Teachers today are faced with an ever-changing educational climate which is evolving at a pace never seen before. With digital technology revolutionizing the sector, education has become available to everyone online at the click of a button.
The current generation of students born in the digital age speak the digital language very well and are well-versed in the online world where knowledge of all kinds is on their fingers’ tips. However, the right interpretation of the available information is as imperative as getting the information itself.
Consequently, teachers are more important than ever to ensure that generations of the new millennium are well-groomed to be responsible global citizens of tomorrow. For that to happen, teachers have to be in step with the times and understand the students’ requirements to ensure their success.
Quality professional development of teachers provides a host of benefits to students and educators alike in many international schools in Abu Dhabi, such as keeping students up to date with the latest curriculum, managing administration tasks more effectively, and producing higher morale amongst teachers. Frequent opportunities to collaborate and participate in mentoring can be transformative.
Students also look to educators as experts on the subjects they teach. Professional development allows teachers to expand their knowledge base so that they can answer any questions that come their way, and ensure their children are always learning the most current and up to date information on their respective subjects.
And finally, ongoing training enables teachers to keep up with the latest developments in the field and empowers them to tailor the curriculum to meet the children’s needs. According to the US Department of Education's Institute of Education Sciences, having teachers participate in professional development can boost the students’ achievement by as much as 21%.
Teachers today are expected to be flexible and adaptable. They are relied upon to continue with the best possible educational experience for their students. This can be a challenging burden for teachers to bear, so international schools need to invest in their teachers and provide them with personality development training.
Personality development can help teachers hone their existing skills and continue to evolve with the ebbs and flows of the modern educational landscape.
● Training: With technology introducing newer methods and platforms each day, teachers need to be abreast of what is happening in the world around them to have complete control over classroom activities. The best way to do this is to engage in professional development activities themselves, with hands-on training and workshops. Besides the technical aspects of education, teachers should also provide more holistic education to their students. Following training modules that focus on social-emotional learning, communication training to form healthy and meaningful interpersonal relationships, and conflict resolution will help them be more empathetic and give attention to the extracurricular side of the teaching process.
● Collaboration: Teachers can be part of communities and groups in the education sector to stay in the loop for the latest developments in the field. Keeping in touch with peers will increase the teaching community’s knowledge across borders and allow experience and information to flow, giving them a better understanding and methodology to deal with situations commonly encountered by the cohort. It also gives them a safe place to discuss their current challenges and develop solutions to implement in the classroom. In countries like Abu Dhabi, they can even find conferences and other ways to connect with ex-pat communities, and learn from different cultures and bring that knowledge to their students.
● Extensive Reading: Following the news, the latest papers in education, books as well as teaching blogs is always a good idea for teachers. Spending time gathering more in-depth knowledge of related and generic topics helps teachers achieve self-growth and implement their knowledge in the workplace. Moreover, they should try expanding their horizons by engaging in some infotainment activities like watching documentaries, listening to podcasts or reading books other than textbooks.
● Third-party Seminars: Participation in educational leadership seminars and trends in the sector has a lot of material for teachers to learn and understand the direction the industry is taking. Listening to experts at these seminars would be a learning experience which can add to the teachers’ knowledge on new tools to impart education, new methodologies to engage with students and more recent processes and laws being put in place to deal with the parent and student community. This will help them upgrade their teaching skills and communication skills and keep them informed on the upcoming changes in the field, which can be beneficial in the long run.
● Body language skills: Educators have to be extremely aware of the power of body language and consistently work in polishing body language skills at all times. Projection plays a vital role in classroom authority. Teachers who master body language skills have a firm hand in the classroom and give the students confidence that they are approachable and aware of the solutions to many problems. This will include body posture, eye contact, facial expressions, and voice modulation. Constantly checking your body language will ensure that you create a positive force field for the children to grow and learn. Something as simple as smiling, leaning, nodding, and talking with your palms open will help you project an approachable aura.
Teachers of international schools in Abu Dhabi, who focus on personality development throughout their careers, will find that their teaching standards are enhanced, which in turn translates to student benefit. But the benefits go beyond personal as well.
● Better Organisation and Planning: In addition to the many hours they dedicate to instructing students, teachers must spend a considerable amount of time on curriculum development, lesson planning, and assessments. A thoughtfully implemented professional development programme helps teachers manage administrative tasks more efficiently, allowing them to devote more time and resources directly to their children.
● New Teaching Strategies: Professional development introduces educators to new strategies like using mnemonic devices to aid information retention. They can implement these techniques in the classroom to make instruction more effective. Because these changes are often incorporated gradually, teachers may have difficulty evaluating how they impact children. Professional development enables teachers to implement best practices in the classroom and closely assess their children and keep accurate records of their achievement. This makes it possible to determine better how well the new strategies are working.
● Higher Morale Among Teachers: Professional development allows educators to step back from the classrooms’ daily routine and assess what they do from differing perspectives. For a day or two, they take on the child’s role, gaining the valuable knowledge and insight they need to deliver the best instruction possible. They can exchange ideas and receive encouragement from fellow teachers and administrators. Ongoing mentoring nurtures teachers' talents and skills, allowing them to take on increasing leadership levels should they aspire to do so.