Teacher Professional Development and Differentiated Instruction
A positive relationship exists between teachers' intrinsic motivation and changes in teaching practice (Wagner, 2006). Administrative support, the nature of the work itself and colleague relations are significant predictors of a person’s interest in continuing professional development. Teachers who are knowledgeable in phonological awareness and language structure, and then they have the potential to positively impact students' early literacy development. In order to positively impact and expand a child's knowledge in these crucial areas, teachers must themselves be knowledgeable. If the teachers do not know and understand the basic principles of phonological awareness, it follows that teaching these skills to young children would be an impossible task.
Teachers own diverse teaching strategies and styles (Thornton, Peltier, & Perreault, 2004, p. 224). There is no right way to teach or to learn. The strengths and weaknesses of the learners may mirror the teacher’s strengths and weaknesses or they may not do so. Teachers usually find it easier to utilize their own learning strengths when teaching. This makes it critically important that they be aware of their strengths and weaknesses and those of their students’. By becoming aware of learning style strengths and weakness, teachers become able to transcend their traditional teaching styles to match the needs of their students and teaching accordingly. Differentiated instruction becomes the norm, allowing all students to succeed. Teachers become more effective in teaching and students become more effective learners.
A constructivist approach to learning has substantial effects for professional development (Andrew, 2007, p. 161). Teachers usually teach as they were taught as children because it is familiar and comfortable. They need to practice constructivist approaches as teacher-learners. The students will become familiar with constructivist learning and become more successful in school.
Andrew, L. (2007). Comparison of teacher educators' instructional methods with the constructivist ideal. The Teacher Educator, 42(3), 157-184.
Thornton, B., Peltier, G., & Perreault, G. (2004). Systems thinking: A skill to improve student achievement. The Clearing House, 77(5), 222-227.
Wagner, B. (2006). Motivation and professional growth in early childhood teachers. Ph.D. dissertation, University of Rochester, United States -- New York. Retrieved September 23, 2011.