Teachers professional development and collaboration
Teachers professional development
Teaching is a life long profession that demands constant improvement of techniques and pedagogies. Professional development goes beyond the terms training and learning skills. It includes a definition covering formal and informal means of helping teachers not only to learn new skills, but also to develop new insight in the pedagogies and their own practices, and to explore a new or advanced understanding of contents and resources, and the use of technology to support inquiry-based learning.
One of the core elements of professional development is collaboration, where two equal partners exchange and share their expertise and experience. Collaboration is two or more co-equal individuals voluntarily bringing their knowledge and experience together by interacting towards a common goal in the best interest of students and for the betterment of their education success.
We, as teachers, have our own unique perspectives about the world, our own experiences, our teachings, our students and all of those things that have shaped us. So, in finding opportunities for professional development, we should share our expertise with colleagues.
Formal vs Informal collaboration
Professional development can be achieved formally, by enrolling in educational programmes; and informally, by sharing personal expertise with colleagues.This Collaboration can take different forms. At the local, district or state level, teachers may hold regular meeting to discuss problems, suggest solutions and evaluate outcomes. Teachers can also share knowledge and expertise by delivering speeches and presentations. Globalization has also offered us unprecedented tools of communication. With the Internet, it has become possible to collaborate at the global level through web.2.0 tools like, blogs, websites, social network services, chat rooms etc… Sharing ideas and expertise has become boundless. Only one’s imagination is the limit.
Web 2.0 tools
A very detailed list of web 2.0 tools is offered by Nik Peachey. Here I am going just to list some of them.
- Twitter: twitter is a free social networking and micro-blogging service that enables its users to send and read messages known as tweets. Tweets are text-based posts of up to 140 characters displayed on the author’s profile page and delivered to the author’s subscribers who are known as followers. It is a powerful tool in exchanging instant messages. Teachers can join groups of teachers using this tool to share information…
- Facebook: Facebook is also a global social networking website where users can add friends, send them messages, and update their personal profiles to notify friends about themselves. Additionally, users can join networks organized by city, workplace, school, and region.
- Blogging: free blogging platforms include wordpress, blogger. Teachers can create blogs where they can post about their teaching experience…
- Pnezu: a tool for creating on-line journals. It can be used to share materials on-line
- Tokbox: a free video communication platform
These are just few of what web 2.0 tools can offer to educators to boost collaboration…
How about you? Do you use any of these tools? Which one do you think is the most useful to teachers professional development?