It’s not recent news that great teachers help create great students. A well informed and inspired teacher is sure to influence a student’s achievement. Therefore, it is critical for school districts to pay close attention to how they train and support both new and seasoned teachers. In an ever changing world as we have today, staff development is the key.
Even those educators with years of experience tend to fall into a rut. It’s natural human instinct to stagnate. A refresher course or learning something new can benefit all teachers, whether their focus is the refinement of content area teaching skills or moving into a new area of study. Three of the most beneficial staff development offerings are Literacy Workshops, Six Traits of Writing and Special Education workshops.
Literacy workshops are an essential component of 21st century success. The future of a child depends highly on learning to read and write. Lacking these skills will put a burden on our future as a society when these individuals remain unemployed, homeless, and/or unable to contribute to society. Literacy is not just an issue in our country, it exists worldwide. Literacy workshops provide teachers with effective strategies to monitor children’s progress with information and tools for quick and meaningful assessment of a student’s knowledge and abilities. Additionally, literacy workshops increase teacher knowledge of balanced literacy activities as well as create techniques designed to accelerate student acquisition of reading and writing skills.
Another staff development “must” is The Six Trait Writing Workshop. Unlike any other model out there, the Six Traits are a wonderful way to objectively score student writing in any subject. The Six Traits provide a common language and greatly help with revisions and editing. Moreover, the rubrics are guidelines for quality writing and scoring. Because the descriptors for each of the traits are easy to understand, scoring a student’s writing is a much simpler task for the teacher. Best of all, the Six Trait’s can be used across the curriculum. The model works well in all subject areas and writing assignments. Students will find the Six Traits are not just something applied in English class, but in all areas. Finally, the Six Traits are a wonderful tool for ESL students. Teachers who have ESL students will find that their students writing will grow more rapidly when they apply the Six Traits, and teaching will become a lot less problematic.
Finally, Special Education staff development workshops are some of the best classes an educator can take, whether they have special education students in their classroom or not. As schools become more inclusive, it is crucial that both special education teachers and general education teachers work together to adapt curriculum materials and teaching techniques to meet the needs of students with disabilities. An inservice focusing on Special Education will train educators to work cooperatively and maintain joint responsibility for specified educational instruction. The general education teacher and the special education teacher will learn that they can collaboratively bring their skills, training, and perspectives together to strengthen teaching and learning opportunities. Collaboratively, their goal will be to provide appropriate classroom and homework assignments so that each student is learning, being challenged and participating. The ultimate goal of Special Education staff development is to achieve a balanced classroom. Additionally, general education teachers will learn more about specific learning and behavioral disabilities and will use this knowledge to perfect their current responses to intervention (RTI).
Professional staff development is a continual process. Teachers as well as principals need to be kept fresh and informed. For more information about one or more of the classes mentioned, please contact Educational Training Specialists at 1-800-279-7135 or www.training4teachers.com.