Shifting the Professional Learning Model to Improve Teacher Retention

An extraordinary shift is upon us in the field of education. Students are accessing information and demonstrating their capacity to learn differently. They are learning and using skill sets far different from past generations to prepare for life outside of the classroom. Indeed the fast-pace of change regularly revolutionizes the skills needed for adult success. The landscape for students is changing , and the landscape of what we ask of educators who teach and prepare students for the world and the workforce is also changing.

Our collective expectations of teachers extend way beyond organizing lessons and measuring student performance. We expect teachers to cater to individual student needs, use different learning techniques, incorporate technology and cater to the social and emotional needs of students.

These expectations are common threads for teachers who vary in practice and disposition. They also make the teaching profession much more difficult. Although teachers do a great job helping students succeed, the intricate demands and lack of professional development on the job has led to a decrease in the amount of teachers who choose to remain in the profession after their first five years.

Why do teachers leave the profession?

There are a variety of reasons for natural attrition in jobs including relocation, family matters, different schedules, salaries or distaste for management. The decision to leave for others stems from issues or concerns they feel cannot be resolved. According to the National Education Association, this includes:

    • A lack of support
    • Unfair demands and mandates
    • A lack of assistance with student discipline
    • Underfunded programs and low salaries
  • A lack of influence or respect at work

 

The National Center for Education Statistics identified 7.7% of teachers left the profession at the end of the 2012-13 school year with this number on the rise. The same study found that 46% of those who left the profession said opportunities for professional development in their new position outside of education were better. Although the answer seems simple, increasing the quality and access to professional development for teachers continues to be a challenge .

How do we retain more quality teachers?

Many districts are responding to this data and other statistics by reshaping the professional learning experience. Professional development is also becoming more relevant, personalized and useful. When translated on a larger scale, districts can use research to not only to improve teaching practices, but to increase teacher retention and buy-in for the profession. Developing custom professional development options for teachers with different skills, levels of experience and areas of interest can help increase teacher commitment to learning communities and help them take an interest in giving back to those communities.

Taking professional learning to the next level

Educators should always have a choice in how and what they choose to learn. This can include classroom modeling and access to different learning activities, platforms and online learning communities. Social media channels such as Twitter can also be a great tool for encouraging discussion among educators. Other methods to engage teachers in professional learning opportunities can include summer learning institutes and year-long campaigns to help them find joy in implementing new practices.

Of course some teachers still enjoy learning in a traditional lecture environment, but the important thing to consider is their right to choose the most accommodating option for them.

A common framework to keep in mind is one developed by  , which follows four stages:

  • Engagement – Ensures teachers have buy-in to what they are learning.
  • Learning – The environment content is delivered in, which helps move teachers from knowledge acquisition to application.
  • Support – Ongoing refinement of skills into successful practices that lead to improvement in teaching and student learning.
  • Measurement – The data collection on the teacher’s practice or commonly known as educator evaluations.

This four-stage framework can be applied to any professional learning opportunity and will help keep teachers on track when they embark on their own learning path. The hope is that with enough reflection on the benefits of more opportunities for teachers, we’ll start to encourage the best educators to stay in the profession with more support and room to grow.

SXSWedu 2017: Using Data & Tech to Bring SPED up to Speed

SXSW_Using_Data_Tech_to_Bring_SPED_up_to_Speed

Vote Rethink for SXSWedu’s “PanelPicker”

Rethink is excited and proud to be eligible to speak at next year’s South by Southwest (SXSW) on “Using Data & Tech to Bring SPED up to Speed“.  We are honored to be in the running and excited to discuss how using data & technology will revolutionize special education.

We are asking people to vote Rethink for SXSWedu’s “PanelPicker”. Please take 2 minutes to vote here.  It’s very easy to create an account and then you will be able to give us a “thumb’s up” over on the left-hand side of the page, comments are greatly appreciated!

If selected, Rethink will moderate a panel with district leaders and clients from across the country.

The panel plans to discuss:

  1. Replicable strategies to use technology to enable high-quality professional development throughout the school year.
  2. Best practices on using technology to track IEP data, leading to lower due process costs, and higher parent satisfaction.
  3. Great ideas on how to better incorporate technology into special education curriculum and improve student outcomes.

vote_for_Rethink_swsxedu_2017Please vote today, the voting deadline is Sept. 2.

Vote here!

About Rethink

Rethink aims to place evidence-based treatment solutions in the hands of every educator, clinician or parent working with a child with special needs. We are unique in our footprint, leveraging the power of technology to provide clinical support, best-practice tools, and research-based content to all market segments, reaching more children with special needs than any other solution.

Free Webinar! 3 Strategies for Effectively Integrating ABA into Group Instructional Settings

Rethink First Webinar on implementing ABA in classrooms

About The Webinar

ABA (Applied Behavior Analysis) is proven to be an effective treatment for individuals with autism and other disabilities.  Yet despite its success as a treatment option, the common misconception that ABA can only be implemented 1:1 has elided its effectiveness in group settings, including classrooms, where it can benefit many students.

In this webinar, Dr. Pamela White will discuss 3 key strategies for effectively integrating ABA into group instructional settings and classroom activities and will be offering practical tips for getting started implementing ABA in your classroom today!

View the Webinar Now

Dr. Pamela White, Rethink FirstAbout Our Guest: Dr. Pamela White

Dr. Pamela White is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst and one of Rethink’s Professional Services Director living in Austin, Texas. She has worked as a teacher and therapist in a variety of settings, including residential, charter, public, and private schools.

Watch the Webinar On Demand!