Learning is never finished. One part of a teacher’s job is to continue learning. This enables a teacher to keep up with the current best practices. Here are two strategies we can use to continue growing as an educator.
Learn from Others
Learning from others takes advantage of the expertise others have developed. While I am learning from resources, peers, and instructors, we can meet other people who are pursuing similar paths. These people all have ideas that might help us directly or inspire us to come up with an idea of our own. The exchange of information benefits everyone.
Formal education is only one avenue. We can continue to learn from others by talking to our peers in whatever environment we work in. There are also professional development opportunities online and in person. A literature search as described by Fink (2013) would also be a good way to continue my own education if I am faced with a specific problem.
Keep a Log
Something we can do immediately is to keep a journal of good ideas. I kept a similar journal while I was going through pre-service training 17 years ago. By the time that training ended, I had a spiral notebook full of bits of wisdom and descriptions of activities. Those notes became invaluable as I left training and went into my first two assignments as a teacher.
In my master’s courses, I took detailed notes of the readings in a file that I can search by keyword, but sometimes there are an excessive number of hits when I want to find something. Breaking those files up by general topic might be the way to go.
References for the Toolkit articles
Barkley, E. F. (2010). Student engagement techniques: A handbook for college faculty. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
Brookfield, S. D. (2006). The skillful teacher: On technique, trust, and responsiveness in the classroom (2nd ed.). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass
Davis, B. G. (2009). Tools for teaching (2nd ed.). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
Fink, A. (2013). Conducting research literature reviews: From the Internet to paper (Laureate Education, Inc., custom ed.). Los Angeles, CA: Sage Publications.
Gewertz, C. (2005). Training focuses on teachers’ expectations. Education Week 24(30), 1, 14. Retrieved from http://web.a.ebscohost.com.ezp.waldenulibrary.org/ehost/detail?sid=fcdb56fd-67cd-4660-ae98-c5e3c3f00b78%40sessionmgr4003&vid=1&hid=4209&bdata=JnNjb3BlPXNpdGU%3d#db=eric&AN=EJ759472
Nilson, L. B. (2010). Teaching at its best: A research-based resource for college instructors (3rd ed.). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.