The Challenge of Professional Development in the Field of Media Literacy
"Successful media education results not so much
from what is taught as how it is taught."
|— Chris Worsnop, Screening Images
Good teaching comes from good teachers. The best teachers seek out continuing opportunities to explore new methods and expand their repertoire of strategies to engage students in their own learning. Teaching also takes practice, and good teachers develop their skills by becoming lifelong learners themselves, and by reflecting regularly with their peers on the effectiveness of their classroom praxis.
On the individual teacher level, professional development generally happens in two ways:
- Pre-service: The undergraduate, graduate and certification programs available in colleges, universities and graduate schools of education — usually before a teacher begins to teach full-time.
- In-service: The formal and informal educational opportunities teachers participate in while also holding a teaching position — e.g. summer study programs, enrichment seminars, district or school-sponsored in-service days. These may be tied to accredited graduate degree programs or specialist certifications that a teacher may be working toward. They are also often tied to salary point schedules by which teachers increase their rank and compensation level within their school or district. Often teachers study together in teams in order to plan and organize how to best implement new ideas when they return to the classroom, or they take online courses and connect remotely.
At the institutional level, professional development is a major part of the administration and management of any educational agency — whether state, district or local. Any educational system wants the very best teachers doing the best job they can. It is the responsibility of educational agencies to provide ongoing training opportunities to help their teachers keep learning and growing.