He who would learn to fly one day must first learn to stand and walk and run and climb and dance; one cannot fly into flying. ~ Friedrich Nietzsche
Professional development for teachers has an impact in and out of the classroom. Not only does it keep teachers motivated and engaged professionally, but it also improves student outcomes. In turn, it boosts school district performance and ratings, allowing school districts to track teachers’ progress throughout the school year and work toward district-wide goals.
At Alludo, we work closely with our clients to customize a professional learning experience to align with school and district goals, as well as to meet the professional development needs of individual educators. One of the questions we get asked most frequently is this:
“What are some good professional development goals?”
Setting an achievable, strategic goal is an essential part of any professional learning program. Strategic goals help educators at every level improve and do their jobs as effectively as possible. They also help students directly and indirectly by giving teachers the tools they need to engage their students. With that in mind, here are six professional development goal examples to inspire you.
Table of Contents
- #1 Learn Classroom Management Techniques
- #2: Learn New Teaching Techniques and Theories
- #3: Master New Technologies
- #4: Improve Your Classroom Presentations
- #5: Increase Student Engagement
- #6: Meet State Licensure Requirements
- Alludo’s Take
#1: Learn Classroom Management Techniques
Teachers work hard to manage an array of tasks and responsibilities, including everything from lesson planning to grading student work to personal development. In the classroom they are responsible for keeping students engaged and focused and learning proper classroom management techniques and communication skills can help.
A 2016 meta-analysis of studies found that using classroom management techniques to handle teacher performance, student behavior, student social-emotional development, and teacher-student relationships all improved student outcomes, with the biggest improvement seen with students’ social-emotional development. On a related note, a 2019 report in the Journal of Economic Development found that only a small percentage of teachers received the assistance they needed to improve classroom management in the form of teacher’s aides or a reduced teaching schedule. School districts must provide teachers with both the professional development they need to manage the classroom properly as well as the assistance they need to put what they learn to work.
School districts can incorporate classroom management tools and techniques into their professional goals to give teachers the strategies they need to keep students engaged and give them the best possible learning environment.
#2: Learn New Teaching Techniques and Theories
New teaching techniques and learning theories are developing all the time. Some school districts mandate which techniques teachers should use while others give teachers the option of adapting their techniques to different classes and students.
There are five theories of modern learning, including the following:
A 2020 review in Heliyon explored the theory of connectivism and how it might relate to incorporating technology into the classroom. The review concluded that more study was needed, but noted promising observations in terms of how connectivism might explain how technology reshapes the brains of students and teachers.
Likewise, a 2019 review of student and teacher roles in the classroom found that an approach where both students and teachers feel that they are contributing to the learning environment in terms of structure, behavior, and social activity is more effective than an environment where the roles are more limited.
Learning new theories of teaching and learning can help students do a better job of connecting with students and helping them learn in a way that feels accessible and natural to them. The net result is an improvement in student outcomes and in teacher engagement.
#3: Master New Technologies
Our first professional development goal example is about learning and mastering new technologies. The COVID-19 pandemic forced an educational system that had put little emphasis on online learning to adapt quickly to ensure that students could still learn while at home. It’s worth noting that as of 2016, only 5% of teacher training programs included any instruction on how to work in online learning environments.
Zoom is the obvious example here as it is the platform that many schools and teachers used to stay connected with their students during school shutdowns. However, there are many other examples. Technology can and should enhance teaching and learning. Considering that today’s students are all digital natives, it makes sense to incorporate technology into both classroom and remote learning. We believe that school districts should require technology training and allow teachers to pursue individual, self-selected goals in technology.
To be a SMART goal, broad technology goals should be broken down into short and achievable steps. For example, many teachers who were unfamiliar with Zoom started by learning how to schedule a Zoom meeting. From there they learned how to use Zoom’s features and how to adapt their teaching style to work on Zoom.
With help from Alludo, the Hueneme Elementary School District created COAST to help teachers adapt to their technology-first mission. One hundred thirty teachers and administrators participated in the initial launch and many more have joined the program since. We anticipate that more school districts will be incorporating technology into their professional development requirements.
