Staff Development is the continuous process through which personnel who have a direct influence in the teaching and learning process are reinforced through continuous, classified, formal or informal programs aimed at improving their skills., knowledge, expertise content delivery (Staff Development, 2010, para. 1-3). These programs involve instruction; follow ups, investigations, peer training, feedback and evaluation of feedback to ascertain progress or lack of it.
The primary goal of staff development practices is to improve on-job staff performance through increased output which should be manifest in improved learner performance. The National Staff Development Council, NDSC, emphasizes on the improvement of professional efficiency in the teaching learning process in order for all students to achieve their optimum results (National Staff Development Council, n.d, para. 2). Other functions of staff development range from improving employees’ attitudes towards work, boosting their morale, creating strong bonds between employees and enlightening them on new techniques and skills of work.
Effective Staff development practices
The most effective staff development program undertaken is peer coaching. In this program, groups of teachers and educators are involved in professional discourse on the methods of instruction. The main aim is to improve one’s knowledge and skills and enhance teamwork. Its effectiveness arises from its ability to create a forum for sharing success stories, enhancing career growth and support fellow educators (Training and Consulting Institute, n.d, para. 3)
Study groups are of relative help to teacher trainees. These are groupings of teachers set up to look at a given area of teaching and learning. These groups facilitate sharing of opinions and create room for trainees to seek clarifications on multifaceted issues Not only do study it facilitate the sharing but it also helps to strengthen staff-to-staff relationships, and creates room for implementation of new teaching and learning strategies (Personnel management resources , 2000, para.4).
As a trainee teacher, one may also face financial difficulties. In this case, the conference funding program is beneficial to he trainee. The school management funds teachers to attend educational conferences, for example those organized by educational institutes. Through these programs, the teachers get an opportunity to referesh his/her skills as well as acquire new ones (Nevens, n.d, para.5)
In-Effective Staff development practices
The most in-effective staff development program is the teacher to teacher method. This entails booking some members of staff for some educational conferences with instructions to learn with a view to teaching fellow staff members after successful completion. Staff to staff education is less effective owing to reasons such as familiarity between members, prejudice and prejudgments ((Nevens, n.d, para.6)
Lecturing is a method that involves delivery of content to a large audience by word of mouth, electronic presentations or both. As a staff development practice, it’s highly in-effective as; it is not possible to ascertain the achievement of goals, different people have different learning abilities and large audiences are prone to distractions. The end result is incomplete learning (Personnel Management Resources, n.d, para. 29)
The job rotation method of staff development that is incompatible with teaching and learning ineffective. It involves rotation of staff through various levels/classes in order to acquaint them with the technicalities at each level. Its contribution to real staff development is minimal owing to the fact that teaching involves specialization for maximum efficiency. In this case rotation will be counterproductive (Personnel Management Resources, n.d, para. 30)
Benefits of staff development
Staff development has benefits not attainable through other means. First, it facilitates sharing and exchange of opinions as well as development of support networks. This may be in view of new teaching methods or new curriculum. Support systems serve to reinforce their members during downfalls. These methods integrate to enhance effective delivery of subject to learners and increase the ultimate efficiency (Minnesota State Colleges and Universities, 2005, para. 4-5)
The ability of staff development programs to equip staff with improved skills and work techniques cannot be ignored. These are necessary in a rapidly evolving environment. These programs also help create highly adoptive and conversant staff who are easier to adopt with changing environments (Training and consulting institute Inc, n.d, para. 4)
Staff development can be credited raising the staff’s motivation, creation of a workforce that can multi task easily with high flexibility (Personnel Management Resources, n.d., para. 3-4).
Professional development approaches suitable for adult audiences
The most suitable Professional development approaches for adult audiences is programmed instruction. This may entails for example, the use of CAI, (computer-aided instruction) and visual dialogues. In most cases, adult audiences, require little supervision or none, therefore, this method only requires minimal involvement of the instructor whilst learners carry on with self directed learning. It also allow for learning at one’s tempo (Bruce & Joyce, 2002, p 186)
Another suitable method for professional development of adults is the use of research reports and / writing curriculum. It involves application of and research on relatively new concepts in the fields of education. For example, in order to write a research paper, the educator must conduct extensive research. Similarly in writing a curriculum, one must seek expert views and interview other stakeholders. In the ensuing process the teacher participates in an indirect learning process (Sherman, Dlott, Bamford, McGivern & Cohn, 2003, p.1)
Attendance of lessons, seminars and symposiums is also core in adult professional development. It is here that participants are inculcated with new ways of reasoning, approaches to educational phenomena and updates on curriculum changes where applicable. Other methods include peer coaching and study groups (Professional Development home, n.d. para, 6-10)
Role of culture in the training process
The influence of culture is of sheer importance in the educators’ training process. This is in respect of the diverse cultures resident in our country. First, culture determines which non-core disciplines are to be included in the curriculum. These are subjects meant to enhance cultural integration. For example, cultural diversity may necessitate introduction of a national common unit.
Similarly, culture influences learner’s choices in the educational context. For instance, certain beliefs will limit one’s selection of some subjects; in this case the training has to be reflective of the educator’s ability to influence the choices of learner’s positively.
Culture will also determine who takes part in which training program, for example, regressive cultures that are oppressive to women, limit a woman’s choice of a training program. Thus, the use of peer coaching or study groups of mixed gender in cultures where women should only listen limits the limits the learning that that accrues to participants of such programs.
Expectations of learning technology for adults
This course should be able to enhance our abilities to use computer assisted instruction to complement the busy educator. Improvement of our abilities to use technology in making decisions and performing other management functions for example, planning and organization should also be a goal of the course. The course should also augment our ability to bond with highly technologically responsive learners and the environment. It is also important that the course briefly highlights up-to-the-minute developments in the technology and/ education arena.
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Staff Development. (2010). What is meant by Staff Development? Web.
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U.S. Department of Education. (2000) Professional development to support student achievement. Web.