If you are currently a teacher, then you may be familiar with the various incarnations that professional development (PD) can take on. Some PD is highly effective, leaving teachers inspired and full of new ideas and tools for improving their teaching. Other forms of PD are less successful, according to an article published by the National Education Association. In that article, one Harvard University professor even went so far as to say the PD system for teachers is broken.
Problems with current programs, as explained in the article, include lack of specificity and lack of collaboration with colleagues. In other words, teachers benefit when they share because they learn best from each other. When teachers share, the impact is relevant, useful, specific, tailored, positive and highly effective, more often than not. This is why an integral part of any worthwhile master’s degree in education, including online programs, is based on collaborative efforts among teachers.
A conference where teachers learn from teachers
The annual Teacher Leading Teachers conference, which features 100 percent teacher presenters, is based on the same philosophy. Instead of enduring a generic presentation that fails to connect with anything practical about the teachers’ classrooms, teachers learn from each other. For example, strategies for English language learners (ELL strategies) can be shared. Often, ELL teachers work independently from other teachers in their schools because they are the sole teacher in the ESL department. Especially in smaller districts, ELL teachers have few opportunities for collaboration with others in the same field.
Online master’s degree in education programs offer a progressive learning environment, perfect for interacting with other teachers
Collaboration is important to teachers when they are pursuing an advanced degree. Just as they benefit from interacting with colleagues at professional development seminars or every day on the job, they learn from each other as students as well.
Collaboration is also critical when it comes to the success of a student earning an online master's degree in education. Due to technology, collaboration in online programs is easier than ever. Social media and specialized software bring teacher-students together for a variety of collaborative opportunities as well as social interaction.
Human interaction is crucial to the learning process. The chance to interact with fellow teachers while pursuing a master’s degree in education will not only expand horizons but will also serve to form a network of colleagues upon which teachers can rely for years to come.
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