Professional development programs are imperative for teachers in order to help them get opportunities to learn important teaching practices as well as for their personal growth. It is noted that effective adult learning occurs when the learning process is founded on the principle of ownership, structure, appropriateness, collaboration, motivation as well as internalization and reflection. There is a definite difference in how adults and children learn. Principals should note that teachers are highly motivated to learn when the administration helps teachers to pursue those programs that they regard as beneficial in their professional as well as personal growth. Thus, that is the reason why adults always assess how the new information to be learned will help them to develop personally as well as professionally before making their learning decisions. Therefore, the principal should include the teachers when organizing seminars as well as workshops for the teachers’ learning. Through this process, teachers will be more motivated to learn since they became active as well as interactive in the learning process. Adult learning should occur in group activities. Through this process learners are able to get opportunities to reflect, analyze as well as practice what they learn. It is necessary to include appropriate follow-up programs in order to make sure that teachers apply what they learn in class. Failure to apply the skills learned makes the learning process inappropriate. In order for the teacher learning to be effective, adult learning should be tailored in a manner to link teachers learning to students’ needs, designed to help teachers learn problem-solving, reflect concrete tasks of teaching as well as be reinforced through regular coaching process (Zepeda, 2012).
Conditions necessary for effective learning
It is important for principals to be aware of the experiences, expertise as well as skills of every member of the staff in order for him/her to establish the diverse learning needs of the teachers. Principals should take a leading role in ensuring that teachers are engaged in professional development in order to improve their performances in schools. Thus, principals should identify the available learning programs that are available and engage teachers to select the most appropriate one for their schools. Nevertheless, that is not enough to guarantee effective adult learning in schools, therefore the principal should take an active role in setting an appropriate learning pace that is built on strong relationships among teachers, administration as well as professional staff for successful learning to occur in schools. Professional development should promote collaboration among teachers, as a result, teachers should have shared goals, and moreover professional development should be designed in a manner to balance between providing coherence within as well as offering autonomy to specific schools (Zepeda, 2012).
Principal’s role in assisting professional development
Principals should understand the continuum of career stages development in order to be in a better position to help their teachers learn accordingly. Appropriate learning can only occur after the teachers are assisted to set apposite learning goals. The teachers should be encouraged to identify their learning goals and particularly at the beginning of the year. The teacher’s prior knowledge, experience and present needs play a significant role in influencing the goals set by the teachers. The principal should work in collaboration with the teacher to come up with the most appropriate professional development as well as learning opportunities for teachers in order to assist them to achieve their goals((Zepeda, 2012).).
Teachers aspire to learn new knowledge based on what they have learned. Conversely, learning new knowledge is sometimes challenging as teachers try to master new concepts, values, ideas and beliefs. Thus, it is important for the management and especially the principal to offer such teachers appropriate support and foster a culture of risks taking. Therefore, for effective learning to occur, teachers should be offered favorable learning environments that involve mutual trust and respect (Zepeda, 2012).
Zepeda, S J. (2012). Professional development: What works, 2nd ed. Larchmont, NY: Eye on Education.