Ongoing Professional Development (PD) plays a vital role in improving the skills and expertise level of ESL teachers. Of course, experience also acts as a great teacher for the TEFL educators but there is always room for improvement. Which can be done via ongoing professional development.
Of course, your TEFL certificate provides you with all the practical knowledge and training needed to teach English in any type of setting. But as we know that learning is an endless process. More specifically, when it comes to applying your learned TEFL concepts in the class, you can always attempt to link it with the current situations and circumstances. This could only become possible when you continue your professional development even after the completion of your TEFL course. This will not only update your learned concepts but will also boost your confidence level over time.
What is Ongoing Professional Development for ESL Teachers?
Professional Development (PD) is any type of learning for ESL educators which are focused to provide the teacher with up-to-date skills and knowledge which may help them to excel as a professional. Under a TEFL course, teachers learn the skills and lessons which they should be using in their own TEFL classes. While during the ongoing PD sessions, they further study those concepts in detail and also how to apply them effectively into their own classrooms.
This type of training can occur both in formal and informal ways. The teachers can continue to take part in their professional development informally by doing research, in a discussion session with their colleagues and also in some initiatives taken by their peers. On the other hand, under formal settings, ESL educators can attend training sessions, conferences, formal meetings, and other similar courses.
Why It’s Important for The ESL Teachers to Take Part in Ongoing Professional Development?
We know that TEFL teachers work so hard to plan lessons and activities for their students. Under such a situation, attending a teacher professional development class after a long, tiring day might be the last thing over their mind. But it's also a fact that taking part in such learning opportunities make this career even more rewarding for them. Additionally, it also helps them to gain new skills and effective strategies necessary to engage their students in the class.
Ongoing professional development is actually synonymous with lifelong learning since the educators tend to keep their knowledge updated according to the latest demand of the industry. Also, TEFL is such a rich profession that provide learning and growth opportunities to the students as well as the teachers themselves. Here are some of the great reasons why ongoing professional development is important for ESL teachers.
Improved Confidence Level
I’ll try to explain this by referring my own experience that how continuing PD has helped me to progress and grow. It was the time when I just started to teach English is an ESL school as a fresher. The teacher assistant organized a formal presentation to help me gain some on-the-job training at the school. I prepared a lesson plan but on the day of the presentation, the lady luck played its role and I lost my lesson plan's softcopy. This is how sometimes technology deceives us. Since I had no hardcopy of the lesson plan, I had to go in front of the seniors without my lesson at hand and as expected, the presentation turned out to be a nightmare. Throughout the whole time, I kept on struggling with the topic of discussion. The seniors were also not impressed by the lecture. A few years later, I found myself in a similar situation but at that time, I successfully handled the situation and used some of the strategies which I learned in my PD courses. From these two similar experiences, I learned a great lesson that not only teaching experience plays a crucial role in gaining success but you keep yourself engaged in continuous professional development activities, you'll become better at handling uncertain situations successfully.
It is very clear that taking part in ongoing professional development as an ESL teacher is a definite way to get the maximum out of your students. Because you'll be taking part in such pieces of training that are destined to develop you into a highly effective ESL teacher. But there is another great advantage of PD for the teachers that is the development of empathic behavior towards the kids.
When the teachers start to learn in a PD course, they are actually putting themselves into the shoes of their students. Or we can say that the teachers and learners are on the same track. This way, they might be able to develop empathy for language learning students. Moreover, they also start to better understand the needs and goals of students and find ways to help them achieve those objectives.
Improved Student Outcomes
This world is a fast-changing place and so does the TEFL industry as well as its curriculum. There are continuous research and development taking place in the education sector where the practitioners and researchers are constantly trying to upgrade the curriculum as well as teaching methods and methodologies. The same goes for the field of TEFL where the language schools and academies are constantly changing their methods and course to match with the dynamic demand of English learning students. In the same way, at TEFL Madrid Academy, we also try to find improvised ways to capture the interest of students. So that they might be able to effectively develop language skills and later on, utilize them in a global environment.
Under such an environment, do you think only gaining a TEFL certificate would be more than enough to use throughout your career? The answer is definitely a big no! because TEFL is a profession that requires ongoing professional development more than other careers. Because only through PD, the teachers would be able to meet the changing demand of students. Such type of educator training programs also makes them able to teach English for specific purposes such as business English or commerce English.
In addition to changing curriculum and teaching methodologies, the assessment techniques in the TEFL classroom are also changing. And an ESL teacher who is truly passionate about his/her profession will definitely take part in continuing professional development to learn more effective ways to assess the progress of their children. It all boils down to the point that PD is an effective way to improve student performance in the long-run.
It Provides Motivation for New as Well as Experienced Teachers
A recent research has shown that about half of the teachers tend to leave this profession after spending just four years in the industry. While there can be many reasons contributing towards this cause but the major one is the increased amount of challenges and difficulties that might come into their way. This is where ongoing professional development can play a role. Because it not only provides the ESL teachers with all the necessary skills to meet the diversified challenges but also motivates them to keep on going and progressing on their career path.
After all, teachers spend lots of resources, efforts and most importantly precious time to get them placed into the industry. So, it is really important that their talent and skills should be utilized and retained in the long-run. This objective can be achieved if they enroll themselves in PD courses where they will not only get buckets of motivation but also up-to-date skillset needed to cope up with the emerging challenges within the industry.
Promotion of Growth Mindset Among the Teachers
The professional development activities have very specific goals i.e. to increase their motivation and help them to grow as professionals. There are times when teachers fail to feel the worth of their work. Such situations are perfectly handled in the class of Language Learning Educator (LLE) where they are not only provided with new and interesting methods to teach effectively but also their counseling is done in a friendly environment which further helps to promote a growth mindset among them. Additionally, when they start to take a PD course with like-minded people having similar ambitions, it gives them a sense of accomplishment as it is the best chance to learn from the driving inspirations of other teachers which reminds them that why they choose this profession in the first place.
The institutes which organize PD classes for their teachers tend to have more motivated teachers. Because they feel value about themselves since their school tries to make them grow and progress professionally. On the other hand, the schools which seldom arrange such types of classes tend to have less motivated teachers. Therefore, if a school really wants their ESL teachers to work at their maximum potential, arranging PD sessions is the key!