As mentioned in my earlier post, each generation learns and behaves differently from earlier generations due to their exposure to new technology. As educators we need to know how to support this change and evolve our teaching techniques to the evolving technology. To do so, we need to make the change from professional development to professional learning.
According to Concepts (2013), in education, the term professional development may be used in reference to a wide variety of specialized training, formal education, or advanced professional learning intended to help administrators, teachers, and other educators improve their professional knowledge, competence, skill, and effectiveness. Professional development is usually something done to educators It is mostly one day workshops that educators attend to get certified and possibly learn something new. Additionally, in professional development, teachers/educators are passive consumers. This means that they attend the workshop/class, listen to information presented, and let it wash over them because don’t reflect on it, there’s no discussion, and any thoughts that they may or may not have had are lost.
On the other hand, we have professional learning. It is defined as what teachers engage in to stimulate their thinking and professional knowledge and to ensure that their practice is critically informed and up-to-date. In professional learning, teachers themselves take responsibility for their own professional development, building their pedagogical expertise, engaging with the need for change, and are always evaluating impact in relation to improvement in the quality of children’s learning. Here, teachers/educators are active inquirers and the learning is self directed. The learning is also ongoing and social media and the internet are key tools used to keep the learning ongoing. Professional Learning is closely aligned to much of the ideas associated with reflective practice, action research, practitioner inquiry and teacher as researcher.
Professional learning takes a constructivist style as it allows for the building of your own professional expertise. It highlights the importance of teachers and teacher educators taking the lead in reframing and responding to their practice to foster genuine educational change. In order for educators to provide the best possible learning opportunities and environment, they have to think about how they will continue their learning in a way that is truly informative. because let’s face it, the frameworks for understanding teaching and learning in early childhood settings is experiencing fast change. (Word Count: 396).