#4: Improve Your Classroom Presentations
A big part of engaging with students is making classroom presentations interesting, informative, and captivating. For that reason, professional growth goals related to improving classroom presentations can do a lot to improve teacher and student performance in the classroom.
A 2018 study in the journal Computers & Education concluded that adding gamification to learning could enhance student learning. That’s something we do at Alludo Learning. In the study, student learning was significantly enhanced among those who participated in online learning with gamification. The study also found that gamification did a good job of engaging students with jobs, which is one reason that we believe it works so well for professional learning.
Of course, gamification is only one way to enhance classroom presentations. Many of the districts we work with at Alludo incorporate other technology into their presentations, including Google tools, Nearpod, and Flipgrid.
#5: Increase Student Engagement
Student engagement is essential for learning. If students are disengaged or disinterested in the classroom, it is impossible for teachers and school districts to get to positive student outcomes and meet their performance goals.
In a well-designed professional learning environment, teachers have the opportunity to learn new skills and techniques to increase student engagement. While student engagement has always been a priority, it has become even more important in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. A 2021 survey of students and teachers found that 50% of students reported feeling less engaged than they were before the pandemic and 87% of teachers said that students seemed less engaged in class.
The good news is that focusing professional development on student engagement is likely to have a positive impact on student outcomes. A 2019 Gallup survey found that:
Improving student engagement has been linked to improvements in student performance. According to Dr. David Sousa, students who are engaged are more likely to be motivated in class, enjoy the process of learning and reaching their learning goals, and perhaps most importantly, to persist through learning difficulties. The last point is one that has been hugely important throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, when many students have struggled with morale and motivation.
#6: Meet State Licensure Requirements
Every state has professional development requirements for teachers and they are tied to licensure and teaching credentials. Teachers must meet the requirements each year in order to retain their licenses and continue to work in the classroom. It’s for this reason that almost every professional learning environment includes meeting state requirements as a career goal.
For example, in Illinois, the state requires teachers to log 120 hours of documented professional development to renew their licenses, and administrators must log 100 hours. That means Illinois school districts must find ways to make it easy and convenient for teachers to meet the requirement.
Alludo worked with the Springfield Public Schools to create an online personal development plan for teachers and administrators.The result was a system that awarded teachers Illinois Continuing Professional Development Units for completing coursework and included a New Teacher Toolbox to help new hires get up to speed with professional development.
At Alludo, we are dedicated to helping school districts create engaging and exciting professional learning environments for teachers, paraeducators, and administrators at every level. We recognize that setting goals for career development is essential. Realistic goal setting helps with the all of the following:
- Ensure teacher compliance with state-mandated professional development requirements for license renewal.
- Keep teachers excited about their jobs by fostering an environment of constant improvement and learning.
- Minimize teacher turnover and help school districts save money on teacher recruitment and training.
- Increase student engagement by giving teachers the tools they need to keep students interested in what they’re learning and by using the right strategies and presentation skills to communicate concepts and ideas to students.
- Help schools and school districts meet their annual and long-term goals in terms of student performance and outcomes.
- Improve student learning and outcomes. Research shows that the right kind of professional development leads to more engaged students, better grades, lower dropout rates, better scores on standardized tests, and overall improvement in school performance and ratings.
We work closely with district and school leaders to create curricula and learning modules that encourage teachers to set personal development goals and pursue both learning that is required and learning they are passionate about. By gamifying the process, we offer teachers the opportunity to measure their results and get rewards for their progress. We also make it easy for school districts to measure teachers’ progress and track their professional development on an ongoing basis.
Setting Professional Development Goals Leads to Better Teaching and Learning
How do you make a professional development plan that’s effective and has proven results? It all starts with specific goal setting in a professional development system that’s learner centered. The Alludo method and platform allows school districts to create and make accessible learning modules that help teachers grow professionally while connecting with and engaging their students.
Are you ready to transform your district’s professional learning environment? Alludo can help! Click here to schedule a demo of our PD platform today!
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