Published: Last Edited:

This essay has been submitted by a student. This is not an example of the work written by our professional essay writers.

In all our professions things are changing rapidly due to the easiness of reaching global information. Also, as language teaching has become more learners centered, there has been an important emphasis on guiding and helping students. For teachers guiding is mostly voluntary and a long term process. So, as long as a teacher is well developed it means the teacher can stay interested in his/her job. And the field of foreign language teaching is one of the most challenging one so, a teacher should recognize his/her work as a profession and must be open to the new opportunities for teaching, learning, searching, exploration and development. The more the needs of students increase and the more national tests require help for teachers the more professional development becomes beneficial and crucial. The reason why professional development is so important is that it understands the 'change' as development or learning.

The job of a teacher is stressful and sometimes it is hard for a teacher to work under stressful conditions and to manage a classroom of foreign language students. Because the learners need extra help or sometimes they cannot decide how to act. Anxiety is another negative and hindrance in such environments. When the teachers want to overcome problems like these they need to improve themselves mentally, emotionally and professionally. Sometimes training and even experience may not help them. On the other hand a teacher should always be energetic and find solutions to the problems. And it is professional development that helps a teacher to learn new skills but also develop new insights into pedagogy and their own practice. And also professional development supports teachers when they encounter the challenges.

Throughout this paper, it is aimed to illustrate the importance of Professional Development of teachers. As a first step the definition of Professional Development is given and from this view it aims to increase the understanding what is meant by teacher development. Characteristics and contents of professional development are given. The difference between development and training, criteria and strategies for successful professional development are examined respectively. Then Professional development of teachers, sources and tools of professional development are clarified. Lastly, some suggestions are given to teachers for creating individual development plans.

Professional Development is defined in different ways. When we try to make an overall definition, professional development can be defined as:

available research and practice in teaching and learning

the maintenance and competence in someone's job

broadening of the knowledge

an extensive and collaborative process,

planned learning and reflection in your career personal qualities and skills that are necessary in working life

skills and knowledge that an employee gains to optimize his/her personal development.

focusing on individual and organizational improvement

Teachers are knowledge-conveyers and workers, as the knowledge always increase teachers need to be trained and developed. This happens thanks to professional development. Thanks to teacher professional development we can reach higher level of teaching and learning. And it is Professional development that prepares and supports teachers to help all students to achieve high level standards of learning and development. When we consider teacher professional development we can talk simply about an increase in skills and effectiveness in job. Professional Development is about everything that helps you to improve and keep up with date. Professional development, according to Educational Resources Information Center (ERIC), refers to the activities to enhance professional career growth such as individual development, continuing education, and in-service education, curriculum writing, peer collaboration, study groups, and peer coaching or mentoring. And also professional development support teachers when they encounter the challenges.

The purpose of people who engage in professional development is enhancing their ability to do their work more efficiently, increasing interest in lifelong learning and increasing skills and knowledge. Fullan (1991:326) defines professional development for teachers as: "The sum total of formal and informal learning experiences throughout one's career from preservice teacher education to retirement". And one of the main aims of teacher development is increasing awareness.

According to Adekola (2007), framework for the continuous professional development of teachers would include these elements: relevant initial teacher preparation programs, mentoring and support during the induction process into the daily life of schools, assessment of performance and access to continued professional support to develop pedagogical skills and understandings; and crucially, incentive systems that recognize and reward effective performance in the classroom.

The satisfaction works as a trigger in career and when you are so far from your goals and have little hope we cannot talk about satisfaction. Pursuing new knowledge and technologies help teachers to reach satisfaction. Professional development of teachers can be thought as: "A deliberate and continuous process involving the identification and discussion of present and anticipated needs of individual staff for furthering their job satisfaction and career prospects and of the institution for supporting its academic work and plans, and the implementation of programmes of staff activities designed for the harmonious satisfaction of needs. (Billings, 1977: 4)

Some states in USA have professional development requirements for teachers. Teachers in Arkansas, for instance, have to complete 60 hours of documented professional development activities annually. Here an example from 2005-2006 school year from official site.

