There are several different types of professional development for educators, using a variety of methodologies and tools. The term educator is used to describe anyone whose primary job function is to provide instruction to others. Teachers, lecturer, professors, and course instructors are all educators.
Professional development is an entire genre of courses, seminars, and workshops. These programs are designed for the trained professional, providing continuing education to keep skills current and provide training on new initiatives. A large number of professional careers have a continuing education requirement, with a specific number of courses or hours of instruction required per year to maintain a license or certification. The basic assumption is that all educators have completed post-secondary training in teaching or a related field.
One of the most popular options of professional development for educators is a one-day seminar. The topic can range from classroom management to technology, to the impact of socioeconomic policy on literacy. The sessions are typically hosted or moderated by a well-known subject matter expert. The format is typically a morning lecture, followed by an interactive discussion session in the afternoon. Educators have a chance to discuss their own experiences and debate the material presented in the morning.
Courses offered by the local university or teachers college are another type of professional development for those in education. These courses are available in the evenings and weekends to accommodate the working schedule of people in education. Some courses are purely lecture-based, while others provide a combination of lectures and student presentations.
Online training programs are an increasingly popular type of professional development for educators. These programs can be completed at the convenience of the educator, from the comfort of home. Using the computer and the Internet, he or she can access course materials, listen to recorded lecturer, and post assignments. Most programs include a moderated discussion board so students can talk with each other about the course work and related issues.
Almost all educational institutes have dedicated professional development days built into the school schedule. These days are used to provide updated instructions to all teachers, learn new course management software, discuss pressing issues, and share experiences. A significant amount of professional development involves the sharing of ideas, old and new, and discussing the ways to implement these ideas to benefit modern students. It is very important to maintain a regular schedule of professional development for educators, as this field is always changing to meet the needs of both students and employers.