (most courses do charge a fee if you want to receive a certificate). Coursera partners with universities to make learning more accessible. With Coursera, you take courses like Supporting Children with Difficulties in Reading and Writing or Teaching Character and Creating Positive Classrooms, Basics of Inclusive Design for Online Learning, Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages, and more!

(Video) Teacher`s Professional Development Training Programme at Garden City University for teachers

Even exploring educational websites like Future Educators is a form of professional development! Every time you as an educator make a conscious effort to expand your knowledge about education, you are doing a huge service to your students.


What are the examples of professional development for teachers? ›

The top three types of teacher professional development are periodic workshops, in-class observation, and single-session seminars.

How do you fill out a professional growth plan for teachers? ›

Professional Growth Plan
  1. Align your goals to the Elements of Teaching.
  2. Determine specific and measurable goals.
  3. Plan strategies and activities to achieve your goals.
  4. Plan for the support and resources you will need to assist you.
  5. Determine the data that will measure your success.

What is the most effective professional development for teachers? ›

Effective Teacher Professional Development That Works
  1. Set goals. Much like planning a lesson, start with your target outcome. ...
  2. Narrow it down. ...
  3. Make it hands-on. ...
  4. Foster collaboration. ...
  5. Develop something usable. ...
  6. Provide coaching and mentoring. ...
  7. Revisit goals. ...
  8. Be realistic.
Apr 20, 2023

What are examples of professional goals for teachers? ›

10 Professional Development Goals for Teachers
  • Becoming a Better Teacher. ...
  • Advocating for Continuous Lifelong Learning. ...
  • Advocating for Continuous Lifelong Learning. ...
  • Earning National Board Certification. ...
  • Earning National Board Certification. ...
  • Sharpening Your Presentation Skills. ...
  • Sharpening Your Presentation Skills.

What is one example of professional development? ›

There are many ways that an employee can work on their professional development, such as taking classes, going to workshops or teaching themselves new skills. Professional development can also refer to staying up to date on new trends within your field and applying new practices to your current methods.

What is an example of professional development? ›

Learning new abilities, earning certifications, gaining more experience in a specific field, moving forward in your company, and pursuing any other career aspirations are all examples of professional development goals.

What are the five most significant needs of teachers during professional learning? ›

For professional learning to work, it must be relevant, timely, personalized, flexible, multimodal, and socially connected. Two years into a global pandemic, teachers are exhausted and continue to face significant challenges.

What are the key factors in teacher professional development? ›

Major distinct qualities of effective teachers are- using mnemonics in teaching; supervising colleagues; unconditional devotion to school; collaborative work skills; motivating teachers; Tram work and leadership; inspiring motivation; Curriculum analysis; tracked teaching; diagnostic teaching; friendly relationship ...

What are the 4 main goals of effective teachers? ›

Enhancing quality learning, working for the benefit of the whole community, learning on the go, improving and maintaining their well-being, are the main 4 goals of effective teachers.

What are 3 professional goals? ›

Top 15 examples of professional goals
  • Communicate with influence and impact. ...
  • Develop executive presence. ...
  • Effectively manage through conflict. ...
  • Provide effective feedback to others. ...
  • Effectively navigate uncertainty. ...
  • Adopt better time management skills. ...
  • Develop inclusive leadership and teams.

What is your professional development plan best answer? ›

Mention what you hope to do in the immediate future to grow professionally and advance your skill set, which can include working in the position for which you're interviewing. From here, detail your long-term aspirations and motivations for achieving such objectives.

How do I write a professional development plan for myself? ›

How to create a professional development plan in 6 steps
  1. Step 1: Assess yourself. ...
  2. Step 2: Set your goals. ...
  3. Step 3: Develop strategies. ...
  4. Step 4: Gather your resources. ...
  5. Step 5: Create a timeline. ...
  6. Step 6: Track your progress.
Dec 20, 2022

How do you write a professional development goal? ›

Use SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound) to write your goals. SMART goals set you up for success. Focus on goals that (1) expand your knowledge, (2) improve your communication, (3) develop your leadership skills, (4) and continually push yourself to grow.

What are at least 5 professional development activities? ›

Professional Development Examples
  • Continuing Education.
  • Participation in professional organizations.
  • Research.
  • Improve job performance.
  • Increased duties and responsibilities.
  • Approaches to professional development:
  • Skill Based Training.
  • Job Assignments.

What are five development examples? ›

There are 5 types of development: physical, intellectual/cognitive, social, emotional, and moral.

What is professional development answer? ›

A: Professional Development is the continuous process of acquiring new knowledge and skills that relate to one's profession, job responsibilities, or work environment, and plays a key role in maintaining trained, informed and motivated employees regardless of job classification.

What is professional development in simple words? ›

Professional development is the act of taking steps to get ahead in your career. This could be learning practical skills to help you perform better or becoming active in your industry through networking and attending events. Improving yourself professionally is a continual process.

What are the five components of professional development? ›

Regardless, there are always 5 elements that every professional development plan should include. They are assessment, goals, resources, strategy, and evaluation.

How can teachers improve their performance? ›

Arguably, the most practical way a teacher can improve their performance in the classroom is by collaborating with other teachers. Who better to learn from than a teacher colleague? The ultimate purpose of the collaboration is to work together to increase student learning and academic accomplishment.

