Continuing professional development (CPD) is an important part of teacher education. Invest in either finding the best teachers or providing exceptional professional development to help them become the best. I gave the principals a few minutes to chat and come up with a prioritized list and then we began discussing their conclusions. Others chose curriculum because, "If you have nothing to teach, students can't learn -- beat that!" A lot. "Exactly! It helps the teachers to keep their professional knowledge and skills updated. His solution was to provide students with an allowance. "If only affluent students learn, then there is no equity for poor students -- try that on for size!" The undeniable truth is that exceptional teaching inspires exceptional learning, and that can be helpful when it comes to addressing the cycle of poverty afflicting some of our students. Edutopia® and Lucas Education Research™ are trademarks or registered trademarks of the George Lucas Educational Foundation in the U.S. and other countries. Some thought it was an obvious trick question and chose student learning as the number one priority. It is completely out of the control of teachers to make students learn; the students have to do it by themselves. And we can earnestly strive to send them home more prepared each day than when they arrived. We cannot control student learning, only the student can. Both of these related issues should not be the focus of educators. and that convinced the rest that they were right. ", "Does that guarantee that the students will learn? So professional development is the overall most important thing we can do to help students learn." Teachers have to stay up to date on cutting edge technology, new methods, concepts, and advancements. The new generations have a different approach to learning than the previous generations. ", "Well, no, but it makes it more probable. "Please look at the labels on the walls and with your elbow partner; pick the top three priorities for educators and schools." How does a school system fix student poverty? As another example of how those in education sometimes put emphasis on the wrong things, I read an article lambasting Michelle Rhee, the former D.C. chancellor of public schools, after she stepped down from her last position at StudentsFirst. Still others countered, "But if you have the best curriculum but low quality instruction, students won't learn either -- so there!" Yet all of them were wrong. Which is why professional development and continued training for educators is so important. Professional development involves the various educational experiences that are available to working individuals. The cycle of poverty does not have a quick fix though we know one powerful element that can work against it: education. Please share in the comments section below. This lively discussion continued for each of the elements. Now let's rethink your priority list. Professional learning is more than just training, however, and it's important … Like student learning, isn't it completely out of our control? Then the light bulb went on for one principal, "If we want students to learn, the most critical element is the teacher. To get them on the right track I asked the principals, "What can any teacher do to assure that students are learning?" CPD helps the teachers to learn new techniques in teaching … Meanwhile the focus of educators should be, and for most educators is, "How do I prepare myself to be the best teacher possible?" So where should a school invest effort, time, and resources to help students? We can find creative ways to deal with whatever issues the students bring with them. I know this seems counterintuitive, especially since student learning is the standard for school success. Having a bit of money in their pockets doesn't address the conditions related to poverty that affect students' lives. Teachers are not the only ones required to undergo regular training; lawyers, doctors, accountants, engineers, scientists, and many other positions also require professional development … However, if you add on-going and embedded professional development, provide professional learning communities where teachers interact with their colleagues, and ensure on-going support from coaches and administrative staff, the chance of really affecting teaching … Having said that, what professional development has made a lasting impact on your teaching? The discussion began in earnest again. informative article on the effect of poverty on executive function. You know nothing is guaranteed. Student learning should be the eventual goal and outcome of all of our efforts, but it is not what we do to get there. ", "The teachers... or, hmm, the students themselves I suppose.". Being concerned about student learning and child poverty are laudable concerns, but true educators reject the premise that students struggling with poverty cannot learn as well as middle- and upper-income students. Posted around the walls were the words: Curriculum, Assessment, Instruction, Professional Development, Student Learning, Equity, Differentiation, and Classroom Management. Read on to discover a few more benefits of continued education for teachers and why … Also known as continuing education and professional learning, professional development is designed to teach workers the skills needed to succeed in their respective line of work. However, data also does point to the notion that good teachers can overcome societal problems interfering with an individual student's learning. That principal got a gold star that day because he understood why he was participating in a teacher quality professional development. Data does indicate that students who live in poverty are at risk of not being successful in school (here's an informative article on the effect of poverty on executive function). Eventually, the principals who chose student learning stated, "If students aren't learning, it doesn't matter what we do; we are just spinning our wheels!" Further, data also indicates that schools with high populations of economically disadvantaged students are more likely to be underperforming. So professional development is the overall most important thing we can do to help students learn." The author of the article had little good to say about her or other school reformers but what troubled me most was how he blamed her for not addressing student (child) poverty. Ever since educator Ruby Payne introduced her debatable assertions that economically disadvantaged students are different than other students, poverty has become a talking point for educational pundits. One principal said, "Well, we can make sure we have the best teachers and the best curriculum.