Educational systems are always evolving and require educators to be aware of new teaching techniques and initiatives on a weekly basis.
This is why professional development, or PD, is essential for career advancement and enhancement of teaching skills. In the conventional approach, PD takes into account the curriculum currently in progress at the school or university, or the coursework that will be taught in the next semester, but what about online teachers?
Tips For Online Teachers
PD is a bit different in cases of online teaching, but that doesn’t mean you can’t develop robust skills for career advancement, both online and offline. Here are few ways to go about this…
1. Use Social Media
You may already be doing this to interact with students and other professional teachers in the virtual teaching community, so it won’t take you long to adapt to using social media platforms for developing professional skills. You can take advantage by connecting with educators in your field and learning how online education works in other countries, how students respond to online classes, and so on.
Eric Sheninger, coauthor of Communicating and Connecting with Social Media, says PLNs (personal learning networks) can cross global boundaries thanks to social media. He describes how at first he was hesitant to use social media but later joined Twitter, which helped him to connect with educators residing as far as Baltic States. He also believes that social media and PLNS assist professional development through online collaboration and discussion.
2. Opt For Additional Training
Remember that PD is not only about advancing in coursework that will be used in a particular class; it’s also about adapting the content from other courses to be incorporated into a degree or a certification. Training assists in PD and also brings pedagogical improvements in the style of teaching, student and coursework management. ACSD and Library of Congress are some examples of bodies/resources offering PD courses.
Moreover, new online graduate courses for teachers are making it possible to increase professional credentials without completely rearranging your life. The courses can be taken online and they have the potential to translate into pay increases over the long term. Some training programs even allow teachers dealing with K-12, high school and university classes to take advantage of license renewal through the attained credentials.
3. Go On A Trip
While you may think that going on trips is a waste of time and money, it is going to significantly boost your professional mindset as you learn different cultural and educational values in different parts of the world.
Furthermore, unless you’re freelancing as an online teacher, your institute may be able to reimburse the trip as it can be a part of the teacher training program (talk with them about this). Teacher tested travel grants are also available for instructors who bring back experience from the trip to the classroom.
You can either go alone or with some students who are ready to bear their own expenses in exchange for a new learning experience. Like teachers, students also learn from trips and the study carried out by the University of Arkansas makes it evident. Critical thinking skills improved after students went on cultural field trips.
How would you pursue professional development as an online educator? Feel free to leave comments.
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