Professional Development for Teachers Promotes a Collaborative Classroom

According to Albert Einstein, it is the most important job of the teacher to inspire young minds and help them explore the inherent creativity and acquire knowledge. It requires great teachers to mold responsible, perfect students. In a rapidly changing world, with technological changes happening at the blink of an eye, and having a cascading effect on other aspects of our lives, it becomes inevitable for professional development programs -a constant and continuous learning exercise- for every professional, including teachers.

Now, the important question is how can teachers become more effective or help schools and students with a professional development program. As said, professional development helps teachers gain insights into the latest developments in the curriculum to technology and in psychology, child behavior, teaching and learning methods, etc. Professional development courses equip teachers with the latest training and teaching methodologies to effectively teach the students.

It helps them get acquainted with new methods of learning such as Collaborative learning. As participants of professional development programs, teachers themselves learn in a collaborative environment. Research has proved that human minds retain better the lessons learnt in a collaborative set-up. In collaborative learning, learners share their skills, knowledge, experiences, success, failures, etc., thus contributing their share to the group learning objectives. Such experiences will remain in the minds of the entire class, and so will the lessons from these experiences.

Professional development for teachers aim to achieve learning for all, and they adopt the collaborative model to achieve this goal. As a collaborative team, the learners systematically analyze and improve classroom practices. Working together as part of a team, they engage in an effective team learning exercise. They also encourage dialogue between the participating teachers, and this helps them improve the human resources of the school and expose them to collaborative learning principles.

Professional Development for Teachers Promotes a Collaborative ClassroomThus, professional development programs introduce teachers to collaborative learning which can be implemented in their classroom teaching as well. Collaborative classroom require developing peer support groups with the help of other learners, but not in isolation. One of the best methods to promote collaborative learning in classroom is to exchange ideas. Teachers of a particular class can collaborate among themselves and develop ideas to implement a collaborative learning model in the classroom. They can organize a group to develop ideas and conceptualize them, so these ideas are put to practice in the classroom. You can be very creative in developing ideas and even encouraging creativity.

In addition, you can create a timetable for teachers to meet up regularly at a fixed place for a fixed time and share ideas to create a collaborative environment in the classroom. Teachers create roles and assigns responsibilities for participants in the collaborative classrooms. They assign the role of mentor to a member of the class, who is expected to help the mentee in his studies and homework, identify weak areas, and work with the participant to overcome those weaknesses. Finally, play the role of a tutor and educate the participants of the collaborative class. Such a model can be implemented beyond the four walls of the classroom, at a local level or an international level and encourage collaborative learning among the participants.

Thus, professional development (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Professional_development) programs for teachers acquaint and equip teachers with all the modern techniques and management skills to help achieve the dream of learning for all. By introducing collaborative learning in classrooms, teachers also foster team work among the members of the class.