As you seek out activities to support your professional development (PD), look for opportunities to gain skills and information that you can apply to your interactions with student and clients. The best kind of professional development course is one in which you can work actively with peers and apply concepts with students and clients in real time. Stewart (2014) described six principles for deriving as much useful information as possible from PD activities (p. 29):

  1. Equality: teachers, counselors, and staff who have the ability to choose their own activities get more out of learning.
  2. Choice: teachers, counselors, and staff should be actively involved in choosing what and how they learn.
  3. Voice: concepts taught in PD courses should be shared with peers and students.
  4. Reflection: taking time to talk through concepts in PD courses and think about what was learned will make it real in the classroom.
  5. Praxis: the concepts learned in PD courses should be directly applied in lesson plans and classes.
  6. Reciprocity: PD courses are only as good as the involvement of the participant, so get involved, share and receive feedback.

PD effectiveness improves with intentional practice and active sharing among peers. In addition, working with other professionals will help expand your knowledge and application potential. Stewart (2014) states that participating in multiple workshops and courses that facilitate active learning over a specific period of time has a greater chance of not only building new awareness about that subject, but in providing a content focus for professionals. Meaning, if professional development concepts are intentionally practiced throughout the duration of the course, teachers, counselors, and staff are more likely to apply those new ideas, methodologies, and experiences when working with students and clients.

When high-quality PD activities are actively applied during the PD course, the quality of teaching improves, as found by Stewart (2014). Career advisors who participate in a healthy learning community and motivating courses can also improve outcomes for students and clients in the workplace and in the classroom.

Do you want to be part of an active and collaborative professional development course? Reserve your spot for the next Kuder Career Advisor Training® course.

Source: Stewart, C. (2014). Transforming Professional Development to Professional Learning. MPAEA, Journal of Adult Education, 43(1), 28-33.