Documenting Continuous Improvement in Teaching
Good teachers become great teachers by going beyond the call of duty and beyond the textbook. To do this, teachers must continue their education by attending teaching workshops and other professional development activities. The University of Texas at Arlington conducts ongoing seminars or speaker series for teacher professional development and information sharing about topics such as excellence in online instruction, how to engage in scholarship related to teaching, student assessment, and other evolving issues related to student learning and teaching effectiveness. These professional development activities are designed to give teachers that extra help they may need in order to improve their classroom performance. Attending activities like these take what little extra “free” time out of a professor’s schedule that is already overburdened. However, there are several compelling reasons why attending teaching workshops and/or other professional development activities related to teacher are important to you and your career as a teacher.
Teachers Learn Better Ways to Teach
When educators discover new teaching strategies through professional development and the workshops they attend, they are able to go back to their classroom and make changes to their lecture styles and curricula to better suit the needs of their students. However, these changes are hard to evaluate because they are typically implemented gradually. Workshops and professional development seminars are designed to make teachers more efficient in their presentation style and teaching evaluations because they have been exposed to new delivery methods, teaching styles and get ideas about new types of pedagogical activities.
Teachers Develop Better Organization and Planning Skills
In addition to the hours spent presenting in the classroom, much of teachers’ time is spent on student evaluations, curriculum development and other paperwork. 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.
Teachers Gain Knowledge and Industry Insight
Students expect teachers to be subject matter experts for the topics they teach. This means teachers should be able to answer any question a student throws their way, although this might not be the case. Teaching workshops and professional development programs can enable teachers to expand their knowledge base in different subject areas. The more professional development a teacher undergoes, the more knowledge and insight he or she gains.
Teachers Should Want to Continue Their Education
It’s easy for teachers to become burdened by the grind of teaching. Workshops and professional development activities give them an opportunity to step out of their routine — they get to be the student instead of the teacher. This keeps educators engaged because they feel like they are receiving the professional help they need to be better teachers. After all, professional development nurtures the talents of teachers who aspire to take on educational leadership positions, and teachers must learn from other experienced leaders to become effective future leaders themselves.
Implementing professional education development has benefits for both teachers and students, but most importantly, it helps teachers become better educators and develop into competent future school administrators.
Several units across the UT-Arlington campus sponsor teacher workshops, professional activities related to teaching and teaching seminars. Although we realize that attending these activities take time out of one’s already busy schedule. However, the rewards you reap as a teacher outweigh the time and effort spent attending the workshop.
More often than not, faculty members attend teaching workshops on campus but they do not get any credit for the time and effort they expended in participating and engaging in activities that will ultimately better their teaching style and benefit their students. The Teaching Effectiveness Task Force encourages faculty members to engage in these professional development activities related to teaching and believe that the time professors invest in improving their teaching performance should be taken into consideration when doing annual evaluations, third- and sixth year reviews and when coming up for tenure and/or promotion. If you are currently attending teaching workshops and are engaged in professional development activities, we encourage you to download this form to document your continuous and on-going efforts in improving your teaching performance at UT-Arlington. It is important that you document your teaching activities and this includes your participation in campus-wide teaching activities. To download a copy of the form, click here:
Documenting Improvement in Teaching (pdf)*
* For access to this document, please contact CRTLE at firstname.lastname@example.org