"If improvement results from change, there must be something to initiate that change. And what's going to initiate it other than staff development?" - Guskey (quoted in Asayesh- p. 24, 1993).
Educational reform requires the teachers to not only update their skills and information but also to totally transform their role as a teacher. Professional development is a key tool that keeps teachers abreast of current issues in education, helps them implement innovations, and refines their practice.
As Atmiya Vidya Mandir is committed to bind excellence to all its students through a competent and proficient teaching staff, the school continues to move into different phases of educational reform but one factor that remains consistent in school plan is the need for professional development of all teachers. Catering to this need, in the beginning of the session 2011-12, teacher’s induction and training programme was organized. This programme focused on the smallest unit in education, which is the classroom full of all varieties of students. This programme helped teachers not only to update their skills and knowledge but also to totally transform their roles as educators.
During the one – week – long session, the school principal, Vijay Sir, explained the most effective format of Unit Plan and Daily Lesson Plan. He also presented the new home-work policies which are intended to make students self-dependent and responsible towards their studies. He also stressed upon evaluating students’ progress on daily basis and put that into grades. The corrective measures for poor grades will ensure teacher’s extended support to those learners.
A lot of brainstorming took place about the functioning of different committees of teachers for smooth running of co-curricular activities. Furthermore, an in-depth discussion was held about the revised CCE format and its role to check students’ multifaceted development.
To vastly varying degrees, all the sessions contained elements of faculty and facility introduction, classroom management, student discipline, professional conduct, and professional obligations. In subject meetings, teachers discussed about a variety of teaching techniques and evaluation processes.
Educators have access to an expanding body of knowledge in regard to their content area, teaching techniques and meaningful engaged learning for students. This increased flow of information – along with the current focus on educational standards that emphasize in-depth learning experiences and problem-solving abilities in mathematics, science, social studies, and other disciplines – has made it imperative that teachers are prepared to implement change in the classroom.
Thus, this training and induction programme aiming at professional development, helped the teachers as individuals and as educators but also enriched teaching and improved learning for all students. It is an essential link to higher student achievement.
One of the most exciting parts of this training and induction programme was the workshop on use of technology encouraging teachers to take on new and expanded roles, both inside and outside of the classroom. Within the classroom, technology supports student-centred instruction. Outside of the classroom, technology supports teacher collaboration. Instead of working in isolation, teachers can work together on school wide programs. Professional development is an integral part of the overall technology plan, which clearly identifies specific learning goals to achieve.
Thus, through such teachers’ induction and training programme, Atmiya Vidya Mandir holds a shared vision of what and how students should learn, and it acknowledges the importance of ongoing professional development in promoting student learning.