All teachers and administrators must be able to document 60 hours of professional development annually for the renewal of their standard teaching license beginning with the 2005-2006 school year. [1] 


Thanks to personal development Self- awareness, potential and self-knowledge can be developed.

It cannot be denied that personal development is very important for a successful professional development. Earley P. and Bubb S. reminds the importance of personal development for professional development: "Managers and leaders of Continuing Professional Development need to ensure that personal development is not marginalized as it is crucial to teacher effectiveness and school success. Research makes a compelling case for personal development as a key component of teacher development". (2007:43)

Calderhead, J., Shorrock, S.B. (1997:15) informs us that several studies have recently emphasized the close relationship between the personal and the professional in teachers' work, and the need to consider personal development in any model of teachers' professional development. And let's have a look at the Figure 3.1.

Figure 3.1: A Model of Teacher Development Bell, B., Gilbert, J.(1996:16)

As the figure suggests, there are three aspects of teacher development: Professional development, social development and personal development. Teacher development can be thought as a part or form of individual/human development.


Richards and Farrell identifies the difference between teacher training and teacher development and says: "Professional development, therefore, should go beyond personal and individual reflection. For example, it can include exploration of new trends and theories in language teaching; familiarization with developments in subject-matter knowledge such as pedagogical grammar, composition theory, or genre theory; and critical examination of the way schools and language programs are organized and managed"(2009:4)

There really are some differences between teacher training and teacher development. A good reason for this distinction is the name suggestions.

Training: the action of teaching a person or animal a particular skill or type of behaviour: in-service training for staff (Oxford dictionary online)

Development: Determination of the best techniques for applying a new device or process to production of goods or services. (

From these definitions it can be deduced that training is mostly about "learning and adapting" on the other hand development includes "determination, understanding and creating"


The content of training is usually determined by experts and is often available in standard training formats or through prescriptions in methodology books. The following are examples of goals from training perspective.

Learning how to use effective strategies to open a lesson

Adapting the textbook to match the class

Learning how to use group activities in a lesson

Using classroom aids and resources(e.g., video)

Techniques for giving learners feedback on performance (Richards&Farrell, 2009:3)


Richards and Farrell say that teacher development involves examining different dimensions of a teacher's practice as a basis for reflective review and list some examples of goals(2009:4);

The following are examples of goals from a development perspective:

Understanding how the process of second language development occurs

Understanding how our roles changing according to the kind of learners we are teaching

Understanding the kinds of decision making that occur during lessons

Reviewing our own theories and principles of language teaching

Developing an understanding of different styles of teaching

Determining learners' perceptions of classroom activities


Southwest Educational Development Laboratory indicates that professional development produce positive results and adults learn and retain best when:

goals are realistic and relevant (organizational context and priorities);

small group work permits application and analysis (team-building and problem-


a positive self-image is promoted (consideration of learning styles, values

and control issues);

they see results and receive feedback (technical help, interaction with colleagues); and ongoing learning opportunities are presented. (1997:6)

Linda Darling-Hammond and Milbrey W. McLaughlin (1996:203) believe that professional development is "deepening teachers' understanding about the teaching/ learning process and the students they teach," which "must begin with pre-service education and continue throughout a teacher's career." They state that "effective professional development involves teachers both as learners and teachers, and allows them to struggle with the uncertainties that accompany each role"

According to the American Federation of Teachers (1995) there can be nine principles of effective professional development presented guidelines for successful professional development:

1. Professional development should ensure depth of content knowledge,

2. It should provide a strong foundation in the pedagogy of particular disciplines,

3. It should provide more general knowledge about teaching and learning processes and about schools as institutions,

4. It should be rooted in and reflect the best available research,

5. It should contribute to measurable improvement in student achievement,

6. It expects teachers to be intellectually engaged with ideas and resources,

7. It provides sufficient time, support, and resources to enable teachers to master new content and pedagogy and to integrate these into their practice,

8) It should be designed by representatives of those who participate in it, in cooperation with experts in the field,

9) It should take a variety of forms, including some not typically considered.