What are the four crucial components of a professional development plan? ›

Professional Development Planning Steps
  • Step One: Request a self-assessment from the staff member.
  • Step Two: Develop your assessment of the individual's skill level.
  • Step Three: Assess the department and organization's needs.
  • Step Four: Explore development opportunities with the staff member.

What are the two main components of teacher's professional competence? ›

(2012) developed the model of teacher competence based on synthetic multi-elements of previous studies and emphasized two main factors: cognitive abilities and affective-motivational characteristics (Figure 4). Figure 4. Conceptual model of teachers' professional competencies.

What are the 4 C's teachers must possess? ›

The 4Cs: Creativity, Critical Thinking, Communication, and Collaboration in Schools.

What are the 4 C's of teachers? ›

Long heralded as key competencies for 21st-century learners, the ”Four Cs” (Creativity, Critical Thinking, Communication, and Collaboration) are often embraced in theory yet stump educators in practice.

What are the four C's a teacher can give to motivate students? ›

The 21st century learning skills are often called the 4 C's: critical thinking, creative thinking, communicating, and collaborating. These skills help students learn, and so they are vital to success in school and beyond.

What should I put for goals for evaluation? ›

45 work evaluation goals examples
  • Motivation. Motivation helps you maintain high productivity and performance levels. ...
  • Organization. ...
  • Productivity. ...
  • Efficiency. ...
  • Education. ...
  • Communication. ...
  • Problem-solving. ...
  • Documentation.
Mar 10, 2023

What is an example of a professional goal? ›

One of the most common examples of professional goals is obtaining higher credentials in your industry, which can create new employment and salary opportunities. For example, if you already have a bachelor's degree in civil engineering, you can pursue a master's degree to become a professor at the local university.

How do you write your goals examples? ›

10 examples of SMART goals
  • Specific: I'd like to start training every day to run a marathon.
  • Measurable: I will use my Apple Watch to track my training progress as my mileage increases.
  • Attainable: I've already run a half-marathon this year, so I have a solid base-fitness level.
Aug 5, 2022

Why is professional development important for teachers give an example? ›

Teachers Develop Better Organization and Planning Skills

Professional development training can help teachers to become better at planning their time and staying organized. This ultimately makes teachers more efficient and gives them extra time to focus on students rather than the paperwork.

What is personal growth and professional development for teachers? ›

The domain of Personal Growth and Professional Development emphasizes the ideal that teachers value having a high personal regard for the teaching profession, concern for professional development, and continuous improvement as teachers.

How teachers can improve their teaching? ›

In-Classroom Suggestions for Teacher Improvement
  • Start small, think big. ...
  • Utilize the latest technologies. ...
  • Prioritize student relationships. ...
  • Empower parents to be your ally. ...
  • Ensure your curriculum knowledge.

How can I improve myself as a teacher? ›

Tips to improve yourself as a teacher
  1. Improve your classroom management skills. ...
  2. Maintain a warm and professional association. ...
  3. Develop strong communication skills. ...
  4. Take a periodical break from work. ...
  5. Update your technical skills. ...
  6. Record your teaching session. ...
  7. Appropriate dress for the teachers. ...
  8. Network with other teachers.
Jun 28, 2022

What are the 5 qualities of a good teacher? ›

top 5 qualities and characteristics of a good teacher.
  • Patient and approachable. They say that 'patience is a virtue', and this couldn't be more true for teachers. ...
  • Enthusiastic. ...
  • Strong communication skills. ...
  • Strong knowledge and a solid education. ...
  • Disciplined and professional.
Mar 1, 2022

What are 5 skills that teachers should have? ›

Some qualities of a good teacher include skills in communication, listening, collaboration, adaptability, empathy and patience. Other characteristics of effective teaching include an engaging classroom presence, value in real-world learning, exchange of best practices and a lifelong love of learning.

What are 5 important skills for teachers? ›

These are the 10 most important skills you should develop for a successful career in teaching:
  • Critical thinking skills. ...
  • Patience. ...
  • Communication skills. ...
  • Organisational skills. ...
  • Creative thinking abilities. ...
  • Leadership skills. ...
  • Capacity for teamwork. ...
  • Time management skills.
Apr 22, 2023

What are professional development goals? ›

Professional development goals are objectives you can set for yourself to help further your career. These might include taking steps to learn relevant skills, expand your professional network, or find more satisfaction at work.

How do you pursue professional development? ›

5 steps to an effective professional development plan
  1. Assess where you stand. Your first step is to take stock of what your current job duties are and what skill sets you use to carry them out. ...
  2. Decide on your goals. ...
  3. Identify resources. ...
  4. Build a support system. ...
  5. Revise your plan regularly.
Jun 20, 2022

How do you write a personal development goal? ›

6 tips for setting personal development goals at work
  1. Begin by visualizing what you hope to achieve and how that makes you feel.
  2. Establish a clear plan of action.
  3. Set SMART goals that you know you can achieve.
  4. Take note of your progress and evaluate yourself as you work.
  5. Make sure your timeline for your goals is realistic.
Jun 28, 2022


1. What are the most effective professional development activities for teachers and school leaders?
(EduSkills OECD)
2. Professional Development for Teachers
(RachidS English Lessons)
3. Preparing to Teach Courses | Professional Development for Teachers
(Cambridge University Press Education)
4. Teacher Labs: Making Professional Development Collaborative
5. Future Makers: Teacher Professional Development
(Queensland Museum Network)
6. Upskilling and Reskilling the Education Workforce: Professional Development for Teachers
(Education Elements)


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