How educators learn: The background behind the best teaching practices for professional development

As educators, we know how to guide our students to knowledge. We know how to encourage them to expand their perspectives. We know what works best when it comes to fostering their love for learning. It is equally important to explore these same concepts when it comes to learning strategies for ourselves, as educators. 

1. Options are important.

Just as children like to be given choices when it comes to learning, so do adults. Having more than one choice empowers us to be fully invested in a topic that we truly find interesting. Interest will help us get the most out of our professional development experience. Choice will lead to a stronger motivation to partake in courses that help develop you as an educator. When we are given choice, we will more likely love the learning that is involved. For example,  HiMama Academy offers a wide variety of topics for ECE professional development so that the educator can pick for themselves what they would like to learn! 

2. Relevancy is essential.

We want to be sure that the courses we partake in are relevant to our needs as an educator. This means that courses written and taught by other educators are highly valued. No one wants to sit through the benefits of a theorized lesson that has never actually been executed in a classroom before. When we find courses that are associated with reputable sources, we know that we can trust the information and strategies we are learning. With HiMama Academy, courses are taught by Early Childhood Educators and are research-based so you can apply new skills in your classroom with confidence. 

3. Mission alignment is key.

Aligning your professional development with the goals of your center or classroom will create a cohesive experience as you engage with new material or ideas. Finding opportunities that reflect your own teaching goals or organization’s philosophies will help you in the long run. Professional development activities that fit in seamlessly with what you already believe will have a more positive impact on your teaching experience. We learn best when we believe what we are learning.

4. Active learning is crucial.

We need to be active participants in our own learning process. This means that we should be taking part in professional development that engages us in activities that we could later use in the classroom. This can be hard to make time for but is so important. We know, as educators, that a boring lesson can make a child lose interest even if the knowledge is important. The same applies to us. No one wants to simply take notes and sit during a professional development course. We should collaborate with others during or after the course, create useful resources, and have access to actual work and/or data. This can be achieved in person or through a thoughtful online experience as offered through HiMama Academy.

As an educator, you are a lifelong learner. The right professional development will help you get the most out of your efforts and will remind you of the joys of learning. To learn more about different early childhood education curricula and programming approaches available today, check out our post on the history of early childhood education

Linda Valloor

Linda spends her days teaching high schoolers the power of World Literature. She has been a high school teacher for 18 years and has her M.Ed. in Secondary English with a focus on urban and multicultural education. She moved from Illinois to Pennsylvania 15 years ago when she married her wonderful husband, John. She is a mama to 12-year-old twin girls and a younger daughter who is 8. In her spare time, Linda loves to write poetry, cook (and eat) international cuisine, play games too competitively with her family, and snuggle her dog, Rockwell.

One comment

  • Kim Brown says:

    My issue are the NYS certification exams. I have been working in the educational sector for over thirty years. A few years ago, I decided to become a head teacher. I need help with the written part of the exam (with the appropriate terminologies)