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An overview of professional development

A video clip of Lindsay and Marie Therese talking about ways an online teacher can continue their professional development.
In the last part of the course, really, we’re going to talk about professional development. And I think we need to begin, really, by talking about lessons themselves and about getting feedback from learners. Yeah, absolutely. I think it’s really key, isn’t it? Because it’s– when you’re teaching online, you’re often alone at home. You’re not in a staff room, so– Yeah. Professional development is very different. Yeah. And the first thing you can do is, obviously, get feedback from learners. Now if you are employed for a company, the learners will probably be required to kind of give feedback on lessons anyway. And sometimes parents do as well. Parents, yeah. So then that’s obviously a good source of feedback for you.
And if you work for yourself, I think you need to devise some kind of feedback form that you ask learners to fill in on a regular basis, so that you can really think about your lessons and about whether it’s giving them value. Absolutely. And you might find, if you’re advertising through a sort of a platform then, you might get feedback through that too. So it’s not just actually getting the feedback as it is acting on it. Absolutely. I think it’s oftentimes that we get feedback. And if somebody says something we don’t like, we kind of say, oh, phht. Phht. And we don’t bother so much about it.
Or we feel terrible about it, and then spend the time worrying about it. Worrying. Yeah. We need to do something about it. Absolutely. And so I think it’s a question of looking back at that lesson, or looking back at those lessons, and saying, OK, how can I change this to make them different? Because especially if you’re self-employed, that feedback is key, isn’t it? Because if you’re not consistently getting high ratings, that’s going to impact on the amount of customers that you’re going to get, or the learners that are going to want to have lessons with you. Yeah, yeah. So feedback was the first thing.
The second thing is really about reflection and changing your lessons, which I think we’ve talked about as well. And what’s the third thing? Observation. OK. So if you’re fortunate to work for a company who provides trainers or managers, perhaps who give do observations of your lessons and give you feedback. Because that’s not always the case. They might observe your lessons– And not give you feedback. For sort of quality control. But not necessarily developmental feedback, which obviously, we as teachers– we do need, don’t we? Ummm. We might reflect ourselves– Yeah. But we do sometimes need someone else to come in and tell us about something that we haven’t really noticed.
Yeah, but if it’s not possible, I think you can record your lesson and observe yourself. I agree. And do some reflection on that. Or ask a colleague. Ask if you go to a conference and you meet other online teachers, or if you meet them online, then you can also ask them to observe and give feedback and do peer feedback which is useful. And I think this online community thing is an important thing. Join an online community is another important thing. If you’re teaching online, you don’t have a staff room, unfortunately. And when you start teaching, the staff room is the best place to learn. So you really need to think about how you’re going to replace that.
If you’re working for an organisation, they might have a good mentoring system. But if you’re on your own, or you work for an organisation that maybe doesn’t have as much peer to peer professional development, there are other places you can go. So look on Twitter. Look for weekly chats about teaching. Look for courses, such as this one, on how to develop online teaching skills. Really connecting with another online teacher is probably the most useful thing to do.

We’re now going to turn our attention to professional development for online teachers. Online teachers tend to work alone, which means they don’t always benefit from the kinds of professional development that teachers in a physical school receive. An online teacher is likely to need to seek out professional development opportunities themselves.

Task 1

Watch Lindsay, Marie Therese and Mary talking about different ways that an online teacher can develop their teaching skills. What do they say about the development activities below? Take notes.

Activity Notes
Replacing the staff room  
Please note down your answers on a piece of paper

Check your answers.

Task 2

In what ways do you develop your teaching skills at the moment? Go to our poll to choose the best answer for you. Is it similar or different from other participants of this course? You can view the results of the poll here.

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