While completing my bachelor of science degree at a local college, I was introduced to a completely different style of teaching by one of the science instructors. The class was in aquatics, but the subject was not nearly as inspiring as the instructor. After each test was graded, she would divide the class into groups so we could discuss and correct the errors on our papers. A portion of our grade was based on conferring with our peers and assisting each other’s understanding. Of all the courses I took, this was my favorite. I learned more about the science itself, as well as the importance of the teaching style, than in any other classroom. Along with the interesting grading ideas, we also had first-hand field experience on a pontoon boat to gather and analyze water samples.
Looking back, I realize my experience in this class was similar to the ultimate goal for the new Common Core Standards–to teach with less rote memorization and more critical thinking and hands-on learning with real-life potential. Unfortunately, teaching critical thinking skills is not typical in K-12 classrooms, for one important reason–instructors are not given the opportunity to learn how to teach critically through current professional development for teachers.
With 91.5% of traditional professional development programs providing new ideas in the form of workshops, conferences, or quick one-time courses, how can educators be expected to teach critical thinking and collaboration if their learning methodology does not offer these advantages? The answer lies not in learning, which happens with regularity, but with implementation. Professional development does not regularly provide direction in implementation, which occurs with peer review, co-teaching, collaboration, and mentoring. Another answer is ongoing access to professional development for teachers to ease them into new methods of teaching. Fortunately, eSchool Solutions’ Electronic Registrar Online (ERO) program is able to provide your staff one-of-a-kind professional development programs for ongoing training tailored to each teacher’s requirements. Contact us today to learn more about our innovative ERO program.