Great teachers also tend to be avid lifelong learners who adopt a growth mindset toward professional development—there is always another way to expand knowledge, improve classroom practices, and adopt new technologies for teaching.
The theory of deliberate practice holds that learners can develop their expertise through a purposeful and systematic approach to learning where they evaluate their current level of understanding, identify gaps, and pursue activities that push them out of their comfort zone as they move toward specific goals, according to the HMH book Peak: Secrets from the New Science of Expertise. In accordance with this idea, 96 percent of teachers surveyed in the 4th Annual Educator Confidence Report (ECR)—conducted by HMH in collaboration with YouGov—indicated that they were always looking for ways to improve their teaching practice. Teachers have a range of resources at their disposal, but how do they choose to learn about interesting topics in education or begin to solve an emerging issue in their classroom?
Here are some common strategies surveyed teachers reported using along with ideas for implementing them.
1. Informal Discussions With Colleagues
It may seem like a simple concept, but learning new information by talking to other teachers was rated as the most commonly used teacher learning resource, according to the ECR. Teaching is a craft that takes years to learn and master. Lessons are tweaked based on teachers’ prior experiences and students’ interests and differing abilities and challenges. Teachers often share physical resources and lesson plans but may also discuss new methods of teaching certain topics, new educational technologies, or ways to handle classroom management.
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