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5 Continuing Professional Development Ideas for Teachers

From The Virtual College

Continuing Professional Development (CPD) is an integral part of every teacher’s lifelong learning process. CPD does not only enhance existing classroom skills and fill knowledge gaps. It also exposes teachers to new and innovative teaching methods.

Thanks to technology, this generation’s approach to learning is way different compared to previous generations. And in a world where everything is evolving at a breakneck speed, a teacher’s ability to adapt, adjust, and keep abreast with industry developments is crucial. With that said, here are five CPD ideas to help teachers continuously better the quality of their teaching.

1. LGBTQ+ Awareness Training

Teachers must create an environment where students feel safe and welcome regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity. For teachers to achieve this, they must have a deeper understanding of the LGBTQ+ community and the issues that plague it.

An LGBTQ+Awareness course looks into the more profound meaning of gender identity and sexual orientation. It defines terms such as queer, pansexual, non-binary, asexual, and questioning. It also tackles mental and emotional issues, including depression, anxiety, minority stress, Gender Identity Disorder (GID) and Gender Dysphoria. Teachers will learn about the challenges LGBTQ+ members encounter when accessing appropriate health care. Furthermore, the training delves into the social problems hurting the community. These include discrimination, hate crimes, bullying, harassment, and invasion of privacy.

The most vital goal of LGBTQ+ Awareness training is to enable teachers to build a supportive learning environment that promotes equality and acceptance. After all, it is only in an inclusive setting that students truly learn.

2. Mental Health Awareness

Undoubtedly, a teaching job can be mentally and emotionally stressful. And while teachers must take care of their own mental health, they should also learn to understand young minds. Many factors contribute to the deterioration of a student’s mental health. Among these are physical and emotional abuse, bullying, neglect, constant harassment, use of illegal substances, economic instability, and genetics. Mental health does not only affect student attendance, performance and overall development but can also lead to juvenile delinquency, violence and self-harm.

According to the Child Mind Institute, about 50% of all mental illnesses occur before a child turns 14. The majority of them do not receive the help they need. Because most of these children spend a large portion of their time in schools, teachers must know how to tell the signs of mental health issues early on to address them as soon as possible. Unfortunately, many teachers feel ill-prepared to handle these situations.

For this reason, mental health awareness is essential for teachers. The training does not turn teachers into therapists but enables them to identify symptoms and risk factors. All too often, teachers who do not have the necessary tools and training to handle challenging situations such as mental health crises end up burned out and emotionally exhausted. Teachers will know when to intervene and when to refer the issue to a mental health professional. Training will also help them create a learning environment that aptly caters to those suffering from mental health conditions. Meaningful support and guidance are crucial to prevent dangers such as suicide attempts.

3. Learning More About Working with SEN Children

Students with special educational needs (SEN) have been learning alongside their non-disabled classmates in recent years. This practice is known as inclusion. It is a direct result of international declarations, changes in educational policies and efforts of advocates for the rights of persons with disabilities.

Studies show that inclusive education benefits the cognitive and social development of everyone in the classroom. It fosters a culture of respect and acceptance as students learn about individual differences, develop friendships, find role models, and embrace growth opportunities.

Teachers, regardless of their specialty, must learn how to handle students with learning difficulties. The catch is there is no one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to SEN teaching. Teachers must be creative, flexible, and adaptable. They should know how to tweak their strategies to ensure all students receive the appropriate support they require.

Of course, this is easier said than done. Creating an inclusive school environment is a massive challenge, especially when there are so many vague areas. Seeking out and completing education training courses on SEN teaching is necessary to enable teachers to make effective strategies that focus on a child-centered approach. Training will also help teachers better understand SEN children's rights, which allows them to work safely with these students.

4. Confidence Building Techniques

Students must have self-confidence in order to hone their social skills, develop resiliency, take pride in their strengths and accept their weaknesses. Without it, they will have difficulty reaching their full potential both inside and outside the classroom.

Studies have shown a direct correlation between self-confidence and learning. Students with a healthy sense of self-confidence usually perform better in school. Less confident ones typically struggle with daily interactions and quickly lose focus, often leading to anxiety, frustration, and a dampened desire to learn.

Teachers can positively influence students by setting obtainable goals and acknowledging their accomplishments. There are several teaching strategies that help build confidence, and many teachers utilize these in their classrooms. Still, teachers should explore the links between neuroscience and its impact on cognitive and emotional development.

Several courses discuss how the brain affects the way people learn. Training will help teachers understand various learning limitations and how attention and memory really work. With this knowledge, teachers can create a doable plan that focuses on holistic learning and personal development.

5. E-Safety

Most young people resort to the world wide web to get the information they need. But while the internet provides new learning opportunities, it also creates new kinds of risks. Exposure to disturbing and distressing content is not the only online hazard young people experience. There are worse online dangers, such as cyberbullying, predation, grooming, radicalization, fearmongering, hate speech, and phishing.

Teachers must protect students from the harmful impact of the internet. They must learn how to identify the risks and how to address the issues. There is no way that they can keep students away from technology. On the contrary, teachers should encourage students to use technology responsibly as it enhances the learning experience.

Because technology is constantly evolving, teachers must stay abreast with the changes. They should undergo online safety training. The course will provide them with essential e-safety practices to keep children away from online hazards. It will also explain where to report abuse and how to assist the victims.

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